Dean M. Chriss
Merritt Island, Sunset
(Click image to enlarge)
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge occupies 140,000 acres (570 km2) and it
is also the home of Kennedy Space Center. It borders Canaveral National
Seashore, portions of the Kennedy Space Center that are not open to the public,
and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River run
through the refuge.
Public access to all of parts of Merritt Island is controlled so the
refuge provides a very substantial area of relatively undisturbed wildlife
habitat. It contains saltwater estuaries and
freshwater impoundments and marshes, dunes, hardwood hammocks, and scrub. Over 1000 species of plants, 117 species of fish, 68 amphibians and
reptiles, 330 birds, and 31 mammal species live in the refuge. Of these 21 species are listed as
endangered either by the state of Florida or by the US federal government.