Two More Public Scoping Meetings for Proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area
February 7, 2011
Charlie Pelizza, Refuge Manager, 772-562-3909 x 244
Stacy Shelton, Public Affairs Specialist, 404-679-7290 or 678-575-7796
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host two more public scoping meetings to gather input on a proposal to create a 150,000-acre national wildlife refuge and conservation area in south-central Florida.
The meetings, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., are scheduled for:
- Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Okeechobee High School, 2800 Hwy. 441 N, Okeechobee, Florida 34972 and
- Thursday, Feb. 10 at Vero Beach High School in the Main Campus Cafeteria, 1707 16th St., Vero Beach, Florida 32960.
These are the last of four public scoping meetings on the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area proposal. More than 500 people attended the first two public scoping meetings, which were held in Kissimmee, Florida and Sebring, Florida. In addition, 90 people have submitted written comments so far.
The comments, which may be provided through Feb. 28, will be used to guide the Service through the next step in the planning process. From March through May, the Service will determine alternatives for the proposed refuge and conservation areas, including specific locations and how to initially manage it. The public will have a chance to review and comment on those alternatives as early as June. The planning team expects to send the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a final plan for approval in September.
“We are pleased by the interest in this proposal, and grateful to everyone who has already taken the time to learn more, ask questions, and submit comments,” said Charlie Pelizza, the Refuge Manager for Pelican Island, Archie Carr and Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuges. “The public input is invaluable in helping shape a proposal that will best meet the needs of wildlife conservation while maintaining a working ranch landscape and providing opportunities for outdoor recreation.”
The Service is working with more than a dozen Federal, State and local governments, as well as ranchers and other landowners, to forever protect one of the great grassland and savanna landscapes in eastern North America. The goals for the refuge and conservation area are to preserve one of Florida’s last rural, working ranch landscapes; safeguard water supplies for millions of south Floridians; and conserve habitat for 88 threatened and endangered species, including Florida panthers, Florida black bears and Everglades snail kites.
For more information, please visit www.fws.gov/southeast/greatereverglades.
Through Feb. 28, comments on the proposal may be sent via:
- E-mail to EvergladesHeadwatersProposal@fws.gov
- Mail to Everglades Headwaters Proposal, PO Box 2683,Titusville, FL 32781-2683
- Fax to 321-861-1276
- By attending a public scoping meeting and submitting a comment either in writing or verbally.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.