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FWC Releases New Plan for Imperiled Species in Florida

Posted Thursday, November 8th, 2012
stock photo, ibis wading in water

Contact – Amelia Savage

On November 7, 2012, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff held a workshop to update stakeholders as to the management plan process for imperiled species.  Hopping Green & Sams worked with FWC in the drafting of new imperiled species rules that were approved by the FWC Commissioners in September 2010, and adopted into chapter 68A-27, Florida Administrative Code.  The FWC staff have been working on how to implement the new rules and how to develop management plans for the species that are currently listed and do not have management plans.

Florida Management Plan

FWC’s plan is to create one management plan with species-specific sections.  The plan will be created in three phases over the next three years before being presented to the Commissioners in the spring of 2015.  Rule language for all the affected species will be drafted in a separate process than the management plan, but will follow a parallel timeframe and will be presented to the Commissioners at the same time as the management plan.  The status of all species currently listed in Florida will remain the same until the management plan is adopted, as a management plan is required for any species to be either placed on, or removed from, the state list of imperiled species.

Phase 1 will be the creation of Species Action Plans.  These plans will include the biological status, measureable conservation objectives, conservation actions, and incentives.  They will also include the intent of permitting requirements and rule protections, but specific permitting and rule language will not be drafted at this stage.  The FWC staff groups are currently working on the Species Action Plans, which will be circulated in January-May 2013.

Phase 2 will be the drafting of Integrated Conservation Strategies.  This step will be focused on multi-species and will look at conservation actions and measures along common themes.  The FWC staff will consider both state and federally listed species during this stage.  Also, staff will begin drafting language for permitting guidelines and rule development.  This process is expected to occur in the summer of 2013 and be presented to stakeholders from November 2013 through February 2014.

Phase 3 will be the Imperiled Species Management Plan itself which will include everything in the Species Action Plans, plus recommended rules; permitting standards for take; any exempt activities; a revision schedule; and anticipated economic, ecological, and social impacts.  The plan will describe the overall approach to imperiled species management and include both individual and multi-species conservation actions and measures.  A draft is expected to be done in June 2014 with the plan finalized in December 2014.  Then, FWC staff will take the rule language and final management plan to the Commissioners in early 2015.

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