Off-site projects threaten to impact the Refuge

What our membership needs to know
Dr. Matthew C. Harwell, Senior Ecologist

The Refuge has been focusing on five main areas of immediate interest, including - in no specific order:

Today, I'd like to spend some time talking about this last category.

There are an unprecedented number of development activities currently being considered near the Refuge, necessitating Refuge staff to consider not only potential impacts of each project individually, but also potential cumulative impacts (see Figure - Resource Management Concerns below). Rather than talk about each specific project, one way to examine these proposed projects is to first look at the overall map of projects, then examine whether there are potential water quantity, water quality, or wildlife concerns for the Refuge as a collective whole.

Currently, the two projects of immediate interest are the proposed South Bay Quarry rock mine - adjacent to the Refuge's Compartment D on the southwest corner of the Refuge - and the proposed landfill which, as of this writing, is planned immediately adjacent to the Refuge's western boundary.

The proposed landfill creates wildlife and water quality problems for the Refuge. Refuge staff have worked with the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority and the County Commissioners as they have considered the proposal along with several alternative site proposals. The proposed rock mine creates water quantity, water quality, and wildlife concerns for the Refuge.

We expect that by this time next year, we will know the ultimate fate of these and other currently proposed development activities adjacent to the Refuge. By providing technical information, along with preliminary management recommendations, the Refuge staff hopes to address the adjacent land use concerns as part of its long-term conservation vision.

Resource Management Concerns Map