The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (or MINWR) is the home to Mosquito Lagoon and a portion of the Indian River. It is a large wildlife area which houses a plethora of different species on land and in the water. Mosquito Lagoon is world renowned for it’s redfish population and beautiful marsh scenery. The land around Mosquito Lagoon is home to wild hogs, bobcats, turtles, turkeys, deer, racoons, and tons of other species of animals including waterfowl for seasonal hunters.
The refuge is now under siege by ‘SpaceX’ and the Merritt Island ‘powers that be’ who could potentially go along with the plan to allow SpaceX to open up a new space port in the refuge itself. If you are local to the area, you know the already there are closures due to the the government space program to the south. What will a second, commercial space program due to the recreational industry? An impact study is being performed now, but it seems like many people on both sides of the fence already have their opinions formed.
Sure, after NASA left Central Florida, many lost their jobs. SpaceX could potentially bring millions in revenue back to the area, and also reemploy hundreds of workers…but does this economic impact trump the environmental impact? For one, I do not think it does. A wildlife refuge is just that, land that had to be designated so it was not built upon and encroached upon anymore than it already has been by development. We should not be building inside a National Wildlife refuge. Period. The recreation industry already brings in millions of dollars to the area from visitors and locals combined per year, and if SpaceX is to have their new space port with more refuge and surrounding area closure dates, we will see a decline in the amount of money the recreation industry can sustain in it’s yearly impact.
Stay informed and keep updated with this issue! It will take many voices to be heard and make an impact when the time comes to decide whether or not we wish to profit on lands which cannot be recreated or duplicated.
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