Threatened and Endangered Species: Agreement Aims to Improve Cooperative Conservation
Service and Florida FWC jointly respond to Tampa Bay Times Editorial
This is in response to a March 31 editorial “Deck stacked for developers.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took an important step last year to streamline and simplify a process to protect threatened and endangered species.
The amendment to our long-standing cooperative agreement — the first of its kind — represents a cooperative, load-sharing arrangement that consolidates two permitting processes into one, serves our citizens more efficiently and enhances our conservation work to protect imperiled species.
All existing Endangered Species Act requirements remain in place. It represents our strong partnership and the belief that the agreement will allow both agencies to concentrate our resources on what matters most: conserving Florida’s unique fish and wildlife for the continuing benefit of Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys.
Here’s how the cooperative agreement works: The commission’s biologists, working with the service, will produce permitting guidelines, or plans, for any species it wishes to include under the agreement. The plans will outline the condition of the species and prescribe ground rules for the commission’s issuance of permits authorizing direct or incidental take of the species...
Go here to read entire response.
Link to Column as it appeared in the April 12, 2013, online edition of Tampa Bay Times
Threatened and Endangered Species: Draft Revised MMPA Reports
2012 Draft Revised Florida and Antillean Manatee
Stock Assessments Available for Review and Comment
Manatee swims near Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Photo: Keith Ramos, USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has developed draft revised marine mammal stock assessment reports (SAR) for the two West Indian manatee sub-species: the Antillean manatees in Puerto Rico and the Florida manatee.
The formal Notice of Availability published on Wednesday, March 28, 2013, in the Federal Register. A public review and comment period is now open for 90-days. Comments and supporting information must be received on or before June 26, 2013.
Comments and supporting information must be submitted using one of the following methods:
- Eletronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0081; or
- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0081; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Please indicate to which revised stock assessment report(s)—the Antillean manatee or Florida manatee—your comments apply. We will not accept email, faxes or submissions sent to an address other than as outlined above. All comments will post on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0081.
Notice of Availability - PDF ver. - 220KB
Draft Florida manatee SAR - PDF - 164KB
Draft Antillean manatee SAR (Puerto Rico)
Threatened and Endangered Species: Critical Habitat proposed in six Southeast US states
Service Identifies Coastal Beach Habitat Important for the Recovery
of Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Nesting loggerhead sea turtle
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has begun the process of identifying coastal beach habitat important for the recovery of the threatened Northwest Atlantic Ocean population of loggerhead sea turtles, as directed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency has preliminarily identified portions of island and mainland coastal beaches in six states to propose as critical habitat, and is seeking public comment on the proposed rule.
The proposed critical habitat areas include 90 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The proposed areas incorporate about 740 beach shoreline miles and account for approximately 84 percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within these six states.
The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2013. The Service invites citizens and organizations to provide comments and supporting data on the proposal on or before May 24, 2013 via www.regulations.gov under Docket # FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103.
Federal Register Notice (text) - PDF version - 9.44MB
UTM Coordinates for nesting beachs included in the proposed critical habitat notice - PDF - 212KB
Questions and Answers
Threatened and Endangered Species: Update Permit Conditions
Service posts updated permit conditions for captive sea turtles
Hawksbill sea turtle
Individuals and institutions possessing a Service permit to hold captive sea turtles must meet new permit conditions.
The updated Standard Permit Conditions encompass the transport, rehabilitation, and disposition of sea turtles.
Details for the new conditions can be found on the Landowner/Consultant Tools and Sea Turtle information pages.
Frequently Asked Questions on Sea Turtle Permits
Threatened and Endangered Species: Record number of Florida manatees impacted
Red tide bloom affecting manatees along southwest Florida coast
Female manatee and calf.
A red-tide event in southwest Florida has claimed 174 manatees so far this year. Although results are preliminary, this is the highest number of red-tide-related deaths in a single calendar year on record.
State and federal scientists are monitoring and responding to manatees affected by the ongoing red tide bloom along the southwest Florida coast.
To help with these efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) ask the public to be on the lookout for manatees affected by red tide. Signs that a manatee is affected by red tide include a lack of coordination and stability in the water, muscle twitches or seizures and difficulty lifting its head to breathe.
With help from citizens in the area, the FWC and partners have rescued 12 manatees suffering from the effects of red tide so far this year. The public is asked to report manatees showing the effects of red tide, and any other distressed or dead manatees, to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
For manatee information
Threatened and Endangered Species: Achieving Recovery and Preventing Extinction
Service Proposes Upgrading Status of U.S. Breeding Population of Wood Storks
December 18, 2012
[Updated 01/03/2013 with corrected Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2012-0020]
Adult wood stork and chicks.
Wood storks in the Southeastern United States no longer face danger of extinction.
That is according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which proposes to upgrade the status of the U. S. breeding population of wood storks from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal follows a comprehensive review, conducted by Service biologists, of the best available scientific and commercial information about the species’ status.
When the Service originally listed the Southeastern U.S. portion of the population in 1984, the wood stork’s range included Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama and breeding was primarily in central and south Florida. Historically the Florida Everglades and the Big Cypress National Preserve once supported large breeding colonies. Today its range includes portions of North Carolina and Mississippi with significant nesting in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Biologists believe man-made changes in the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve ecosystems contributed to the birds expanding their search for suitable breeding habitat.
To ensure its final decision reflects the best available information, the Service is soliciting comments from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Tribal governments, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested party. The proposal published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2012. Public comment and information period closed on February 25, 2013. Comments and information submitted are available at www.regulation.gov and search for Docket # FWS-R4-ES-2012-0020.
Frequently Asked Questions
Service makes updated Skink Guidance Available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revised the conservation guidelines and survey protocol for the threatened sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) and blue-tailed mole skink (Eumeces egregius lividus). The updated information is available via the link below and on our Consultant/Landowner Tools reference page.
Eastern Indgio Snake
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's North Florida Ecological Services Office (NFESO) updated its Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) protocols. The updated survey protocols provide consultants and landowners a project planning tool to improve the Service's review of permit applications and proposed land clearing activities for potential effects on the federally-threatened eastern indigo snake. The tool is applicable to the NFESFO geographic area of responsibility, which includes the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, and Volusia.
Click here for to review the new information