Submitted by Claire Sunquist Blunden
Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2015, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is introducing species action plans and an imperiled species management plan for 60 species on Florida’s Threatened Species list. A State Wildlife Grant provides funding for additional staffing and other resources
that are being utilized for this five year project, which includes planning for the development and implementation of the imperiled species management plan. The FWC began this process by adopting a new conservation model in September 2010 to evaluate the status of species listed as state threatened or species of special concern. As part of the new conservation model, there were updates made to the rules for Florida’s endangered and threatened species, Chapter 68A-27, Florida Administrative Code, which were approved by the FWC Commission in September 2010. The rule is important for identifying and protecting Florida’s imperiled species. Within the rule one category of state listed species was created with clear criteria for evaluation of the risk of extinction.
The Commission-approved process first called for developing a Biological Status Review (BSR) for each species. After completing the biological status reviews, FWC teams and staff began management planning efforts. The new approach to management planning means that teams are focused on creating Species Action Plans that will be integrated into one final Imperiled Species Management Plan (ISMP), while considering and planning for how implementation across all 60 species will be conducted. The Imperiled Species Management Plan draws on three components.
- Species Action Plans: Evaluating the core threats and needs of each species, the forty-nine Species Action Plans prioritize conservation actions and provide rule and permitting intent. The Species Action Plans are expected to be completed by July 2013.
- Integrated Conservation Strategies: Designed to address multiple species and align current and future resources, the Integrated Conservation Strategies will address elements common across the Species Action Plans.
- Imperiled Species Management Plan: Integrating broad conservation strategies with specific actions for each wildlife species, the Imperiled Species Management Plan will identify the highest priority needs for individual and suites of species and will address recommendations for implementing both priority individual species conservation actions and priority integrated conservation strategies that will benefit multiple species.
The FWC is committed to keeping these 60 species healthy in our growing state of 19 million people. Just as important is the interest of the public in protecting the wildlife and wild places all of us enjoy and love. We invite individuals and stakeholder groups to be part of the process. We know we cannot accomplish all of the actions in the plans without help! We would like you to share your ideas on how to improve the draft species action plans and the draft imperiled species management plan so we can help these species remain at home in Florida.
Each draft Species Action Plan and the final Imperiled Species Management Plan will be released for public comment, revised to reflect FWC and public input on improving the draft plans, and then the Imperiled Species Management Plan will be submitted to the Commission for final approval. Visit http://www.myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/imperiled/ and follow FWC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for more information. You can also visit our SharePoint to comment and see more of the plans.