National Park Service to hold meetings on predator management

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial are NPS "units."

The National Park Service invites the public to participate in the development of a regional environmental assessment to examine options for protecting shorebirds, sea turtles and beach mice from the threat of predators at NPS units in the Southeast Region, according to a news release.

The Coastal Species of Concern Predator Management Plan Programmatic Environmental Assessment will evaluate the best available predator management options and analyze relevant environmental issues.

The largest nearby National Park Service “unit” site that could be affected is Cumberland Island National Seashore. Two other nearby sites in northeast Florida include Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial.

Some parks need a strategy to better protect species of concern, including federally listed threatened and endangered species and state listed species: snowy and piping plover shorebirds, loggerhead sea turtle, green sea turtle, Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, southeastern beach mouse and Perdido Key beach mouse. Predators include coyotes, raccoons, foxes, feral hogs and others. Species of concern using coastal and dune habitats are especially vulnerable during their respective breeding seasons, generally falling between April and October.

Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the project through April 15.

NPS has arranged a series of opportunities to encourage public awareness and involvement in the project, including:

•                Public scope “meetings” scheduled via online webinars at 5 p.m. on April 4 and 6 in order to present project information and review the preliminary alternatives. Registration is free and available online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sero by clicking the project page and navigating to 'Meeting Notices'.

•                Webinars will be recorded and archived on https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sero

•                A public scoping newsletter, including project details and preliminary draft alternative concepts, posted at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sero;

Periodic updates will be posted at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sero.

 

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