Lake Wales Ridge NWR
Southeast Region
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Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Scrub Jay. Credit: USFWS

Scrub Jay. Credit: USFWS


Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan is available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the release of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.


The Plan has been made available:

  • At the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center located in Titusville (exit 80 on I-95, 5 miles east of Titusville on SR 402). For additional information about the Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge, visit:
  • At the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Administrative office located in Vero Beach, Florida (1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960-3559). For additional information about the Pelican Island National Wildlife refuge, visit:
  • On the web by visiting, selecting Final CCP Documents, and selecting the CCP of interest.


You may also request CD or paper copies of the plan by:

We look forward to hearing from you! To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments by June 01, 2010.

Please note that federal government mailing lists are subject to the Freedom of Information Act of 1974 and require the release of these lists to the public, upon request.


Our CCP Process:

  • Conduct Preplanning -- completed
  • Conduct Public Scoping -- completed
  • Prepare Draft CCP -- completed
  • Conduct Internal Review -- completed
  • Hold Public Review and Comment Period -- completed
  • Final CCP - completed
  • Review & Revise the Plan within 15 Years – 2025


Establishing Purposes

The Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1993 for the protection of threatened and endangered plants and animals. This primary purpose applies to the entire Refuge. A secondary purpose also applies to portions of the Refuge and involves more general protection of the resources.

Primary Purpose “…to conserve (A) fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species… or (B) plants…” 16 USC §1534, Endangered Species Act

Secondary Purpose “…conservation, management, and restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans…” 16 USC §668dd(a)(2), National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act.


Priority Issues Facing Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge:

The Plan identifies issues, concerns, and opportunities raised by the public, local businesses, organizations, the Service, and other governmental agencies and issue identification was a major factor in determining future management goals and objectives, as well as defining future projects.

While some of the issues and concerns raised during our scoping period are important to the future of this refuge, many are not within the Service’s management jurisdiction or authority, and some are outside of its control.  Several opportunities raised during scoping are addressed by the Service in the CCP. The Service evaluated the long list of issues raised, identified the priority issues to be addressed over the next 15 years, evaluated steps to rectify these issues and resource needs, and measured the impacts of implementation.  From these priority issues, the Service developed goals, objectives, and strategies designed to shape management of the refuge for the 15-year life of the CCP.  Priority issues to be addressed over the 15-year CCP include:

  • Declines in and threats to rare, threatened, and endangered species
  • Lack of baseline information on refuge resources
  • Lack of an effective approach to apply fire management and measure fire effects
  • Existence, persistence, and spread of exotic, invasive, and nuisance species
  • Management challenges resulting from fragmented conservation lands under multiple jurisdictions
  • Inability to complete acquisition within the refuge’s approved acquisition boundary
  • Threats and impacts of an increasing human population
  • Lack of on-site staff and resources to address refuge needs
  • Lack of understanding on the effects of global climate change on refuge resources


Purpose and Need for the Plan

The purpose of the Plan is to:

  • Develop proposed actions that best achieve the refuge purposes
  • Attain the vision and goals developed for the Refuge
  • Contribute to the National Wildlife Refuge System mission
  • Addresses key challenges, issues, and relevant mandates
  • Be consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management
  • Provide a clear statement of refuge management direction
  • Provide refuge neighbors, visitors, and government officials with an understanding of Service management actions on and around the Refuge
  • Ensure that Service management actions are consistent with the mandates of the National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Provide a basis for the development of budget requests for operations, maintenance, and capital improvement needs.


Lake Wales Ridge NWR Vision:

Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is the first refuge of its kind, envisioned to protect the last vestiges of a globally imperiled ecosystem where plants found nowhere else on earth exist. The Lake Wales Ridge is a long, narrow series of ancient sand dunes and islands. The “Ridge” emerges from Central Florida to proclaim its uniqueness in an otherwise flat landscape. Because of its age and once remote placement in North America, species evolved here that occur nowhere else on earth. Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is a living laboratory where researchers develop their understanding of the ecosystem. The refuge was established to help protect this ecosystem from being lost forever to developing Florida. Working with others including our state, local, and private partners, refuge staff and volunteers would use sound management and science to protect and provide a home for imperiled plants and animals and the habitats they require.


Please Submit comments via one of the following:
Fax: 772-299-3101
Mail: Lake Wales Ridge NWR CCP
c/o Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
1339 20th Street
Vero Beach, Florida 32960-3559

If you would like to keep informed about this planning process, please fill out and return the mailing list request form. We look forward to hearing from you!


Helpful Links:

General Information

FWS Planning Policy (see Part 602, Refuge Planning)

FWS, Southeast Region's Planning


Last updated: January 27, 2011