Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative Spring 2013 Newsletter

State Wildlife Grants
2012 Proposed Projects

Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative is excited to announce projects selected for the 2012 State Wildlife Grants cycle!

USFWS LogoDuring the past year, Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative has worked with numerous external and internal partners in developing project scopes of work, drafting and posting announcements, and reviewing submissions.  Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative Goal Teams developed the projects through both the general and targeted processes.  Of the thirty-three proposals received, twenty-four are recommended to the US Fish and Wildlife Service External Website for funding.  The proposed awards, listed below, total $1.8 million and will help Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative achieve its 2012 to 2017 goals.


Project Title

Principal Investigator Affiliation


Living Shorelines

University of Central Florida


Responses of Ecosystem Function in Mangrove Forests to Sea Level Rise



Is “Managed Retreat” a Feasible Option for Gopher Tortoise and Burrow Commensal Animal Populations Impacted by Projected Sea Level Rise in Florida?

Towson University

Data Gaps

Closing Data Gaps for the Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus)

University of Florida


Multi-Species Fish Population Presence and Location Validation

University of Florida


Genetic Assessment of Gopher Frog Populations in Florida



Filling Data Gaps for Florida Mussel Species of Greatest Conservation Need



Genetics and Conservation Significance of Osprey in Southern Florida



Molecular Phylogeny, Species Distribution and Habitat Characteristics of the Highly Endemic Silt Snail Genus, Floridobia

Stetson University


Riverbank Restoration and Stabilization on the Chipola River



Lake Gwyn Wetland Rehydration



Development of Regional Bank Erosion Relationships for the Gulf Coastal Plain Hydrophysiographic Region

University of West Florida


Dendrogyra cylindrus Genetic Diversity in Florida

Pennsylvania State University


Montastrea annularis and M. franksi Genetic Diversity in Florida

Nova Southeastern University


Investigation of a Previously Undescribed Octocoral Disease Affecting the Florida Reef Tract



Genetic Differentiation Among Florida Populations of Diadema antillarum

University of Central Florida


Developing a Comprehensive Strategy for Coral Reef Restoration for Florida



Monitoring and Mapping of Dendrogyra cylindrusof the Florida Reef Tract



The Impact of Elevated Temperature and Mosquito Control Pesticides on Coral Larvae Physiology and Settlement

University of North Florida


Applying NatureServe Conservation Status Assessments (Global and State Ranks) to Florida Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Florida Natural Areas Inventory


Coastal Habitat Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program



Florida Forest Service Prescribed Fire Assistance Team

Florida Forest Service


Lake Wales Ridge State Forest Helicopter Burn in Scrub, Sandhills, Dry Prairie and Wet Flatwoods

Florida Forest Service


Prescribed Burning of Pine Rocklands in Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County

Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative thanks the FWC staff from many sections and the external partners without whom the 2012 State Wildlife Grants cycle would not have been successful.  Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative also thanks the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Florida field offices and the Region 4 office in Atlanta for assistance and for providing the funding that makes these projects possible.

If you are interested in State Wildlife Grants funding, contact Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative.  And visit Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative's website for updates and for the 2013 State Wildlife Grants cycle announcement later this year!

Tune In: Chipola River Named Water to Watch

SARP LogoCongratulations to the Southeast Aquatics Resources Partnership! External Website  The National Fish Habitat Board External Website has designated the Chipola River—one of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative’s priority preservation basins—as one of ten Waters to Watch nationwide!

The annual Waters to Watch list External Website is assembled by aquatic conservation experts and represents waters where conservation activities will lead to cleaner and healthier habitats for fish, wildlife and people.

Showcased for selection were two projects that will rely on collaboration with federal, state and non-profit agencies to address

Chipola River

Chipola River

action items that will benefit aquatic resources in the Chipola River Basin.  One is a proposed US Fish and Wildlife Service External Website project that involves assistance with on-going research projects, development of new projects, coordination with stakeholders, monitoring of existing fish populations and implementation of restoration projects.  The second project is a stream-bank stabilization project in the Upper Chipola Basin led by Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative.  The State Wildlife Grants program and the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Subsection will provide funds for the project, with additional partnerships from a private landowner, the Natural Resources Conservation Service External Website, the FWC’s Habitat Conservation Scientific Service and Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. External Website

For additional information, contact Jessica Graham, the Northwest Region Legacy Biologist.

Goal Post: Marine and Adaptation

Bob Glazer, Associate Research Scientist

Andrea Alden, Marine Wildlife Legacy Biologist

Uncharted waters… but mapping the future!



The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, GeoAdaptive, Inc External Website. and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration External Website are working to prototype a scenario-based approach to identify, map and evaluate benthic habitats’ vulnerabilities to climate change.

Much climate change research has been devoted to terrestrial systems.  The risks a changing climate poses to coastal and near-shore marine habitats and species, and the potential for management to mitigate those risks, remain largely unknown.  Furthermore, well-established approaches have difficulty accounting for climatic, social, economic and political uncertainties.

Spiny Lobster

Spiny Lobster

To determine these risks and clarify uncertainties, project personnel are piloting an approach that models alternative futures and examines these futures’ effects on natural resources.  The outcomes are then coupled with a variety of adaptation strategies to help plan for future conditions and to test management actions.

