The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) invites the public to attend a scoping meeting to help shape future management options for the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This invitation follows re-commencement of the FWS’s intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and accompanying environmental analysis for the refuge.

By law, FWS is required to develop a CCP for each refuge that outlines specific resource management goals and wildlife-dependent visitor recreational opportunities to meet the purpose of that refuge and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System as a whole.

This meeting provides members of the community an opportunity to play a significant role in the development of this long-term plan, according to a news release from FWS. The public is invited to provide comments to the following questions, as well as any other issue, opportunity or concern you may have regarding the refuge.

  • What do you value most about Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge?
  • If you could make one change at the refuge, what would it be?
  • What would you like to see in the future for the refuge?

The draft CCP/Environmental Assessment will include detailed information about the planning process and will outline a range of management alternatives based on public input received. Once finalized, the CCP will outline resource management for the refuge over the next 15 years.

The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at The Plantation at Crystal River’s Magnolia Room, 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River.

The meeting will follow an informal open-house format. Brief presentations will be given at 6 p.m., but attendees are invited to arrive anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to meet with FWS personnel, learn more about the CCP process, and provide input.

If you need alternative formats or services because of a disability or have any questions concerning a reasonable accommodation, please contact Laura Housh at 912-816-8113 or laura_housh@fws.gov, TTY 800-877-8339 with your request by close of business Sept. 6.

The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1983 to provide habitat and protection for the Florida manatee and to foster a sense of public commitment to and understanding of the plight of the manatee and its need for protection by providing opportunities for environmental education, interpretation, and sustainable wildlife-dependent recreation.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

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