FWC requests public input on venomous reptile rules

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to know the attitude of the public regarding the possession and management of venomous reptiles by zoos, as well as individual residents in their homes. FWC Captive Wildlife staff was directed by the Commission in November 2015 to evaluate existing regulations and develop a range of regulatory options for the Commission’s consideration. In order to effectively receive information and direction from the public, the agency has developed an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/VR-Rule, and will be accepting survey responses and recommendations through July 27, 2016.

Funds Restore Longleaf Pine, Endangered Species Habitat in Florida

Gainesville, Fla., Jan. 14, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 115 high-impact projects across all 50 states, including Florida, will receive more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program, administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service  

The program’s public-private partnership enables companies, communities and other non-government entities to further conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife on a regional scale. Partners provide matching funding, with the total budget to be spent in five years. 

TWS Action Alert: Support the Duck Stamp Bill

The House passed a bill (H.R.5069) in November that would increase the price of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps-better known as Ducks Stamps-from $15 to $25. Duck Stamps are permits required to hunt waterfowl in the United States, and the revenue collected from their sale goes straight to wetland conservation through land purchases and easements. Many National Wildlife Refuges were funded in part or in full by Duck Stamp revenue.

Be a Hero! Help rescue manatees, sea turtles by getting FWC decals

“Be a Hero!” by getting decals that help with the research, rescue, rehabilitation and management of Florida’s endangered manatees and sea turtles.

People can receive a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee or sea turtle decal, and show their support for saving these iconic Florida species, with a donation of $5.

Rescues of manatees and sea turtles that are injured, ill or otherwise in distress are one of the many FWC conservation activities supported by decal donations.

The new editions of the decals are originally designed works of art, and available now at local tax collectors’ offices across the state and at MyFWC.com.

Help the FWC locate rare upland birds

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) requests the public’s help in locating three species of rare birds during their breeding seasons. The southeastern American kestrel, the burrowing owl and the painted bunting are rare and declining species that are often overlooked by traditional monitoring programs such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Florida's water set to become big issue of 2015

Florida's water set to become big issue of 2015

Audubon Florida has a detailed synopsis of the 2014 Florida legislative session with regards to wildlife and conservation issues. 

Some highlights:

"From the beginning of session and all throughout, we heard that next year will be the year for water policy issues as the incoming leadership prefers to address those important topics at the 2015 Session. "

"The 2014 Legislative Session brought out many new supporters as Senators and Representatives alike began to understand the need to address some of the state’s critical water quality problems.

FWC recognizes wildlife scientist with Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award

Meeting today at the Florida Public Safety Institute near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognized wildlife scientist Joan Berish with the 2013 Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award.

Berish, who has worked for the FWC more than 33 years and lives in Gainesville, has been at the forefront of work involving conserving and managing gopher tortoises, a listed species in Florida. Berish’s work has benefited not only gopher tortoises but also a host of other species that live in and are dependent on active gopher tortoise burrows to survive.

TWS Action Alert: Support Wildlife Funding!

In March, the President released his request for FY 2015 federal budget levels. Over the next several weeks, Congress will consider this request and develop spending bills to fund the government in FY 2015.
The majority of wildlife and natural resources conservation programs received stable or increased funding in the President's budget, with increases to the overall budgets of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey. However, a few critical programs did not. For example, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program (SWG) would see a 15% decrease in funding from the FY14 level of $58.7 million to only $50 million under the President's budget. This key program has, for ten years, provided states and tribes the resources to support and implement wildlife conservation programs to keep non-game species off of the endangered species list.

State of the Everglades Report Now Available


Audubon continues to define Everglades success as bringing back the birds and wildlife that were so naturally abundant in the River of Grass. These species serve as an indicator for all of the other benefits to the natural environment, aquifer recharge, and economic prosperity that restoration can also produce.

The recent operationalizing of the Tamiami Trail bridge and the C-111 Spreader Canal project bring us closer to mimicking the natural water flow patterns that have been altered by human infrastructure.

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day at UF - April 16th!

