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Public Comment Sought on New Refuge Proposed in Central Florida

Friday, February 18, 2011

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing the creation of a new national wildlife refuge that would encompass more than 150,000 acres in portions of Polk, Osceola, Indian River, Okeechobee, and Highlands counties in Central Florida.  The proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area is billed as a partnership between federal, tribal, state, and local governments, along with ranchers and other landowners and private organizations.  The Service has stated that it will work with willing landowners to acquire the land in a variety of ways, including direct purchase, conservation easements, leases, and cooperative agreements.

It is unknown at this time how this proposal will affect hunting and other public recreation on lands to be acquired.  Four public meetings were held to provide the public an opportunity to hear a presentation about the proposal, to ask questions and to submit comments, ideas, and concerns. 

The Service will use public comments in the development of the refuge plan.  Information about the proposal can be found at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/greatereverglades/.  Comments can be e-mailed to EvergladesHeadwatersProposal@fws.govThe comment period closes February 28. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.