Florida Cattlemen's Association
CAPITOL CORRAL NOVEMBER 1993
"Attitudes, opinions and viewpoints expressed herein are those of the author and
may not be cited as an official position of the Association."
4) Although the state effectively denies the existence of
Item Four: Game Commission Seeks 4.65 populations of "focal" species on private lands for purposes of
Million Acres demonstrating "need" for additional habitat preservation, it
In a draft report entitled "CLOSING THE GAPS IN speaks out of the other side of its mouth when it utilizes the
FLORIDA'S WILDLIFE HABITAT CONSERVATION presence of those populations as an indicator of additional
SYSTEM", the GFC staff is recommending increased control habitat areas it claims should be preserved.
over 4.65 acres (in addition to the 7 million acres currently held It is easy to just dismiss the report as biased gobbledygook,
by government), all in the name of wildlife habitat preserva- but the great danger is that it will soon be out there "in the mists"
tion. The flavor of their report is perhaps demonstrated in the and will start showing up as supporting material for comprehen-
very first sentence in the foreword, which refers to pre-Euro- sive plan amendments and the like.
pean Florida as "one large nature preserve." If you want to learn more about this issue, be sure to attend
It would be a grievous error to consider this report as some the meetings of the Production Council and the Environmental
kind of an objective, scientific study. It is, in fact. a cleverly and Private Lands Management Committee at the upcoming
contrived methodology designed to support the forgone con- quarterly meeting in Searing. Mr. Brad Hartman, chief of the
clusion that additional habitat preservation is necessary. Thus. GFC Office of Environmental Services (which produced the
while the study is cleverly "methodological", it is anything but proposal) will be there to present it.
an objective assessment.
Here are some examples of fatal flaws in the study design.
1) The GFC "goal" is to assure creation/protection of a
minimum of ten breeding populations of the "focal" species in Item Five: FCA Challenges Revised State Water
the analysis. This goal is said to be independent of habitat
ownership issues. The goal. however, is unrealistic and un- Policy
achievable for species having high area needs, such as the FCA's Voluntary Environmental Fund Board has voted
panther, but assures that they will always reflect a need for unanimouosly to participate in a legal challenge to DEP's
additional habitat. proposed revision of Chapter 17-40, F.A.C. the state water
2) The plan methodology treats all "focal" species as being policy. FCA and several other groups have been vigorously
of equivalent value. Thus, a local variant of a beach mouse or opposing those proposed revisions for which we believe there
woods rat is considered to be worth the same "value" as a is no foundation in the statutes. DEP offered a major "revised
panther. revision" in October which resolved many of our concerns, but
3) The determination of need for additional habitat is predi- has dug in its heel and refused to work on the other issues of
cated on the assessment of existing populations of the "focal" concern. Consequently. FCA, in cooperation, with Farm Bu-
species. That assessment, however, only considers those popu- reau, Florida Forestry Association, )Dairy Farmers Inc., Sugar
lationsoccurring on publicly owned lands. Populations existing Cane Gro wers Cooperative. F:lorida Chamber of Commlerce,
on privately owned lands are simply erased, and considered not Florida Engineering Society and the Florida Association of
to exist. The obvious result is a blatant, misleading overstate- Community Developers, filed a formal rule challenge on Fri-
ment of protection needs. In effect, what the staff is saying is day, November 19th. On Monday, November 22nd, the peti-
that if they don't control sufficient populations on the 20 tioners were requested to meet with I)DEP on Wednesday,
percent of the State's land area currently in public ownership, November 24th, to see if we might be able to reach an agree-
the only thing to do is acquire control over an additional 13 ment.
percent of the state's land area.