FWC to hold public meetings to get input on bear plan
Monday, August 16, 2010
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-732-1225
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) wants public and local government input on a draft
plan that will ensure a sustainable and socially acceptable Florida
black bear population throughout the state.
The FWC will hold public meetings to gather input
on the plan in several locations around the state. The first
meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. in Apalachicola City
Hall. Other meeting dates will be announced as arrangements are
"The plan proposes a framework to manage bears at
the local level," said Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management
coordinator. "This includes conserving appropriate amounts of bear
habitat, stabilizing the level of complaints about bears, and
securing adequate funding to implement the plan.
FWC staff drafted the Bear Management Plan with
assistance from a technical advisory group that included
representatives from environmental, hunting and government
The Florida black bear is a state-threatened
species whose populations are expanding in some areas while still
quite restricted in others. Because of this variability, the
plan proposes to create several Bear Management Units, which will
consider the specific challenges and characteristics of the
different geographical locations.
The plan sets up broad objectives under which each
Bear Management Unit would operate. Within those units, local
stakeholder groups will work with the FWC to set management
objectives and standards for resolving human-bear conflicts. If the
plan is accepted, the next stage would be to seek out stakeholders
to participate in advisory groups within each Bear Management Unit.
At the meetings, the FWC will give a brief presentation outlining
the plan objectives and answer questions from attendees. Anyone
interested in making statements about the plan at the meeting will
be able to do so verbally or through written comment cards.
"We encourage the public and local governments to
help us improve this draft and develop the final plan," Telesco
said. "Feedback is essential to make this plan effective."
The draft plan is available online for public
review and comment through Oct. 1. To see the draft plan, or more
information on Florida black bears, go to MyFWC.com/Bear.