Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is located in Titusville, Florida. The Refuge, which is an overlay of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, was established in August 1963 to provide a buffer zone for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the quest for space exploration. Approximately one half the Refuge's 140,000 acres consist of brackish estuaries and marshes. The remaining lands consist of coastal dunes, scrub oaks, pine forests and flat woods, and palm and oak hammocks.The coastal location with its seven distinct habitat types and position between the subtropic and temperate zones contribute to the Refuge's importance as a major wintering area for migratory birds. Over 500 species of wildlife inhabit the Refuge with 16 currently listed as federally threatened or endangered. Several wading bird rookeries, approximately 10 active bald eagle nests, numerous osprey nests, up to 400 manatees and an estimated 2,500 Florida scrub jays can be found on the Refuge.
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