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Florida Fish and Wildlife to employ ‘smart thinking’ with endangered species

By Staff | Dec 26, 2012

Forty endangered Florida species will hopefully benefit from a new conservation model discussed earlier this month by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Apalachicola.

Sixteen of the endangered species are birds, including such local favorites as: American oystercatcher, snowy plover, tri-colored heron, limpkin, osprey, roseate spoonbill, sandhill crane, burrowing owl, black skimmer and scrub jay.

The other five categories include: fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and mammals.

The Imperiled Species Management Plan will include habitat conservation, wildlife management, incentives and consideration of economic, ecological and social impacts.

“This approach is smart thinking” said FWC Chairman Kenneth Wright.

The FWC usually develops management plans for individual species such as the bald eagle, Florida black bear, gopher tortoise and manatee. The Imperiled Species Management Plan would develop integrated strategies to aid multiple species, for example, those sharing a seaside marsh or upland scrub habitat.

Input from stakeholders and the public will be sought as the Imperiled Species Management Plan draft is rolled out in 2013.

“By identifying both the common elements and specific actions needed to promote survival of 60 species, Florida can achieve broad long-term conservation success for wildlife such as the little blue heron, Eastern chipmunk and Florida sandhill crane,” said Laura Barrett, FWC Imperiled Species Management Plan coordinator in a press release.

The FWC adopted a new conservation model in September 2010 to evaluate the status of species listed as state-threatened or of special concern. The Biological Status Review for each species is independently reviewed by outside scientists and the public with recommendation made on whether to:

n List it as threatened;

n Have it remain a species of special concern until more data is gathered; or

n Remove it from the list of state-threatened species.