The University of Florida's Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, in collaboration with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be hosting its first ever "Pet Amnesty Day" (http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/amnesty-day-events/ )on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Unwanted exotic pets (e.g., snakes, turtles, birds, fish, mammals, etc.-no dogs or cats) may be surrendered with no questions asked. Surrendered pets will be placed in adoptive homes with individuals approved by the FWC. "Pet Amnesty Days" were created by FWC in an attempt to "minimize the effects exotics have on Florida's native fish, wildlife and marine species." Non-native species can have negative impacts on native species, and can cause economic damage and threaten human health.  Surrender exotic pets at the Straughn Center (2142 Shealy Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611; across the street from the UF Vet School Small Animal Hospital). There are no penalties for surrendering unlicensed or illegal exotic pets. This event is free and open to the public-parking restrictions at the Straughn Center (http://straughn.ifas.ufl.edu/contact.shtml#getting ) will be lifted for the day.  Please join us in our efforts in stopping the release of non-native pets!

We need more people to apply to adopt the animals turned in during the event! If you are interested in being a certified adopter please go to this FWC website (http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/nonnative-pet-adopter/ ) and complete the online form.

In conjunction with the surrender and adoption of animals at UF's Straughn Center, we are also conducting an education and outreach event at the Reitz Union the same day. See live exotic animals up close at the Reitz Union colonnade, and talk to experts about being a responsible pet owner.

Take the world-renowned UF/IFAS REDDy Live training


One showing only for the Florida TWS Spring Conference, Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 5:15-5:45

Presented by Cheryl Millett, The Nature Conservancy

Quick, you’re out in the field and you see a snake or a lizard that you KNOW is not quite right and someone with you turns to you and says, “WHAT was THAT??!!” You’re a wildlife biologist, so you should know, right? But you don’t… well, we can help.

Or someone calls you up and says, “There’s a 4-foot long lizard outside my door- what do I do?” You’re a wildlife biologist, so you should know, right? But you don’t… well, we can help.

Take the world-renowned UF/IFAS REDDy Live training and learn how to identify and respond to exotic reptiles.. and we’ll throw in a couple of non-reptiles for free. Try it. It’s free, will sharpen your skills, and if you pass the final quiz, you’ll earn a certificate testifying you did. And when that critter that doesn’t belong shows up, you’ll know what to do. You’ll be part of the Early Detection Rapid Response that keeps them from establishing and becoming listed as a cause for the decline of the next imperiled species.

Upcoming GIS Workshops at Tall Timbers Research Station

Tall Timbers Research Station is hosting 2 GIS workshops this Spring/Summer.


22 – 26 April 2013 – Applied Geospatial Solutions in Natural Resources

20 – 24 May 2013   – Advanced GIS Workshop focusing on Python scripting and GIS Programming


Please visit our website for more information and for an application form.  Note: there is a maximum number of workshop participants for each workshop so reserve your spot soon! A limited amount of on-site lodging will also be available!!


Instructors:                 Theron M. Terhune, PhD, GISp & Joe Noble, GIS Specialist

Course Website:         http://www.gis.ttrs.org/GISHome.html

Funding opportunity from the Gopher Tortoise Council

The J. Larry Landers Student Research Award
is a Gopher Tortoise Council competitive grant program for undergraduate
and graduate college students. Proposals can address research concerning
gopher tortoise biology or any other relevant aspect of upland habitat
conservation and management. The amount of the award is variable, but has
averaged $1,000.00 over the last few years.

The proposal should be limited to four pages in length and should include a
description of the project and a concise budget.  A brief resume of the
student also needs to be provided.

This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to
access funding for their projects.  In addition, students are expected to
present their research at the Annual Gopher Tortoise Council meeting or
contribute to an edition of "The Burrow", GTC's newsletter.

The deadline for grant proposals each year is the 15th of September.

Please send submissions to:

Bob Herrington Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Georgia Southwestern State University
Americus, GA, 31709

Call for Presentations or Posters: 25th Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference


The purpose of the 25th Fire Ecology Conference is to bring together the fire management and research community to focus on fire ecology and management issues in northern coastal and interior climates.


The objective of the 25th Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference is to present and publish current scientific research on topics that will likely influence the future of prescribed fire. Despite critical dependence of natural ecosystems and wildfire control efforts on the use of prescribed fire, many new challenges to its continued use have developed. These include the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, stricter air quality regulations, and concerns about the effects of fire on carbon sequestration and mercury cycling. Planning for the future of prescribed fire will require science-based information on which to build sound policy that provides for the public good, including protection from wildfire, conservation of natural areas, and provision of a safe and healthy environment.

