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 roseate spoonbill is one of 50 imperiled species to earn extra FWC protection.
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.
40 threatened species recommendations
AMPHIBIANS (2): Florida bog frog and Georgia blind salamander,
BIRDS (16): American oystercatcher, Black skimmer, Burrowing owl, Florida sandhill crane, Least tern, Little blue heron, Marian's marsh wren, Reddish egret, Roseate spoonbill, Scott's seaside sparrow, Snowy plover, Southeastern American kestrel, Tricolored heron, Wakulla seaside sparrow, White-crowned pigeon and Worthington's marsh wren.
FISH (8): Atlantic sturgeon, Blackmouth shiner, Bluenose shiner, Crystal darter, Key silverside, Saltmarsh topminnow, Santa Fe cave crayfish and Southern tessellated darter,
INVERTEBRATES (2): Black Creek crayfish and Pillar coral.
MAMMALS (5): Big Cypress fox squirrel, Everglades mink, Florida mastiff bat, Sanibel Island rice rat and Sherman's short-tailed shrew,
REPTILES (7): Barbour's map turtle , Florida brown snake, Florida Keys mole skink, Florida pine snake, Key ringneck snake, Rim rock crowned snake and Short-tailed snake.
SOURCE: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
16 species recommended recovered
Alligator, snapping turtle, Brown pelican, Florida black bear, Florida mouse, Florida tree snail, Gopher frog, Lake Eustis pupfish, Limpkin, Peninsula ribbon snake, Pine Barrens treefrog, Red rat snake, Rivulus, Snowy egret, Striped mud turtle, Suwannee cooter and White ibis.
SOURCE: Florida Fish and Wildlife
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:
- List it as threatened;
- Have it remain a species of special concern until more data is gathered; or
- Remove it from the list of state-threatened species.