Public invited to open house at Three Sisters Springs

News Release

The "Southwest Florida Water Management District(Southwest Florida Water Management District)":/, the "US Fish and Wildlife Service(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)":, and the "Friends of Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge(Friends of Chassahowitzka)": are holding a second public open house at the newly acquired Three Sisters Springs property on Dec. 11, 2010, from 8 a.m. to noon.

More than 580 people attended the first open house in September. "This time, we expect not only for the weather to be more favorable, but also for manatees to be in the vicinity of the springs, so that people can view wild manatees in their wintering habitat," said Michael Lusk, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge manager.

Staff from the District, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Friends of Chassahowitzka will show the public what the future holds for manatees and visitors to Three Sisters Springs. Guides will give visitors walking tours of the property and there will be several informational booths. Free water and portable restroom facilities will be also available.

As an improved road and parking lot on the property have not yet been constructed, free shuttles to the property will be provided. Shuttles will depart from the southeast corner of the Kings Bay Shopping Plaza parking lot on US 19, just north of the former Sonic fast food diner beginning at 8 a.m. Shuttles will run every 5 to 10 minutes, with the last shuttle returning at noon. The property does not yet have established trails, so expect rough and uneven walking terrain. Fishing, swimming or other access to the springs from the property will not be permitted during these open houses.

The Fish and Wildlife Service assumed management of the Three Sisters Springs property on July 28, 2010. The property is being managed as part of the existing Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. The District purchased part of the property to construct a wetland treatment system to remove pollutants from stormwater before it runs into Kings Bay.

For more information contact Ivan Vicente, US Fish and Wildlife Service, at (352) 563 2088, ext. 213.