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Public Invited to Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge Planning Meeting


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 28, 2004

Contact:
Margo Stahl, 772/546-6141
Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291


The future management of the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge will be discussed at a public meeting to be held on February 26, at the Hobe Sound Community Center, Hobe Sound, Florida. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. with doors open at 6:30 p.m.

“We want to hear the public’s ideas and opinions about a proposed comprehensive conservation plan for the refuge,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The proposed plan will guide the management of the refuge over the next 15 years.”

The 1,160-acre refuge is important for the conservation of threatened and endangered species, namely nesting loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles found on the Jupiter Island portion of the refuge. In addition, more than 40 other rare wildlife and plant species, including the gopher tortoise, scrub jay, and eastern indigo snake, are associated with the sand pine scrub community on the mainland. The West Indian manatee and other aquatic species inhabit the Indian River Lagoon, a national estuary that bisects the refuge.

Among the many benefits to threatened and endangered species described in the proposed plan are the restoration of sand pine scrub; the restoration of Atlantic coastal dune and mangrove and hammock systems; the reduction of sea turtle predation to significantly improve hatchling survival; and the inventorying and monitoring of federal trust and state-listed species.

Vital to the plan’s implementation are the development of partnerships with agencies and organizations; the addition of staff and new administrative facilities; the expansion of educational programs at the Hobe Sound Nature Center; and the development of wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities.

“We want to enhance public use opportunities wherever possible, but must ensure that the wildlife comes first,” said Margo Stahl, Refuge Manager of Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.

To obtain a copy of the plan, write Margo Stahl, Refuge Manager, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Box 645, Hobe Sound, Florida 33475-0645; call (772) 546-6141; or e-mail: margo_stahl@fws.gov. The plan also can be accessed and downloaded from the Service’s website http://southeast.fws.gov/planning.

Comments on the proposed plan should be sent to Margo Stahl at the above mailing address or may be sent by electronic mail to margo_stahl@fws.gov with a subject line. “Comments: HSNWR.” For ideas to be considered in the preparation of the final plan, comments must be received by April 9, 2004.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 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. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286


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