The models include dimensions related to climate change, such as sea level rise and sea surface temperature; conservation, such as variability in protected areas use; and socioeconomic use, such as commercial fishing, recreational fishing and diving.  Habitats to be studied include coral reefs, mangroves and beaches.  Species of Greatest Conservation Need to be examined include the goliath grouper, the spiny lobster and the loggerhead sea turtle.



Mapping and assessment of climate change vulnerabilities in benthic habitats is essential to developing management strategies that protect these habitats as climate changes.  This project will enable resource managers to make informed decisions about the use and protection of their resources.  This project’s approach is also designed to be scalable, and therefore capable of addressing all the coastal and near-shore marine habitats identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan.

For more information, visit GeoAdaptive External Website, or contact Bob Glazer, the project’s principal investigator, or Andrea Alden.

Goal Post: Freshwater

Kevin Kemp, Freshwater Wildlife Legacy Biologist

Along the Wahneta Farms Canal Courtesy of Kevin Kemp

Along the Wahneta Farms Canal
Courtesy of Kevin Kemp

Polk County is partnering with Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative on a project that will address Legacy’s freshwater goal by rehydrating a portion of Lake Gwyn External Website.  The project will create a 56-acre freshwater marsh on former lake bottom drained by the Wahneta Farms Canal External Website, which flows into the Peace Creek and from there to the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.  The Wahneta Farms Canal carries significant loads of nutrients and bacteria from surrounding rural residential, agricultural, industrial and commercial lands, and is state-designated External Website as impaired for nutrients, bacteria and dissolved oxygen.  Rehydrating  this portion of Lake Gwyn will expand habitat for fish and wildlife and improve the Peace River’s health and water quality.

Along the Wahneta Farms Canal Courtesy of Kevin Kemp

Along the Wahneta Farms Canal
Courtesy of Kevin Kemp

To create the marsh, water control structures will redirect water from the Wahneta Farms Canal in the western portion of the former lake bottom.  A series of deep pools ensures that water is filtered and inundated land is available for wildlife whether water is high or low.  Converting the former lake bottom into a freshwater marsh will benefit numerous amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and fish, including many Species of Greatest Conservation Need.  The Lake Gwyn project is one of many water quality improvement projects currently underway in the upper Peace River watershed.

Rehydration of the western portion of Lake Gwyn will cost nearly 1.3 million dollars.  Polk County’s decision to leverage funds from State Wildlife Grants and elsewhere is crucial to the success of this project and to the implementation of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative’s freshwater goal.

For additional information, contact Kevin Kemp.

Emerging Threat: White-Nose Syndrome

Gray Bat with White - Nose Syndrome Montgomery County, Tennessee Courtesy of Cory Holliday

Gray Bat with White - Nose Syndrome
Montgomery County, Tennessee
Courtesy of Cory Holliday

Some of Florida’s bats may soon face a threat that has killed millions of bats in twenty-two state and five Canadian provinces since it was first detected only seven years ago: white-nose syndrome.  Of the nine species on which white-nose syndrome has been detected, three—southeastern bat, tricolored bat and the federally endangered gray bat—use  Florida caves as roosting sites.  All three are also Species of Greatest Conservation Need.  Both Alabama External Website and Georgia  have confirmed cases of white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome is linked to a disease caused by a white fungus,Geomyces destructans, that coats the noses, muzzles and wings of infected bats.  The fungus disturbs bats, causing them to fly during the day and disrupting winter hibernation.  Such activity depletes bats’ energy reserves, with the fungus killing more than ninety percent of the bats it infects.

Tricolored Bat with White - Nose Syndrome Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama Courtesy of Darwin Brock

Tricolored Bat with White - Nose Syndrome
Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
Courtesy of Darwin Brock

To address this emerging threat, Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative has supported its partners with State Wildlife Grants funding for several projects concerned with white-nose syndrome and bat conservation.  Activities to date include:

  • Attendance at several regional meetings to coordinate actions across federal, state and local managed areas
  • Cave visitation to search for evidence of white-nose syndrome
  • Estimation of bat population sizes
  • Temperature measurements that determined north Florida’s caves are cold enough in the winter to support the white-nose fungus
  • Expanded network of responders trained to collect information on dead bats
  • Testing of dead bats for white-nose syndrome and other diseases
  • Establishment of an online reporting mechanism for the public to report dead and diseased bats

Proposed future activities include improved monitoring at caves with maternity colonies.

You can help!  Report sick and dead bats, decontaminate before visiting a cave External Website, and learn more about white-nose syndrome External Website!

For more information about bat disease and mortality response, contact Dan Wolf or Jan Landsberg.  For more information about maternity colony monitoring or other white-nose syndrome activities contact Melissa Tucker or Jeff Gore.

Coalition on a Mission: Teaming With Wildlife

Florida’s Teaming With Wildlife Coalition currently numbers 401 members, placing Florida sixth among the 56 US states and territories.  You can help Florida become number one by joining our efforts and helping us secure long-term dedicated funding for Florida’s wildlife conservation and related education and recreation: Sign up and learn more about Florida’s Teaming With Wildlife Coalition! External Website

You can help!  Join the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition!
Teaming With Wildlife Coalition Logo

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