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North Florida Field Office

News Release

For Immediate Release

Date: November 6, 2003
Release #: 007-03
Media Contact: Chuck Underwood, 904/731-3332

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service submits revised Florida

Scrub-jay habitat polygon maps to City of Palm Bay

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service met today with City of Palm Bay officials and presented them with the Service’s revisions to maps that show where Florida scrub-jay live in the Port Malabar residential area.

The revisions are the result of a recently completed Service analysis of Florida scrub-jay survey and observational data collected from 1999 to 2003 within the city limits of Palm Bay.

According to Service biologists and conservation managers their analysis resulted in delineation of new polygons with the city that required changes to previous maps.

While approximately 2,582 individual parcels are included in the revised maps, another 4,615 parcels were determined to no longer qualify for inclusion within the new boundaries. There were no additional parcels previously outside the polygons picked up in the revisions.

"Based on known scrub-jay territory boundaries and shifts in territory boundary lines during the analysis period, we calculated that a buffer of 438 feet around the margins of observed scrub-jay territories would adequately encompass the habitat currently occupied by 20 scrub-jay families," said Pete Benjamin, assistant field supervisor at the Service’s North Florida Ecological Service Office in Jacksonville.

Benjamin noted that while this may be good news for developers, Realtors and property owners, it does not negate the importance of the City’s efforts to develop a city-wide habitat conservation plan for scrub-jays.

"The fact that fewer parcels are now encompassed within the four new polygons does not reduce the mitigation need," Benjamin said, "since at least 20 scrub-jay families remain within the city limits of Palm Bay. A Florida scrub-jay habitat conservation plan would avoid future problems that might arise as polygon boundaries shift due to new scrub-jay data."

The new maps supersede the maps established in 2001 and are now in effect.

The letter to the City of Palm Bay, maps of the revised polygons, and a list of parcels within the revised polygons are available online at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida. Paper copies may be requested in writing by email to floridascrubjay@fws.gov, by fax at 904-232-2404, or by regular mail to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Scrub-jay Revisions, 6620 Southpoint Dr., South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216-0958.

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.

black graphic pointer - pointing to right Letter to Palm Bay City Manager black graphic pointer - pointing to right List of Parcels Affectedblack graphic pointer - pointing to right Maps black graphic pointer - pointing to right Scrub-jay

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Last modified January 14, 2004