Tag: Big Cypress National Preserve

Fossil fuel development looms at Florida preserve

fla oil map
Conservation advocates are concerned about a proposal to explore for oil and gas in Big Cypress National Preserve.

Risky business in one of the country’s most biodiverse regions

Staff Report

FRISCO — No place is safe from the never-ending quest to feed modern society’s addiction to fossil fuels. One of the latest targets is Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, where Burnett Oil, of Ft. Worth, Texas, is seeking a permit to do seismic testing across approximately 110 square miles.

The National Park Service is taking comments on the proposal  at this website through Aug. 16, and conservation advocates are rallying supporters to try and block or limit the proposal. Continue reading “Fossil fuel development looms at Florida preserve”

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Florida panthers catch break from National Park Service

Big Cypress National Preserve closes some motorized backcountry routes in response to environmental lawsuit

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Ribbons of trails cut through Big Cypress National Preserve.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —Florida panthers will get at least a temporary reprieve from dirt bikes and off-road vehicles, as the National Park Service agreed to cut motorized in Big Cypress National Preserve.

The agreement with conservation groups requires the park service to close an extensive network of motorized secondary and user-created trails until it conducts an environmental analysis. The park service must also work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure protection for panthers and other rare species in the area. Continue reading “Florida panthers catch break from National Park Service”

Finding more room for Florida panthers

Green areas on the map represent the network of already acquired public lands which would surround this monster sized project – the Big Cypress National Preserve to the south; Holeyland and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas and Storm Water Treatment Areas 3, 4, 5 and 6 to the east; the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area and the Okaloacoochee State Forest to the north and west. In addition to direct loss of habitat, a plant of this size would also dramatically increase traffic and open up the entire area to sprawl, road building, and habitat fragmentation.

New land deals in Southern Florida could benefit rare cats if they’re mapped carefully

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Florida panthers could get a bit more room to roam in the southern part of the state with a proposed expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System in the region — but conservation groups says federal land managers are missing a key part of the conservation puzzle.

The proposed Headwaters of the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge would protect 150,000 acres of ranch lands north of Lake Okeechobee at a price tag of 700 million dollars. The patchwork quilt of properties created would include 50,000 acres purchased outright while a conservation easement would be placed on 100,000 additional acres to prevent development.

The plan is aimed at Everglades restoration, but wildlife advocates said that, if the project is planned right, it could be a huge benefit to on the country’s rarest animals. Continue reading “Finding more room for Florida panthers”

Florida: Legal battle looms over Big Cypress motorized use

Wilderness values in Big Cypress National Preserve are at risk.

Conservation groups fault National Park Service for flawed approval process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A coalition of national and local conservation organizations last week went to court to nullify a plan which would open a previously protected section of Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve to 130 miles of trails for off-road vehicles (ORVs).

The lawsuit contends that widespread motorized traffic will degrade the unique natural resources of the 146,000-acre “Addition Lands,” create conflict with non-motorized users and fragment one of the last major wilderness areas in the eastern United States. Continue reading “Florida: Legal battle looms over Big Cypress motorized use”

Florida panther kitten to be released

An endangered Florida panther. PHOTO BY RODNEY CAMMAUF, COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Rare cats imperiled by habitat fragmentation

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —A Florida panther kitten that was raised in a wildlife facility after its mother died will be released to the wild this week in Big Cypress National Preserve.

The wild cat, identified as K304, will be set free Nov. 1 at the Burns Lake Campground and Backcountry Access site off from Burns Lake Road. The road is located approximately six miles east of State Road 29 and 13 miles west of the Oasis Visitor Center on U. S. 41. Turn north on Burns Lake road, drive one mile and the campground/access point is on the left.

The public is invited to attend, however, no guarantee is made of seeing the cat beyond a brief glimpse as it runs into the woods.

Background on K304
On October 25, 2010, through on-going tracking activity within the Preserve, it was discovered that the radio-collar of female panther FP102 was emitting a mortality signal. Upon reaching the site of the signal, National Park Service biologists found the remains of the cat. A subsequent necropsy confirmed that FP102 had died from wounds received during a fight. Five months earlier the cat had give birth to two male kittens. After the death of FP102, one of the offspring, K304, was discovered orphaned. His sibling was never found.

Upon discovering K304 the National Park Service, working closely with other agencies, transported the kitten to the White Oak Conservation Center, a wildlife facility in northeastern Florida. At the facility K304 was cared for and housed in appropriate facilities with minimal human contact. Now K304, a young, healthy cat, is of the age that it can be released near the area it was born. Continue reading “Florida panther kitten to be released”

Watchdog group challenges Big Cypress motorized plan

Will a plan to allow motorized use in Big Cypress National Preserve threaten wildlife habitat?

Environmentalists say the park service shut out the public and violated its own regulations in the decision-making process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Wrangling continues over future management of the 147,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, where the National Park Service recently decided to open 40,000 acres for motorized use.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, claims the park service broke its own policies with the decision by failing to involve the public in the decision-making process.

The group has filed an appeal and a notice of intent to sue over the decision.

“Unless NPS Director Jon Jarvis reverses the actions of his subordinates in response to an administrative appeal filed by PEER, management of this large south Florida park unit will soon be ensnarled in litigation,” PEER said in a press release. Continue reading “Watchdog group challenges Big Cypress motorized plan”

Wildfires: New Mexico and Florida the latest hotspots

Incident commander Rob Shackelford views flames at the Pains Bay Fire in North Carolina. PHOTO BY B STRAWSER, USFWS.

Structures threatened in Gila Hot Springs, N.M. and the Big Cypress Preserve in Florida

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While cooler weather and somewhat higher relative humidities have helped firefighters control a number of huge wildfire in Texas, the 3,600-acre Schwartz Fire, 20 miles east of Marathon, is growing quickly in dormant brush, hardwood slash and tall grass fuels.

The fire, which started May 7, is only 5 percent contained and threatens to move east quickly under gusty winds, highs around 100 degrees and 3 percent relative humidity. Click here to get all Texas wildfire updates from the Texas Forest Service.

Dangerous new blazes have been reported in South Carolina, Florida and New Mexico, where the 27,000 Miller Fire, near Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, has forced the evacuation of Gila Hot Springs. Continue reading “Wildfires: New Mexico and Florida the latest hotspots”