Topics to be addressed may include:

•Fire Regimes

•Fire History

•Ecology and Management of the Pine Barrens

•Ecosystem function and restoration

•Fuels management, loading and particulate emissions

•Public awareness and education

•Smoke management and modeling

•Burning in the wildland-urban interface

•Tradeoffs between prescribed fire and wildfire

•Fire management policy

•Carbon sequestration

•Exotics and Invasives

Submit abstracts to fireabstract@ttrs.org

(instructions:  www.talltimbers.org/FEconference)

Registration Opens January 31, 2013. Visit the conference web site for registration deadline and conference fees: http://www.talltimbers.org/FEconference/register.htm.

On your mark, get set, NISAW!

Tomorrow starts Florida’s unofficial National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). While the folks in DC have the dates from March 4-9, we in Florida decided we needed at least 4 extra days to celebrate.


Events in Florida range from workdays to potato pulls, pet amnesty day to steering committee meetings. All our activities serve to raise awareness of the threat of invasive species and serve to build camaraderie and cooperative efforts in our partnerships.


Here is a PDF calendar that shows events for the following 12 Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs):

1.       Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance CISMA

2.       Central Florida CISMA

3.       East Central Florida CISMA

4.       Everglades CISMA

5.       First Coast Invasive Working Group

6.       Heartland CISMA

7.       Lake County CISMA

8.       Osceola County Cooperative Weed Management Area

9.       Six Rivers CISMA

10.   Suncoast CISMA

11.   Southwest Florida CISMA

12.   Treasure Coast CISMA


Here is an awesome one page handout on “What you can do” during NISAW that was created by Suncoast CISMA. Feel free to steal the idea and spread it wide and far – great message sent along with the flyer:

“National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is once again upon us! We invite you to make an effort to participate in some way this week. Whether you surf the web to learn a new plant, make a commitment to participate in an upcoming workday, or simply talk to your neighbor, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. If you need ideas on what you can do to participate, see the attachment. It is full of ideas. Better yet, print the flyer and post it somewhere others will see it and that can be your contribution to NISAW!”

The latest issue of Florida Wildlife is now available online

The latest issue of Florida Wildlife is now available online at FloridaWildlifeMagazine.com.

Here’s some of what you’ll find between the “digital covers” of this issue… 

  • 2013 Python Challenge;
  • New signs for Great Fla. Birding & Wildlife Trail;
  • Mild winter temps lead to fewer manatee deaths;
  • the “Rule of Halves” in managing for turkeys;
  • Lake Istokpoga is a lunker locker;
  • Geocaching;
  • Ferocious ant lions;
  • and much more. 

Also, catch up on news about the FWC and Florida’s fish and wildlife in the “News” section of the magazine’s website.

Apply Today for the Leadership Institute

The Wildlife Society

The Wildlife Society is currently accepting applications for its Leadership Institute. 

The Institute facilitates development of new leaders within TWS and the wildlife profession. We’ll recruit 10-15 promising early-career professionals for a series of intensive activities and mentoring relationships. The focus will be on exposing participants to the inner workings of TWS and increasing the number of active leaders in TWS and the wildlife profession.
Are you or do you know an early-career professional,
two to three years out of either undergraduate or graduate school,
currently working full-time in a wildlife professional position,
and with demonstrated evidence of leadership potential?
Apply today or forward this email to a person who’d make a great fit.

A small number of slots may also be available for more recent graduates who have shown strong evidence of their leadership potential or for those who are working while concurrently pursuing a graduate degree.
From May to October, participants will engage in a series of activities to develop and expand their leadership skills. Institute members will also attend the TWS Annual Conference in Milwaukee (October 4-9, 2013) and participate in various activities, including mentoring and leadership workshop sessions. The Institute is free, and participants will receive free registration and a travel grant for the conference. 
All applicants must be members of TWS and a Chapter or Section of TWS. The selection committee will be seeking to create a diverse group, with participants of varying gender, ethnic, and regional diversity.
Please contact Laura Bies, Director of Government Affairs at laura@wildlife.org with any questions.