FWC Imperiled Species Management Plan
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: http://bit.ly/1VyeZPW
FWC approves historic plan to conserve imperiled species
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is moving forward with a groundbreaking attempt to achieve conservation success with dozens of imperiled species throughout the state. At its meeting in St. Petersburg, the FWC approved the Imperiled Species Management Plan, a capstone on five years of work developing the plan, and over a decade of revising the listing process. In the plan, the details of conserving each of Florida’s 57 imperiled species are coupled with the broader approach of restoring habitats and addressing other large-scale issues essential to the long-term survival of multiple fish and wildlife species.
“Our charismatic species get a lot of attention, but the animals covered by this Imperiled Species Management Plan need attention too,” said Commissioner Chuck Roberts. “All of these species are very important to long-term resource management here in Florida.”
After adopting a new conservation model in 2010 that requires a management plan for imperiled species, the FWC embarked upon a process of collaboration with stakeholders and the public. Three drafts of the plan were presented for review, generating hundreds of comments on each draft, and leading to changes in the plan. Experts from outside the FWC also participated in Biological Status Reviews that evaluated which fish and wildlife species should be designated as imperiled.
“The Imperiled Species Management Plan addresses a diversity of imperiled species, from the reddish egret to the Florida bog frog, Barbour’s map turtle and bluenose shiner,” said Brad Gruver, who leads the agency’s Species Conservation Planning section. “In the past, we successfully used management plans for individual species like the bald eagle and manatee. With this plan, we take into account what imperiled species have in common, such as the need for us to improve what we know about them and to better coordinate how we manage multiple species.”
While the biologists who developed this 10-year plan are responsible for its implementation, the public is encouraged to step into key roles. Citizen-scientists can volunteer to help survey wildlife and collect data. Private landowners can conserve imperiled species on their property. Schools, businesses, organizations and individuals can become informal educators on imperiled wildlife.
“We have been involved in the effort to revise Florida’s imperiled species listing process and management system since the very beginning,” said Elizabeth Fleming, Senior Florida Representative, Defenders of Wildlife. “We are extremely pleased to see the adoption of a comprehensive imperiled species management plan and associated rules. Now the important work of implementing these important conservation measures can begin.”
Important things to know about the Imperiled Species Management Plan: