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The City of Titusville, Florida / News

Proposed Use of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Contact: Layne Hamilton, Refuge Manager,

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

321.861.2278, MerrittIsland@fws.gov

Public Review & Comment Period Announced for

Proposed Use of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge:

Bicycle Portion of 2013 Rocketman Florida Triathlon

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is requesting public review and comment on a use proposed for Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR): the bicycling portion of the 2013 Rocketman Florida Triathlon.

The draft compatibility determination (CD) and Environmental Assessment (EA) are available for public review and comment, as listed.

View/Print the document at: http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/

View/Print the document at: the Merritt Island NWR Facebook page

Pick up a paper copy: at the Refuge’s Visitor Center

Have a paper copy mailed to you: Call the Refuge at 321.861.0667

How to Submit Comments?

Email: MerrittIsland@fws.gov

Fax: 321.861.1276

Mail: Merritt Island NWR, PO Box 2683, Titusville, FL 32781-2683

What is the Deadline for Comments?

In order to ensure consideration of your comments in the development of the final CD, please ensure that we receive your comments by April 24, 2013 . Please include your name and address on your comments. Please note, under the Freedom of Information Act, your name, address, and comments may be made publicly available; while you can 2

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.

Background Information

An applicant has proposed a one-time use of Merritt Island NWR for the bicycling portion of the 2013 Rocketman Florida Triathlon, which is a commercial athletic event. With an estimated 1,300-1,700 participants, the bicycle course would start at Space View Park in Titusville, cross the Max Brewer Bridge (SR 406/Garden Street), and enter the refuge. The race would continue onto SR 402 (Beach Road) to the intersection with SR 3 (Kennedy Parkway), where it would turn south into Kennedy Space Center’s security area. The course would continue south, detour for a short distance west to parallel the Shuttle Landing Facility, then east on Saturn Causeway, past the Vehicle Assembly Building, circle launch pads 39 A and B, head west to SR 3, north to SR 402, and west through the refuge to Titusville to transition to the run portion of the event.

Since commercial athletic events were not considered in the development of the 2007 Comprehensive Conservation Plan (15-year management plan) for Merritt Island NWR, the Service has developed an EA and draft CD for public review and comment for the proposed one-time use.

The purpose of developing the EA and the draft CD is to ensure that only appropriate and compatible uses to occur on Merritt Island NWR in compliance with the outlined stipulations in order to ensure that impacts of the proposed use are minimized, that the proposed use does not detract from or materially interfere with the purposes of Merritt Island NWR, and that the proposed commercial use contributes to the purposes of the Merritt Island NWR and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In accordance with Service guidelines and National Environmental Policy Act requirements, public involvement is an important factor in the development of the EA and the draft CD for Merritt Island NWR. A 30-day public review and comment period on the draft CD and EA provides the public the opportunity to comment on the proposal. The Service will review all comments submitted and will respond to the substantive comments in an appendix included with the final documents. A final decision from the Service would be expected before the May 5, 2013 event date.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our 3

YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.





P. O. Box 2806, (32781-2806) - 555 S. Washington Avenue - Titusville, FL 32796 - Phone: (321) 567-3775 - Fax: (321) 383-5704 - Site by Project A