News Releases

FWC to present a new system for conserving Florida's threatened species

News Release

Friday, July 30, 2010

Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

Floridians value and love their precious and unique fish and wildlife, particularly those that are imperiled. As the state's wildlife managers, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) used the public's concern, in combination with science, to create a process that will lead to the FWC's desired future, where no Florida species ever goes extinct because of human action or inaction. The FWC engaged stakeholders in the revision of its imperiled species listing process and created a plan that will ensure Florida's fish and wildlife will be here for future generations to enjoy.

The FWC began the revision because of confusion over how imperiled species were listed. After two and a half years of public meetings and workshops with stakeholders, the process of listing endangered and threatened species in Florida has been streamlined, while continuing to protect these species in Florida. Commissioners will consider the final rules at their September meeting in Pensacola Beach.

"If approved, these rules will set a solid foundation for Florida's endangered and threatened species while still allowing modification of the process as we implement the plan," said Dr. Elsa Haubold, leader of the FWC imperiled species listing team. "The FWC is pleased that representatives from all interested stakeholder groups had a voice in creating the new process.  We addressed many stakeholder concerns in crafting this system.  We will continually review the process, making changes when necessary to address resource needs and concerns of the public while keeping science at the forefront of all decisions.

"We recognize and appreciate the fact that hunters and anglers are some of our strongest partners for conservation," Haubold said.  "While conserving threatened species, the new rules do not change traditional opportunities for sport and recreation in the state."

Under the new system, all state-listed species will remain on Florida's list and will be called "threatened."  Federally listed species will automatically go on the federally designated endangered and threatened species list. If the rules are approved, FWC biologists, partnering with independent biologists, will conduct scientific reviews of all species currently on the list.  Their findings will be provided to the Commission to determine if species should remain on the state threatened list. The next step will be a public process to create management plans that contain all the necessary strategies to ensure the status of threatened species in Florida improves.  Throughout the process, the FWC will consider and be responsive to public needs and concerns related to the proposed management as the plans are developed.

The proposed final rules will be posted at MyFWC.com on Monday, Aug. 2. As with all issues that come before the Commission, the public can make comment on the final rules at the meeting Sept. 1-3 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, 12 Via de Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach. The meetings start at 8:30 a.m. (CDT) each day.



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