Conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and their habitats, in cooperation with partners, for the continuing benefit of the American people, from the Lake Wales Ridge to the Florida Keys.
The Ecological Services Division of the USFWS works to protect and restore healthy populations of fish and wildlife and the environments on which they depend. To accomplish this, the South Florida Ecological Services Field Office has these programs: Everglades Restoration, Coastal Ecology, Contaminants, Endangered Species, Habitat Conservation, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife.
News and Features
Webinar/Conference Call on Draft Coral Reef Commons Habitat Conservation Plan Set for April 27, 2017
April 17, 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting a conference call and associated webinar to provide information and another avenue for public comments on the Coral Reef Commons draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), Environmental Assessment (EA) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application. The agenda for the webinar will include presentations about the HCP/ITP/EA process and an overview of the Coral Reef Commons HCP. At the end of the presentations, particpants will be allowed two minutes each for comments that will be recorded and transcribed. The Service will consider all comments received during the webinar as part of the public comment period.
Coral Reef Commons Draft Habitat Conservation Plan Available for Public Review and Comment
March 23, 2017
VERO BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on a developer’s plan to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to eight threatened, endangered, and at-risk species in Miami-Dade County. The plan is part of a process to clear the way for construction to begin on a 137-acre residential and commercial project in south Miami.
Public comments will be considered on the draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and associated Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Coral Reef Commons development over the next 60 days. A final decision to issue incidental take permit (ITP) to the applicants will follow. Click Here to Read More
Subject Taken Into Custody in “Youtube” Florida Panther Kitten Case
March 17, 2017
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- On Wednesday, March 16, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Service special agents and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers served two state search warrants in Miami.
The warrants were served at residences of Javier Torres at 14205 SW 154th Street and Alfredo Lopez De Queralta at 1929 NW 25th Avenue. These individuals are suspected of numerous wildlife violations, including the take (the legal definition of “take” in both federal and state statutes includes activities which interferes with breeding, feeding or sheltering) of Florida panthers, a federally listed endangered species. Click Here to Read More
Endangered Florida Panther Finds New Home at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
February 13, 2017
VERO BEACH, Fla. (February 13, 2017) -- Federal and state wildlife officials found permanent safe haven for a two-year-old Florida panther at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The endangered panther is no longer considered viable for release to the wild due to its behavior: He was captured and removed twice from nearby residential areas because he was preying upon pets--putting himself, the public and their pets at risk.
Officials with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) first captured the panther on April 12, 2016, following several unexpected direct encounters between the panther and residents at the Farm Workers Village neighborhood, near Immokalee in Collier County where pets and feral cats in the neighborhood had frequently been preyed upon by the panther. Click Here to Read More
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to List Miami Tiger Beetle as Endangered
October 4, 2016
VERO BEACH, Florida – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is listing the Miami tiger beetle as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), meaning the beetle is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range now or in the foreseeable future.
The listing of the Miami tiger beetle as endangered becomes effective on November 4, 2016, 30 days after its publication on October 5, 2016, in the Federal Register.
The Miami tiger beetle was considered extinct until 2007 when a small population was discovered near Zoo Miami. Now the distinctive beetle with a shiny dark green dorsal surface is only known to survive in two separate, very small populations in Miami’s disappearing pine rocklands---one in the Richmond Pine Rocklands and another discovered in 2015 about three miles from there and separated by urban development. These rare pine rocklands are home to six plant and animal species already protected under the ESA. Click Here to Read More
Additional related links:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Listing Four South Florida Plants as Threatened or Endangered
September 28, 2016
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Four plants only found in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties are being listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A shrub, Big Pine partridge pea, and two herbs, wedge spurge and sand flax, are being given endangered status, meaning these plants are in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
The fourth plant, a shrub called Blodgett’s silverbush is being given threatened status, meaning the silverbush is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Click Here to Read More
Corps and Service Agree On Actions for Conserving Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and Restoring Balance to Everglades Ecosystem Restoration efforts already underway must happen faster to protect water, wildlife habitat and other natural resources
July 22, 2016
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) are taking additional steps under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to restore balance to the Florida Everglades ecosystem and help reverse decades-long population declines of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow.
These steps are outlined in a new biological opinion on the Corps’ Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP), which was implemented in 2012 to guide improved management of water flows in the Everglades. The new biological opinion will guide the Corps and partners in the Everglades restoration effort in better managing water in ways that improve habitat essential to the Cape Sable seaside sparrow.
First Captive-Bred Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Chicks Hatched Among North America’s Most Endangered Birds
May 11, 2016
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Conservation history was made May 9 when the first captive-bred Florida grasshopper sparrow chicks hatched at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) in Loxahatchee, Fla.--a major breakthrough for one of North America’s most endangered birds.
“This bird is teetering on the brink of extinction. There are probably less than 150 left. We’re working with our partners--including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)--to save it. This is a huge milestone in those ongoing efforts,” said Larry Williams, State Ecological Services Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.Click Here to Read More
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for Two South Florida Cacti --Also Releases Economic Analysis--
January 21, 2016
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating critical habitat for two endangered cacti—the Florida semaphore cactus and aboriginal prickly-apple—under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), totaling 7,855 acres in several Florida counties.
