FWC releases last group of plans to conserve 60 imperiled specie - WFLA News Channel 8

FWC releases last group of plans to conserve 60 imperiled species

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLA) -

The fourth and final group of draft action plans to conserve dozens of Florida fish and wildlife species is ready for public inspection and input, including plans to protect pillar coral and the Southeastern American kestrel.

Since February, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has shared plans to conserve 60 species listed now as state-threatened or species of special concern. While listing status may change for some species once a final Imperiled Species Management Plan is approved by the Commission, all 60 species will be managed by the FWC to maintain or grow their populations to preserve Florida's wildlife legacy for future generations.

The FWC, in this final group, is releasing draft action plans for 13 species. In addition to pillar coral and kestrel, there are plans for the limpkin, crystal darter, Black Creek crayfish, Santa Fe cave crayfish and seven reptiles that reside in the Florida Keys. The reptiles are the Key ringneck snake, rim rock crowned snake, Florida Keys mole skink, as well as lower Keys populations of Florida brown snake, Peninsula ribbon snake, red rat snake and striped mud turtle.

The public is invited to go to MyFWC.com/Imperiled to read and comment on the plans for these 13 species, with the last day for public comment being June 21.

The FWC will incorporate public feedback as it revises the 49 action plans covering the 60 species. Plans will identify specific threats, challenges and actions. The next step will be identifying Integrated Conservation Strategies that address common actions benefiting multiple species in areas such as:

  • Habitat conservation and management;
  • Research and monitoring;
  • Incentives and influencing;
  • Education and outreach;
  • Law and policy;
  • Climate change.

"The FWC is conserving species such as the Florida black bear, bald eagle and gopher tortoise by using management plans that address a single species. With the challenge of conserving 60 additional species, the FWC is strategically marshaling its resources in ways that address the species' common threats and needs," said Claire Sunquist Blunden, the FWC's stakeholder coordinator for the Imperiled Species Management Plan. "Once draft species action plans are revised to incorporate public input, the FWC's work in the coming year will focus on developing conservation strategies that will benefit multiple species."

Ultimately, the outcome will be an Imperiled Species Management Plan that the FWC will use as a roadmap to work with the public and partners to ensure all 60 species are conserved. The final Imperiled Species Management Plan is scheduled for approval by the Commission in 2015.

Pillar coral is rare in Florida waters, where it ranges from Palm Beach County to the Dry Tortugas. Threats to pillar coral described in the draft action plan include changes in acidity and temperature of ocean water, damage from human activity such as boats and anchoring, and a continuing decline of mature individuals of the species. Pillar coral is being recommended for listing as a threatened species.

Installing additional mooring buoys, so boats do not need to drop anchor near reefs, is one of the suggested conservation actions to protect pillar coral, along with additional research to assess pillar coral population, genetic diversity and reproductive potential. Restoration efforts may include rearing of juvenile pillar coral in nurseries and enhancing reefs with species such as long-spined urchins that benefit overall reef habitat.

The Southeastern American kestrel, the smallest falcon in North America, is also being recommended for listing as a threatened species. Once found commonly through seven southeastern states, this subspecies now lives primarily in Florida. The kestrel is dependent on using the nesting cavities of other birds such as woodpeckers, but in the absence of naturally created cavities, manmade nesting boxes are acceptable to this bird of prey.

More than 160 nesting boxes for kestrels in Levy and Marion counties have been maintained during the past two decades by biologists from the FWC, University of Florida and University of Nevada-Reno. In 2009, the FWC initiated the Southeastern American Kestrel Partnership, which promotes nest box monitoring programs throughout peninsular Florida.

Future conservation of kestrels will depend on the cooperation of many partners beyond the FWC, including private landowners willing to manage their lands to provide wildlife habitat. Almost any landowner can help by building and putting up nest boxes for Southeastern American kestrels. The most important feature of the nest box is a 3-inch-diameter entrance hole. Go to MyFWC.com/Research, click on "Wildlife" and then on "Southeastern American Kestrel" for information on building a kestrel nest box.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Man struck, killed on US 41 in Tampa

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:08:23 GMT
    The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. The fatal crash is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
    A 43-year-old Gibsonton man was struck and killed Friday night while walking along US 41 in Tampa.James Warfle was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10:30 pm.
  • Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Missing New Port Richey couple rescued from Gulf

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:39:40 GMT
    The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.The Coast Guard towed the couple's disabled sailboat back to land early Saturday.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
    A Bay area couple that failed to return from a boating excursion in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued early Saturday approximately 10 miles northwest of Anclote Key.A friend of Bogdan and Elizabeth Makowski contacted the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday after not hearing from the couple for several days.
  • Convicted felon charged with murder in Brooksville mass shooting

    Convicted felon charged with murder in Brooksville mass shooting

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:20 AM EDT2014-08-30 12:20:02 GMT
    Mason III, 42, has an arrest record that goes back more than 20 years. Mason III, 42, has an arrest record that goes back more than 20 years.
    A career criminal with an arrest record that goes back more than two decades is facing three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with a mass shooting that occurred Friday night in Brooksville.As George June Mason III attempted to flee the crime scene just as law enforcement arrived he was struck by a pick-up truck.
    A career criminal with an arrest record that goes back more than two decades is facing three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with a mass shooting that occurred Friday night in Brooksville.As George June Mason III attempted to flee the crime scene just as law enforcement arrived he was struck by a pick-up truck.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.