Jacksonville Field Office
Date: August 27, 2001
Release #: 011-01
Chuck Underwood, 904-731-3332
Tom MacKenzie, 404-679-7198
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed additional refuges and sanctuaries for the Florida manatee in eight (8) Florida counties.
The Service published a proposed rule to establish 16 additional manatee protection areas in Florida in the Federal Register on August 10, 2001 (66 FR 42318). The Service proposes to designate four areas in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Citrus Counties, as manatee sanctuaries in which all waterborne activities would be prohibited, with an exception for residents. The remaining 12 areas, located in Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte, Desoto, Lee, and Brevard Counties, would be designated as manatee refuges in which certain waterborne activities would be prohibited or regulated.
Public hearings will be held at centralized locations near the areas of Service's proposed actions and will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. These hearings will afford the general public and interested parties an opportunity to hear information on our proposed action and make formal comments. The Service may limit the time allotted for oral statements, if the number of people who wish to comment necessitates such a limitation. The Service encourages persons wishing to comment at the hearings to provide a written copy of their statement at the start of the hearing. There is no limit on the length of written comments.
The Service is particularly seeking comments concerning: 1) the reasons why any area should or should not be designated as a manatee sanctuary or a manatee refuge; 2) current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible effects on manatees; 3) any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the proposed designations; 4) potential adverse effects to the manatee associated with designating manatee protection areas for the species; and 5) any actions that could be considered in lieu of, or in conjunction with, the proposed designations that would provide comparable or improved manatee protection.
To obtain a copy of the Federal Register notice for the proposal to designate Federal Manatee Protection Areas contact the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Dr. South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216-0958; phone: 904-232-2580; by facsimile: 904-232-2404; or view the documents on the World Wide Web at: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida
Comments and data concerning the proposal must be received by October 9, 2001. Comments and data should be sent to the above postal address, or mailed electronically to: email@example.com
Public hearings will be held at the following locations:
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 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource 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. 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.
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For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov
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