Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Space Port Controversy

Nick talked about this during class one day. Here is more info from Ducks Unlimited. We are past the open comment period but there is more info on the website:

A new space port has been proposed for construction along the boundary of Brevard and Volusia counties, within the management boundaries of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

While Ducks Unlimited is not opposed to the development of space launch facilities and the associated economic benefits, we have concerns with site placement and the potential indirect and direct impacts that could occur to the surrounding wetland ecosystem.

Specific concerns with the development of the Shiloh Launch Complex include: (1) impacts to waterfowl habitats and management, (2) disturbance to habitat and wildlife, and (3) impacts to hunting opportunities.

The open comment period ends Friday, Feb. 21. As a Florida citizen and Ducks Unlimited member, we would ask you to submit comments via faashiloheis@cardnotec.com to the Federal Aviation Administration. DU has submitted a formal letter of comment which you may use to develop your comments if you desire.

Here are a few points in brief:

* Merritt Island is a designated Globally Important Bird Area and serves as an important migration and wintering site for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds and neotropical birds.

* Potential impacts from the development of the launch complex could include alteration of surface hydrology from infrastructure such as roads and other impervious surfaces which can increase runoff, pollution and ultimately impair water quality within the Mosquito and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems and adjacent managed wetlands.

* Due to location of the proposed launch facility, issues with access especially to the Shiloh 1, 3 and 5 impoundments could potentially prevent proper management of these important wetlands, thus having negative effects on the vegetation used by migratory birds and local fisheries.

* While disturbance from the Proposed Site could impact the use of nearby wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife, an additional concern is the impact to users of the refuge, in particular the capacity of waterfowl hunters to access the surrounding managed wetlands that may be closed due to launch activities. Hunt areas on Merritt Island that could be impacted by development of the launch site facility include the Shiloh impoundments of the Indian River Lagoon, as well as additional hunt areas within Mosquito Lagoon.

Click here to view the DU letter to the FAA in PDF format.

As always, thanks for your support of Ducks Unlimited!

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