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National Wildlife Refuges in Florida Closed as Tropical Storm Ernesto Approaches


August 29, 2006

Kristi Watkins, (404) 679-7275

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 10 national wildlife refuges in Florida are temporarily closed today as the state braces for tropical storm Ernesto. These refuges will be closed 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 until further notice:

Archie Carr NWR in Vero Beach;
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR in Boynton Beach;
Crocodile Lake NWR in north Key Largo;
Florida Panther NWR in Naples;
Hobe Sound NWR in Hobe Sound;
J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR in Sanibel;
Lake Woodruff NWR in DeLeon Springs;
Merritt Island NWR in Titusville;
National Key Deer NWR in Big Pine Key;
Pelican Island NWR in Vero Beach;

The ecological services field office in Vero Beach is also closed. The Welaka National Fish Hatchery and the ecological services field office in Jacksonville will close at noon on Wednesday, August 30, 2006.

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.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at: Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

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