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Hurricane Jeanne Damages U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges and Facilities in Florida and Georgia


October 1, 2004

Tom MacKenzie, (404) 679-7291, cell: (678) 296-6400


Hurricane Jeanne has damaged 11 National Wildlife Refuges and Service facilities throughout Florida and Georgia, following alongthe same path as Hurricane Frances.

This double punch destroyed 4 ½ miles of dikes at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which had also been damaged by Hurricane Charley and Frances. Jeanne finished off a visitor’s center at Hobe Sound NWR, wiped out another maintenance shed and damaged roofs at Pelican Island NWR in Sebastian, and applied the final blow to twobeach housesused for sea turtle research housing at Archie Carr NWR near Titusville, Florida.

On Florida’s west coast, whooping crane protection pens were ripped apart by the strong winds at Chassahowitzka NWR, in Crystal River. The damaged fencing is expected to be repaired in time for the arrival of the ultralite-led cohort of endangered whooping cranes sometime in November.

Summary of facilitieswith trees blown down across roads and fences, structural and water damage from Hurricane Jeanne:

There have been no injuries reported from the hurricane or recovery actions. An emergency response crew with chain saws, heavy equipment, a helicopter and an airplane is currently supporting recovery efforts for the affected facilities on Florida’s east coast. Initial damage repair cost estimates available at this time exceed $4.5 million for Hurricane Jeanne in Florida and Georgia. Some areas have yet to be assessed due to continued flooding, high water and isolation from tree-blocked roads.

Primary damage is from the storm surge, similar to Hurricane Frances, causing beach erosion and damage to dikes and roads. Additionally, high winds and rain have damaged visitor centers, offices, housing, and support buildings. Most facilities had been temporarily protected by quick working crews from the last hurricane which helped save several structures from further damage.

Wildlife impacts will again include sea turtles nests destroyed or buried due to beach erosion, inundation, or deposition of additional sand over the nests. Additional impacts may be experienced by other species, such as birds and small mammals from habitat lost from trees and other vegetation damaged from the high winds or erosion on riverbanks and streams. Aquatic species may be adversely impacted by additional sediments, effluents and contaminants washed into streams, lakes, and into the ocean. Photos available at:

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