SEBASTIAN – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) completed the final step in reevaluating five Species of Special Concern, one of six key objectives outlined in Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. As a result, several fish and wildlife species no longer warrant listing.
Based on a thorough scientific review, the FWC determined the harlequin darter, Homosassa shrew, southern fox squirrel, and the Monroe County osprey population no longer warrant listing as Species of Special Concern.
Through the process, FWC biologists and partners agreed that Florida has three distinct species of alligator snapping turtles. Two of these species do not warrant listing. However, the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle will now be listed as State Threatened.
The new listing status for these species took effect Dec. 23, 2018.
These changes, along with current protections for the reclassified species, are reflected in Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. Species no longer classified as Species of Special Concern remain protected from take and possession under Florida’s General Prohibitions and Requirements. More information on protections for these species can be found in the Species Action Plan Summaries of Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. Voluntary conservation measures and activities that may require the need for a permit are outlined in Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for species included in the Imperiled Species Management Plan, including those recently reclassified.
“The FWC is committed to ensuring the long-term stability of Florida’s native wildlife,” said Dr. Brad Gruver, head of the FWC’s Species Conservation Planning Section. “Ongoing conservation efforts for species recently removed from Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species List will ensure populations remain healthy.”
The Species Guidelines are designed to be a tool for landowners, consultants, conservation partners and other interested parties to promote species-specific conservation.
The Guidelines offer options for avoidance, minimization and mitigation of take for listed species. For species removed from the list, Guidelines outline recommended conservation practices that will maintain the status of the species.
They provide species-specific information on key issues relevant to real-world conservation, including:
- Essential behavioral patterns.
- Survey methods.
- Recommended conservation practices.
- Exemptions or authorizations for take.
- Coordination with other regulatory programs.
- Permitting options.
For an overview of how Florida conserves imperiled species, visit MyFWC.com/Imperiled.