FWS, FEMA Flood Insurance & Feral Cats in Florida Keys
This is the new free-roaming cat brochure from FEMA and USFWS, hosted on the FWS Vero Beach Florida website under the section Conservation in the Keys.
On April 30, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) finalized a new Biological Opinion (BO) on the impacts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) flood insurance program on imperiled species in the Florida Keys. The Service completed the new BO with the best available science in fulfillment of a Court Order issued on February 26, 2009. The BO outlines an improved strategy for protecting threatened and endangered species and the habitats they need (referred to as Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives [RPAs]).
The amended BO identifies 11 actions to be implemented by FEMA, the Service, and participating NFIP communities and certified to the Court before the existing injunction will be lifted. The proposed timeline for the actions is 14 months from the date of the Court’s acceptance of the amended BO (January 11, 2011), resulting in a projected certification date on or before March 11, 2012.
Critical time sensitive actions are referenced in RPA 1, RPA 2, and RPA 5.
Two of multiple requirements for Monroe County participating communities in the FEMA Flood Insurance program (Islamorada, Layton, Marathon, and unincorporated Monroe Co ) by March 2012 were to provide written procedures for referring floodplain development permit applicants to the FWS for review etc. and
6. Free-Roaming Cats: FEMA will coordinate with participating communities in Monroe County in their development of a brochure, information on a website, and other materials for addressing predation by domestic and feral cats in areas within endangered and threatened species habitat and buffer zones in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Participating communities will be required to provide this brochure to all floodplain development permit applicants seeking a flood plain permit, to build a structure, or expand an existing structure. This brochure will describe how to protect threatened and endangered species by keeping pets indoors. FEMA will provide a yearly report and a list by parcel of how many floodplain development permits were issued by NFIP participating communities for each of the buffer zones by species affected in the Special Flood Hazard Area.
Five Biological Opinions (click on Monroe County) created by the FWS since 1997 regarding FEMA’s Administration of the Flood Plain Insurance Program in MoCo include information about the need to address feral or freeroaming cat issues! See all including the April 2010 BO for interesting descriptions of how feral cat numbers were estimated.
Similar and same info is in the numerous FWS documents relating to their quest to remove feral or free roaming cats from wildlife refuges and private property in the Florida Keys due to alleged predation but without knowing how many endangered species or cats there are, among other deficiencies. The most recent of those documents was the Florida Keys Refuges Integrated Predator Plan.
In my limited opinion, much needed cat campaigns to promote responsible pet ownership in the U.S. have instead been marred and rendered ineffective by misinformation, the desire of some to continue killing cats for control or management, and by some misinterpretation. This resulted in the inability of cat and TNR advocates to promote even the beneficial parts of such campaigns as ABC’s ongoing Cats Indoors! (scroll down or Edit/Find) and the old HSUS Safe Cats campaign (before they changed to endorse TNR) as well as the recent OurAnimalFamily.org (created in 2008 for FWS and Florida Keys Refuges) and now the new FWS/FEMA free-roaming cat brochure for flood program participating communities in MOCO.
What can break the impasse between cat and Trap Neuter Return advocates and groups or individuals in opposition? Many people care about ALL species, populations and individual animals. While inaccurate information cannot go unchallenged, AnimalResources continues to seek and identify reasonable and open-minded people who want to move beyond controversy, improve and save cat lives, end killing, protect all species.
Recurring takeaways from the Feral Cat Blog!:
Community Cat Managementand
A prevention AND solution action for cities, counties, communities is to immediately implement or support comprehensive cat management programs that promote CONCURRENTLY:
* spay neuter, identification, and containment as possible or supervision for 'owned' cats and
* Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM) for unowned cats.
* covered dumpsters and garbage containers
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