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    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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Preserve Seeks Comments on Hunting Management Plan

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Date: August 8, 2011
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Damon Doumlele, 239-695-1158

The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), are drafting a Hunting Management Plan for Big Cypress National Preserve. The NPS, in cooperation with the other agencies, is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the plan in accordance with NPS policies.

The agencies will host public scoping meetings from 5 - 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, at Edison State College, 7007 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples, Florida, and Wednesday, August 31, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center, 250 Racquet Club Road, Weston, Florida.

The meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to review the draft alternatives and provide comment and suggestion on changes prior to the creation of a final approved plan. Information will be provided regarding the current status of this effort, and NPS staff will be available to answer questions. The meetings will be held in an “open house” format. There will be a short introductory presentation at the beginning of each meeting, but you are invited to visit at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide comment.

Additional comment periods will be announced as the plan efforts move forward.

The purpose of the plan is to provide hunting opportunities within the Preserve in a manner that is in the best interest of the Preserve’s resources (e.g., habitat, wildlife, protected species) and the visiting public, while meeting the requirements set forth by the NPS, the Preserve’s enabling legislation, the NPS/FWC Cooperative Partnership Agreement, and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Hunting in the Preserve is authorized by Public Law (P.L.) 93-440, which established the Preserve in 1974. The original 1974, Preserve is a State Wildlife Management Area, and hunting is managed through regulations published each year by FWC.P.L. 93-440 was amended in 1988, by P.L. 100-301, which expanded the Preserve by 147,000 acres. These new lands, known as the Addition, were largely acquired by the federal government by 1996, and have not been open to hunting pending completion of an Addition General Management Plan. That plan was completed in 2011, and states that the NPS will develop a Hunting Management Plan and work with FWC to provide hunting access, define hunting seasons, and develop hunting regulations that are consistent with both agencies’ policies and goals for the Addition.

For details on the draft plan, and to review the draft alternatives, click here. Follow the appropriate links to Hunting Management Plan.

We invite your comments regarding potential issues and concerns that should be considered during the planning process. You can provide comments at the meetings, by mail, or on-line. Before including an address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we can not guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Comments by mail may be sent to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida 34141-1000. Comments may also be submitted on-line.

Scoping comments are requested by September 16, 2011. Once the scoping period concludes, we will consider all comments submitted in the development of the EA. The public, agencies, and other interested parties will have an opportunity to review and comment on the EA.

Did You Know?

A great white heron scratches its neck. Notice the color of the legs.

The great white heron is very similar to the great white egret. However, look closely and you will see that the heron has yellow legs, while the egret has black legs. The great white heron is found only in south Florida in the United States. It can also be found on several caribbean islands.