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Friends of St. Sebastian River - May 2005

HISTORY AND RESTORATION EFFORTS AT THE SSR PRESERVE STATE PARK

    Habitat restoration work continues at the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park now that it has been transferred to the state park system.  And according to the information provided at a recent workshop for review of their management plan, such efforts should continue.
    Much of the property that makes up the SSR Preserve was once used for cattle ranching and to make the property usable for such purposes, much of it was drained by man-made ditches.  The folks at the preserve have been working to reverse that damage and restore the natural hydrology and habitats.  Our meeting this month will feature presentations by Samantha McGee, Environmental Specialist and Bobby Chesser, Park Services Specialist.  Mr. Chesser is a former ranch hand for the previous owners of the property when it was used for ranching.  As a result, he knows the property well and will give us some historical perspective on how the property was modified and managed.  Ms. McGee will talk about the effects of those alterations, the improvements to the ecosystem from restoration and plans for the future.
    Dustin Devos, the new Park Manager, will also join us.  Dustin came to the park only a couple of months ago.  He is very dedicated to maintaining the park as a preserve, and has some exciting ideas for future public enjoyment of the park.
    Please join us for this program, come meet the new park manager and learn about the restoration progress!  The meeting will be Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 PM at the North Indian River County Library in Sebastian.

STATE ACTION MAKES WILDLIFE EXPENDABLE

    "On April 14, 2005, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) voted to adopt amendments to state rule criteria that govern the listing and delisting of Florida's imperiled species. According to representatives from Save the Manatee Club, the amendments only slightly improved the rule criteria, which will cause many of Florida's imperiled species to be in even greater danger of extinction. The Save the Manatee Club strongly objects to the failure of the state agency to adopt substantive changes that would consider individual species' life histories rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, which they feel will lead to numerous species being downlisted or delisted before they are recovered. They say untimely reclassifications of species may result in the rollback of protective regulations and will lead the public to believe that species are doing better than they really are."
    "Under the rule criteria as amended, Florida's imperiled species will be classified based solely on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) guidelines. Environmentalists argue that the FWCC adopted the IUCN definitions for "endangered" and "threatened" but did not properly align the names for these categories of imperilment. Because of this, Florida's endangered species such as manatees, panthers, and sea turtles, could potentially be reclassified as "threatened" - or receive an even lower classification - all because of the misalignment of category names and definitions. Now that the rule amendments are adopted, FWCC plans to move forward with the completion of a manatee biological status review precipitated in 2001 by a petition from an angler's lobby group, the Coastal Conservation Association."
    For more information, please visit the Save the Manatee Club website at www.savethemanatee.org.

source: Save the Manatee Club