Title: Martin, David. "The Lake Wales Ridge, National Wildlife Refuge." The Florida Naturalist. Spring 1992. 1p.
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Title: Martin, David. "The Lake Wales Ridge, National Wildlife Refuge." The Florida Naturalist. Spring 1992. 1p.
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
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Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00052547
Volume ID: VID00001
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TTV r ntaminants survey (we expect to find
E L A E mostly trash, including asbestos shingles
"from construction debris and possiblysome
pesticide contamination from activities
NATIONAL LTDITFE R FUGE such ascattle dipping), and a formal Land
NAlProtection Plan to be distributed to all
affected landowners. Distribution of these
A New Endangered document is set for June 1992, and public

meetings will be held at that time. As part
Species Refutge for of the final planning, the proposed Refuge

boundaries are being adjusted to take into
Florida's Scrub B l consideration the destruction of some sites
and to coordinate the refuge proposal with
By David Martin, Botanist with the U.S. theState's land acquisition program. Some
Fishr and Wildlife Service office in sites have been proposed for State
h a idle Sernin fofie I acquisition, so it is prudent to coordinate
Jacksonville. Mr. Martin's duties 0 boundaries and priorities.
include listing and recovery work for e m i Usually, the Fish and Wildlife Service
numerous endangered plant species in waits until a Land Protection Plan is
Florida and South Georgia. Lichens Earth Stars on a bed of sugar sand. available before requesting funds for land

purchase from Congress. Because the Lake
The high ridge extending from Lake acquisition projects including Saddle Wales Ridge rojectisourgent, andbecause
Wales south to Sebring and Lake Placid has Blanket Lakes and Catfish Creek. Unfor- i c eted ve project is succesu n nterna
an extraordinary concentration of endemic tunately, no one site has all of the listed Fish and Wildlife Service reviews against
(restricted to or native to a particular area scrub plants, and some of the plants occur other projects, the Service is proposing
or region) species. at just a few (or even one) site. that congress appropriate initial land
This habitat has been known to If the State's land acquisition program acquisition funds for fiscal 1993, which
biologists, albeit remotely, since the 1920's continues, it has good prospects for means Congressional evaluation of the
when John Kunkel Small, a northern acquiring the best available, large, single- request is already underway and that local
botanist obsessed with Florida, described owner tracts with scrub and other native support for the project is of the essence.
a number of new plant species. It took vegetation. Unfortunately, some of the The case for the Refe, in a nutshell, is
many years for botanists in the eastern best sites for endangered plants are that horida has the chest flora of any
states to realize the significance of what undeveloped subdivisions, or aretoosmall eastern state (for plants, the big leagues
Small and other pioneers had found. Most to make attractive state forests, parks or consist of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, California,
of eastern North America has few endemic preserves. The proposal to create a Florida and Texas). The Lake Wales Ridge
species, and hardly any other terrain looks National Wildlife Refuge for scrub plants has probably the largest number of
like scrub. and animals is focusing on such sites in the endangered plants growing in a limited
In the 1980's, intensive biological expectation that the Federal effort (limited areaanywhere in the United States. Because
surveys of the Lake Wales Ridge prompted to about 10,000 acres) will complement the endangered and threatened animals are
the Fish and Wildlife Service to list some of State purchases of larger areas that are more strongly protected than plants, other
the endemic scrub plants as endangered/ somewhat less rich in endangered or methods, such as Habitat Conservation
threatened species (13 are currently listed threatened scrub species. Plans can be employed to protect them.
and another 7 species slated as such). The Fish and Wildlife Service has been Land acquisition is especially important
Comprehensive recovery plans for the developing the Refuge proposal for over for plants. And with its concentration of
scrub jays were already in action, a plan for two years. The difficulties of protecting rare plants, the Lake Wales Ridge is clearly
the flora's recovery was developed, and and managing a number of separate tracts as important for plant conservation as any
the FWS is developing a plan for two is cause for concern. The proposed Refuge other area in the country.
threatened scrub lizards. The plant is also unusual, at least by Eastern
recovery plan, completed in 1990, stated standards, because it would have only a
that, "land purchase should be pursued few wetlands. The concept of a National Original Xeric Uplands
before other land conservation options, Wildlife Refuge for endangered species is Ancient scrubs in these ridges
because development is proceeding too not new. The first refuge in the system was marion
rapidly for other methods of land protection established to help pelicans here in Florida, evaluate
to be timely or effective. Good sites are and the FWS now has refuges in Florida Citrus Lake
available at reasonable prices. Because of for endangered Key deer, crocodiles, sumtr SsminoS
the emergency need to acquire remaining manatees, and the panther. The Lake Wales H eManao HfdEOMI ORUNDO
scrub sites, the most rapid acquisition Refuge does represent the first time that of o.. Btv,,a
means possible must be used. The pursuit endangered plants have played a leading Polk
of other means of land protection (such as role in the establishment of a refuge. "r~ h ^
conservation easements) should not be The first formal document proposing to NA V E
allowed to interfere with land acquisition." establish a refuge is a conceptual plan,Bal
The Lake Wales Ridge already has the called a Preliminary Project Proposal. The SE
beginnings of an excellent system of proposal for the Lake Wales Ridge Refuge is Man.stee. e Okeechobtee
biological preserves, including Archbold an exceptionally thorough one; it was Lie
Biological Station, the impressive state approved by the Director's office in sarot. Marin
forest and state park at Arbuckle Lake, Washington in October1991. Now, second
Nature Conservancy preserves at Tiger set of decision documents are being Chart Glades
Creek and Lake Apthorpe, and current state prepared: an environmental assessment, a U La.e waes Raidge *winter"venRkge iaLeHenrynLdge


12 The Florida Naturalist S'fI 1 2 .





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