The Service is designating critical habitat in four areas where the Florida semaphore cactus is found, comprising approximately 4,411 acres in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Approximately 3,444 acres will be designated as critical habitat in 11 areas for the aboriginal prickly-apple in Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Lee Counties.Click Here to Read More
Public Hearing Set for January 13 on Proposal to List Miami Tiger Beetle as Endangered Species
January 7, 2016
VERO BEACH, Florida – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on its proposal to list the Miami tiger beetle as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A hearing for members of the general public to comment on that proposal in person is set for Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
The hearing will run from 6 p.m. to approximately 9 p.m. at Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus, Building 6000, Room 6120, 11011 SW 104th Street in Miami. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for an informal informational session that will last until to 6 p.m. During the hearing, those wishing to comment will have a limited amount of time to speak. The Service is seeking more information about the Miami tiger beetle related to its biology, distribution, and threats including development and collection. (A campus map is attached, Building 6000 where the hearing will take place is circled. Room 6120 is actually the building's auditorium). This information will be used by the Service to help decide if this species should be listed under the ESA. Click Here to Read More
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Miami Tiger Beetle as Endangered
December 18, 2015
VERO BEACH, Florida – The Miami tiger beetle was considered extinct until 2007, when a small population was discovered near Zoo Miami. Now the distinctive beetle with a shiny dark green back is only known to survive in two separate, very small populations in Miami’s disappearing pine rocklands—one in the Richmond Pine Rocklands and another discovered this year a few miles from there and separated by urban development.
Because of the Miami tiger beetle’s rarity and the threats its remaining pine rockland habitat faces from urban development pressures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on its proposal to list the Miami tiger beetle as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal is expected to publish Tuesday, December 22, in the Federal Register with a 60-day comment period that should end February 22, 2016, and a public hearing scheduled for January 13, 2016.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to List Florida Bristle Fern as Endangered
October 5, 2015
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The Florida bristle fern will be added to the list of endangered plants protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). An endangered plant is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Currently found only on state and county lands in Miami-Dade and Sumter counties, the Florida bristle fern is a small, mat-forming fern that resembles mosses and liverworts. Currently, there are only two known groupings of populations of this plant. In Miami-Dade County, the fern is found in limestone solution holes in rockland hammocks on the Miami Rock Ridge. In Sumter County, the fern lives on limestone boulders under thick forest cover in moderately moist hammocks. There are only six small populations of this subspecies—four in Miami-Dade County and two in Sumter County—covering a combined total area of only 155 square feet.
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Listing Four South Florida Plants as Threatened or Endangered
September 28, 2015
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Four plants only found in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties are being proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A shrub, Big Pine partridge pea, and two herbs, wedge spurge and sand flax, are being proposed for endangered status. Another shrub, Blodgett’s silverbush, is being proposed for threatened status.
“The populations of these four plants have declined about 80 percent over the past two decades,” said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Region Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Habitat loss and habitat modification are the primary threats these plants face.”
USFWS Statement of Support for FWC Florida Panther Management Strategy
September 23, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) fully supports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) revised position paper on Florida panther management.FWC and the Service have been unwavering partners in panther recovery, and that partnership will continue. In the view of the Service, the position paper aligns with and reiterates many of the high priority action items the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team is working on...
Click Here to Read More
Service Announces Critical Habitat Designations for Florida Brickell-Bush and Carter’s Small-Flowered Flax
August 14, 2015
VERO BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing critical habitat designations for two plants found only in South Florida: the Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax. Both were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on October 4, 2014. The critical habitat for both plants is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Both plants only are found on the Miami Rock Ridge in South Florida. The critical habitat designations for these two plants largely overlap, for a combined total of about 2,706 acres. The plants’ critical habitat designations include land in pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock Ridge, outside of Everglades National Park, in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Areas within the designations include occupied and unoccupied, but suitable, habitat within the plants’ historical ranges.
Improving Prospects for Florida's Panthers
The Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) population is steadily expanding in South Florida, after decades of effort to help the endangered wild cat rebound from just a couple dozen surviving individuals in the wild. With more panthers moving between islands of wilderness in search of food and territory, collisions between panthers and vehicles are on the rise.
$5,000 REWARD FOR INFO ABOUT FLORIDA PANTHER SHOT IN COLLIER COUNTY
April 29, 2015
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person/persons responsible for shooting a Florida panther.
The adult Florida panther was reported as road-killed at about 8:30 p.m. on March 22, 2015, by passing motorists. The reporting party found the dead panther lying on the edge of Immokalee Road in Collier County about one mile west of Camp Keais Road. FWC Officers responded to the scene and follow-up investigation revealed that the panther had actually died as a result of a gunshot wound, and that there was no evidence that it had been struck by a vehicle.
USFWS and FDOT Partnering In Effort to Decrease Florida Panther, Vehicle Collisions March 12, 2015