Department of Interior

DOI News Header

Office of the Secretary Hugh Vickery
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Feb. 8, 2004 202-501-4633

Assistant Secretary Manson to Dedicate
Innovative Research Project at Everglades Refuge

Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson will dedicate an innovative research project Saturday at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge that will mimic the hydrology of the Everglades to provide better science for the ongoing restoration of the South Florida ecosystem.

The project, which is being conducted in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, will quantify the effects of water depth, flow rate and other hydrologic factors on wading birds, tree islands, marsh plant communities, marsh fishes and invertebrates and peat soils.

"Improving our scientific knowledge of the Everglades and the South Florida ecosystem is essential to the success of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan over the next four decades," Manson said. "Working with the State and the Corps, we will define the hydrologic regimes that sustain a healthy Everglades."

The dedication ceremony will take place during the 4th Annual Everglades Day Festival and is expected to attract thousands of people to the refuge.

"The refuge attracts 300,000 visitors a year providing an ideal opportunity to educate the public about Everglades restoration," Manson said.

This project will entail the construction of four smaller impoundments from two existing impoundments, each about 20 acres. Each impoundment will be divided into two habitat types that will contain tree islands, ridges, sloughs, and deep water areas designed to simulate alligator holes.

Loxahatchee NWR covers more than 145,000 acres at the northern end of the Everglade's system and features thousands of tree islands. The refuge was established in 1951 through an agreement with the South Florida Water Management. This agreement was renewed in 2002 for another 50-year period. The Department has committed significant resources to conserving the refuge, including an additional $1 million in 2002 to combat invasive species.

Who: Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior

What: Dedication of Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment research project.

When: 10 a.m., Saturday, February 9, 2003

Where: Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR, 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL


Selected Press Releases