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National Wildlife Refuges in the Florida Keys Closed as Tropical Storm Ernesto Approaches


August 28, 2006

Tom MacKenzie, 404-679-7291

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that two national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys were temporarily closed today as the state braces for the possible strike of tropical storm Ernesto. The national wildlife refuges in the Keys will be closed at noon, August 28, 2006 until further notice.

All refuges will be re-opened after the danger of the storm has passed, and any resulting damages or impacts that threaten public safety are cleared.

The following refuges are closed today until further notice:

  • Crocodile Lake NWR in north Key Largo;
  • National Key Deer NWR in Big Pine Key;

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, 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 545 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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