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Contact: Jordan McKnight, 239-695-9280 ext. 103
Big Cypress National Preserve and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge are seeking public comments on a joint Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the environmental impacts of their respective updated Fire Management Plans (FMPs). The updated FMPs will keep management objectives current and adopt and refine strategies that help the fire management programs operate more effectively. The updated FMPs will provide fresh focus on restoring fire-dependent communities and threatened and endangered species. Lastly, they will incorporate updates in national fire policy and terminology. In their new FMPs, the Preserve and Refuge will consider strategies to increase their ability to actively manage wildland fire and vegetation/fuels.
The EA analyzes the impacts of two alternatives:
Alternative A –No Action. The current fire management practices at the Preserve and Refuge would continue. Both units would continue implementing the strategies in their current plans, which include fire suppression, prescribed burning, and the use of mechanical treatments.
Alternative B –Proposed Action.The same fire management techniques and tools allowed under Alternative A would be used with two added options:The Preserve would augment its ability to use mechanical treatments to reduce hazard fuels, maintain defensible space and fuel breaks to protect infrastructure and private property, and restore cultural landscapes;and the Preserve could also consider managing wildfires for resource objectives.
The EA is available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/fmp. You can provide comments online or by mail. 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 cannot 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 are requested by August 19, 2016. Once the comment period concludes, we will consider all comments submitted in the development of the final EA and decision document.