National Wildlife Refuge
Ron Hight, Project Leader
Merritt Island NWR
P.O. Box 6504
Titusville, FL 32782
Phone: 321/861 0667
Fax: 321/861 1276
* Established: 1963.
* Ownership: NASA and FWS.
* Acres: 140,000-acre overlay of the
John E Kennedy Space Center,
Florida. The refuge provides a
buffer zone for NASA in the
quest for space exploration.
* Headquarters location: five miles
east of Titusville on State
* Administers Lake Wales Ridge
NWR and St. Johns NWR as
part of complex.
* Approximately one-half of the
refuge's 140,000 acres consists of
brackish estuaries and marshes.
The remaining lands consist of
coastal dunes, scrub oaks, pine
forests and flatwoods, and palm
and oak hammocks.
* The coastal location of MINWR,
seven distinct habitat types, and
position between the subtropic
and temperate climatic zones,
contribute to the refuge's
importance as a major wintering
area for migratory birds. Over
500 species of wildlife inhabit the
refuge with 10 being listed as
federally threatened or
endangered. Several wading bird
rookeries, 11 active bald eagle
nests, numerous osprey nests, up
to 400 manatees during spring
months, and an estimated 2,500
Florida scrub jays can be found
on the refuge.
Financial Impact of the Refuge
* 27-person staff.
* 500,000 visitors annually,
excluding visits to the FWS
exhibit at NASA's VIC.
* Current budget (FY 05)
* Provide habitat for migratory
* Provide habitat and protection for
endangered and threatened species.
* Provide habitat for natural
* Provide opportunities for
environmental education and
interpretation, and wildlife-
* Management of water levels
within the refuge's 76
impoundments for migratory
birds, wading birds, shorebirds,
and other native species of plants
* The use of prescribed fire to
maintain fire dependent/fire
* Chemical and mechanical control
of exotic plants.
* Thinning of pine stands to improve
bald eagle nesting habitat.
* Public education and outreach to
help instill conservation ethics.
* Active law enforcement patrols to
protect wildlife, habitat and the
* Productive partnerships with
NASA, state agencies, other
Federal and local agencies to
further refuge goals
Public Use Opportunities
* Visitor Information Center.
* Five hiking trails ranging from
1/4-mile to 5 miles in length.
* Manatee observation deck.
* 7-mile auto tour route (Black
Point Wildlife Drive).
* Observation towers.
* Wildlife observation and
it IslandNiatIEL' na11 W 11-Uildlif Refu
uided tours scheduled Where can we go to see an IIg.I,i '
[ovember-March. Alligators are often visible in many
areas of the refuge. There are usually
fishing. alligators that inhabit the freshwater
/aterfowl hunting. ponds behind the Visitor Center.
They can often be seen basking in the
eating and canoeing. warm sunshine (especially on cool
Environmental education. t
dar of Events
Migratory Bird Day, Annual P
i Clean-up. si
National Fishing Week event.
July: turtle watches. A
ember: early waterfowl (teal/ C
ber: National Wildlife
re Week. a
mber: Space Coast Birding and in
ife Festival. s]
mber-January: waterfowl h
ng, per state regulations.
mber: Christmas Bird Count. o
:ions and Answers M
is there to see/do at the refuge? a
efuge has a visitor's center with u
minute video about the refuge, a lo
hiking trail, wildlife and habitat c;
its, and a staffed information e
Four additional hiking trails, a tl
-mile wildlife drive, a manatee p
ng area, several boat launch f
, boating, fishing, canoeing, and p
fe observation opportunities d
e is the best place to see
ays), on dikes or banks throughout
he refuge including Black Point
Wildlife Drive. The road that leads to
'layalinda Beach is also a popular
pot from which to view alligators.
Here can we go to see a manatee ?
manatee viewing platform located
t the northeast side of Haulover
anal is the best spot on the refuge to
possibly see a manatee. From this
)cation, as many as 60 have been
een at once. Interpretive panels are
available at the platform to provide
formation about these endangered
row is it possible for wildlife to
. .. C1, ll coexist with space
operations and what fCi .-1/ do shuttle
lunches have on wildlife?
lore than 130,000 of the 140,000
cres that make up the refuge are
developed. This means there are a
)t of wide open spaces where wildlife
an exist and not be disturbed or have
ncroaching development surround
hem. More importantly, by being
purchased to function as a buffer zone
)r NASA, these wildlands have been
protected from commercial
development as can be seen all along
he Atlantic Coast of Florida. NASA
operational areas actually have
minimal effects on refuge wildlife.
- l ,, , l 4 1 1, I ,,- 1 ,4-
-mile, one-way loop traverses disturbance is short-lived and the
d shallow marsh impoundments only common wildlife fatalities are
an excellent place to see small minnows that inhabit the
fowl (in season), wading birds, shallow bodies of water adjacent to
birds and raptors. Alligators, the launch pads.
)tters, bobcats, various species
ko-S and other wildlife mav hb