The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is starting to develop management plans for 60 species currently listed as threatened or species of special concern in Florida. The FWC seeks information on the conservation needs of these species and any economic or social factors that should be considered in managing these species in Florida.
The FWC approved a new system in September 2010 for conserving and managing threatened species in Florida. The new system calls for conducting biological status reviews on all existing species on the state’s threatened lists. The biological reviews are under way and in the process of being finalized. The new system also requires that management plans, tailored to the needs of the species, be created for each of the existing state-listed species. The information for the management plans will build on the data already received from the biological status reviews.
“When making conservation decisions for species, it is important that we understand social and economic impacts as well. With the help of the public and stakeholders, we can create the best conservation plans for Florida – plans that do not create unnecessary and unintended economic and social burdens,” said Dr. Elsa Haubold, leader of the FWC’s Species Conservation Planning Section. “A management plan is an important tool for providing guidance in how we manage a species, so we can remove it from the threatened species list or prevent it from getting back on the list, to ensure it will never face a high risk of extinction again.”
Staff plans to make recommendations to the Commission in June on whether the reviewed species should be on Florida’s threatened list or not. These recommendations will be based on the findings of the biological status reviews. Before a change in status is made, all reviewed species will have a management plan developed. The management plan will outline the conservation goal and objectives needed to improve or maintain the species, as well as determine actions required.
This step is just the first request for information from the public about what should be considered as the FWC initiates management planning with its stakeholders. The FWC will involve stakeholders throughout the entire management-planning process, which is expected to take two to three years for all 60 species.
“We cannot conserve wildlife or make decisions in a vacuum about how wildlife should be conserved,” Haubold said. “We value public input, which leads to a better understanding and better decisions for Florida about the impacts of conservation choices on wildlife, the economy and society.”
Information and data on any of the 60 species should be sent to: Management Plans, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 South Meridian St., Mail Station 2A, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 or e-mailed to Imperiled@MyFWC.com. Responses will be accepted until midnight Sunday, March 20.
If providing information on more than one species, clearly separate the sections of the response devoted to each species