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Public Invited to Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Plan Discussion

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE #: R00-010

April 11, 2000

Contact: Tom MacKenzie 404/ 679-7291

Serena J. Rinker 561/732-3684

The future management of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge will be the topic of public discussion at a meeting at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach, Florida., scheduled to be held April 26, 2000.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast Regional Director Sam D. Hamilton, the Service wants to hear the public's ideas and opinions about a proposed comprehensive conservation plan for the Refuge. The proposed plan, to be available to the public on April 14, 2000, is designed to guide the management of the refuge over the next 15 years.

The 147,392-acre A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR is all that remains of the northern Everglades. The Refuge's habitats, including tree islands, sawgrass marshes, sloughs, wet prairies, and cypress swamps, are home to a hundreds of wildlife species including the American alligator, snail kite, wood stork, red fox, butterflies, and numerous other mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, birds, and insects.

In keeping with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, an overriding concern reflected in the proposed plan is that wildlife must have first priority in refuge management and that recreation and other uses can be provided as long as these uses are compatible with wildlife conservation. According to Refuge Manager Mark J. Musaus,"We want to enhance public use opportunities wherever possible, but must ensure that the wildlife comes first."

To give an opportunity for the public to learn about the refuge and the proposed plan, in an informal atmosphere, the public is invited to an open house beginning at 6:30 p.m. At 7:00 p.m., the Service will begin the meeting with a 20-minute presentation about A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and outline the proposed comprehensive conservation plan.

Following the presentation, the Service will invite the public to ask questions and give their views about the proposed plan.

The South County Civic Center is located on 16700 Jog Road, one-fourth mile south of Linton Boulevard or one and one-half miles north of Clint Moore Road on the east side of Jog Road.

Members of the public who cannot attend the meeting can obtain a copy of the proposed plan by writing to: Mark J. Musaus, Refuge Manager, A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR, 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33437 -4796, or by calling (561) 732-3684. The plan can also be viewed at the website address: http://loxahatchee.fws.gov/ccp/.

The public is encouraged to review the plan and send in their written comments to the above address. To be considered in the preparation of the final plan, comments must be submitted by May 22, 2000. Those who wish to have their name and address placed on a mailing list to receive the final plan, must make a written request. The reason for this is that Federal government mailing lists must be released to the public upon request (in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act of 1974).

The refuge is open year-round from sunrise to sunset for wildlife-related activities such as fishing, wildlife observation, nature photography, hiking and biking. Public use facilities include a visitor center, observation tower and platform, boat ramps, fishing platform, and nature trails. A 'Calendar of Events', detailing more than 100 programs and presentations offered to the public from November through April, is available in November.

You can also elect to receive releases via e-mail at the same site. Our national home page is at:http://news.fws.gov.newsreleases NOTE: This news release and others can be viewed at our southeast regional home page at: .

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. Release #: R00-010


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