Here is a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting the first of two public meetings this Saturday, Sept. 24 in Avon Park, Fla., to answer questions and take comments on the proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area in south-central Florida.
The meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the South Florida Community College Theatre for the Performing Arts, 600 W. College Drive, Avon Park, FL 33825. From 1 p.m. to 2, there will be an Open House during which the Service will answer questions about the proposal. The formal Public Hearing will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which the Service will make a short presentation about the proposal and attendees will be able to express their views on the proposal. Both verbal and written comments may be submitted.
Written comments may also be submitted by:
• Email to EvergladesHeadwatersProposal@fws.gov
• Fax to 321.861.1276
• Mail to
o Everglades Headwaters Proposal
US Fish and Wildlife Service
PO Box 2683
Titusville, FL 32781-2683
Names and addresses should be included with comments, with the understanding that the material is subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act and may be released to the public upon request. The deadline to submit comments is October 24, 2011.
The second public meeting is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at the Osceola Heritage Park, The Exhibition Building – Hall A, 1901 Chief Osceola Trail Kissimmee, FL 34744. The schedule will be the same as for the Avon Park meeting, with a one-hour Open House from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and a formal Public Hearing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Service is proposing a 100,000-acre Conservation Area and a 50,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge. This is a voluntary program. The Service would work with willing landowners to purchase full or partial interest in their land.
“The conservation value of the Everglades Headwaters is tremendous,” said the Service’s Southeast Regional Director, Cindy Dohner. “Working with great partners like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and private landowners, the opportunities are enormous to preserve and restore wildlife and their habitats, provide additional outdoor recreation, improve water resources, and help sustain the ranching heritage, economy and land stewardship in central Florida.”
For more information about the proposal, please go to www.fws.gov/southeast/evergladesheadwaters.