Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075971/00006
 Material Information
Title: Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Publisher: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
Place of Publication: Tallahassee
Creation Date: 1977
Frequency: annual
Subjects / Keywords: Wildlife management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Fishery management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000349325
oclc - 05513917
notis - ABY7045
lccn - 79644252
issn - 0195-6256
System ID: UF00075971:00006
 Related Items
Preceded by: Report - Florida, Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission

Full Text


JULY 1, 1977 JUNE 30, 1978


Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Chairman, West Eau Gallle Vice Chairman, Tallahassee Palm Beach Tampa Jacksonville
Executive Director Assistant Executive Director


The Commission is governed by a board consisting of five mem-
bers appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate
and who serve five year terms on a staggered basis. The Execu-
tive Director is selected by the Commission and serves at its
The organizational structure of the Commission includes the
Office of the Executive Director, the Division of Law Enforce-
ment, the Division of Wildlife, the Division of Fisheries, the
Division of Administrative Services, the Office of Environmental
Services, and the Office of Informational Services. The Executive
Director is aided in administration through the existence of five
regional offices located at Panama City, Lake City, Ocala, Lake-
land, and West Palm Beach. Each regional office is staffed in
such a manner as to resemble the central office in Tallahassee
but on a smaller scale. The purpose of the regional offices is to
serve the grass roots needs of the public as well as providing the
capability to administer and follow through with the programs
and policies of the Commission. Other field stations are scattered
around the state, such as the Wildlife Research Laboratory in
Gainesville and the Fisheries Research Laboratory in Eustis.
As of June 30, 1978 there were 678 individuals employed by
the Commission.
The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission was
created as a constitutional agency on January 1, 1943, and for
three decades carried out its programs with revenue derived
from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. During the early
years, this was appropriate, as the programs of the agency were
primarily directed to benefit hunters and fishermen. However,
the Commission has become increasingly involved in matters
affecting and benefiting not only the hunter and fisherman but
also the general citizenry; protection, research and management
of nongame species of wildlife; boating safety, civil emergencies
and other general police actions; pollution control, and ecological
systems; and development of outdoor recreational programs.
As the area of involvement in the outdoor world expanded to
benefit the general public rather than exclusively hunters and
fishermen, the Legislature appropriated general revenue funds
to assist in the Commission's overall program. The first general

Audubon Magazine




revenue funds were appropriated in 1973 and have been followed
by other appropriations to carry out the expanded respon-
sibilities of the Commission. The 1978 Legislature appropriated
$4,201,792 for the purpose of continuation and expansion of out-
door programs that would benefit all citizens for the present and
future years. These funds have been put to good use, as can be
ascertained by a review of various programs and accomplish-
ments set forth in this report.
In general, the Commission accelerated its management of the
state's wildlife and freshwater fisheries resources to insure op-
timum wildlife and fish populations for the recreational and
aesthetic benefit of the public. Such management encompassed
the promulgation of codes and regulations for the protection of
the resource; enforcement of these codes and regulations and
those provided by Florida statutes; habitat improvement; the
development of an endangered species program; research di-
rected toward solving resource problems; regulation and inspec-
tion of wildlife importation; regulation and inspection of wildlife
exhibitors; control of aquatic vegetation; biological inspection
and reporting of construction and development projects which
could affect fish and wildlife resources and their habitat; acqui-
sition and development of public recreation areas; and a conser-
vation information and education program.
The Commission appreciates the support of the Legislature,
the sportsmen, and other outdoor-oriented citizens of the state,
and intends to justify that support.


Administrative Services


W without the Division of Administrative Services, the Commis-
sion would be unable to function, for this division is di-
rectly responsible for the support services necessary to keep the
agency afloat. Beginning with formulation and preparation of
the budget to hiring personnel, from paying for supplies to main-
taining the physical structures, Administrative Services is in-
volved in sustaining the heartline of the Commission's activities.

The major function of Finance and Accounting is the
accountability of state and federal funds available to the Com-
mission. This function includes maintenance and control of the
accounting system reflecting all receipts, expenditures and
commitments of our agency. The Finance and Accounting office
also is responsible for the license and permit activities of the

During 1977-78, revisions were made to the procedures for
license and permit inventory control, receipts and deposits, and
collection of bad checks to ensure a greater degree of accounta-
bility of funds and financial resources, Accounting records were
reconciled monthly with both the Comptroller and county sales
reports and regular license and permit inventories were taken.
Revenues consisted of trust fund collections, general revenue
appropriations, funds from aquatic weed operations, and partici-
pation in federal programs. These resources were used to fund
Land Acquisition, handle replacement and purchase of new
operating capital items, and finance general operating ex-
The Statewide Automated Management Accounting System
(SAMAS), previously known as Departmental Accounting Sys-
tem (DAS), continued to be the primary tool for controlling ex-
penditures and commitments.

In order for a state agency to operate from year to year it must
project both revenues and expenditures a year in advance. This
is accomplished through the legislative budget process, both
Operating and Fixed Capital Outlay. The budget documents
submitted in October of each year outline the fiscal year which
starts the following July.


Improved record keeping in Fiscal and Personnel, plus a closer
working relationship with the Department of Administration,
contributed to the development of a more accurate budget pre-
sentation in fiscal year 1977-78

This operation involves the employment and the processing of
all pay, insurance and leave records for all Commission em-
ployees, in accordance with the rules of the state, and the screen-
ing and processing of applicants seeking Commission em-

During the year, approximately 300 vacancy announcements
were published and nearly 1,000 job applicants were screened. A
conversion from Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance to a
state-administered plan was effected and dental care and sup-
plemental health insurance was offered to the 678 employees of
the Commission.

Accountability is the primary task of the Property office.
The Property Section has undergone major revisions during
the 1977-78 fiscal year. A new program of responsiveness to the
needs of the Commission and its field personnel has been in-
itiated and changes have been made to see that the recording
and tracking of our ten-million-dollar property inventory is
maintained in the proper manner, and within the guidelines
contained in the "Rules of the Auditor General." The current
property methods assure us that the system is in the best condi-
tion ever and additional refinements in the system will make the
system even better.

Office Operations includes the supervision of the Purchasing
and Property Management programs, Word Processing Center,
the storeroom, central files, mailroom, and maintenance and se-
curity of the Farris Bryant Building.

The installation of the Word Processing Center operations was
the major thrust in this area. The effectiveness of that program
is evident in their progress report. Planning the central store-
room operations and reorganizing the building maintenance and
security operations will not show their benefits until next year.

Striving to achieve the greatest return for each dollar spent is
the primary goal of Purchasing.

Due to changes in division budgets, Purchasing has assured
an immediate response to each division's need in regard to an
accounting of expenditures by RCC.
With new divisional requirements Purchasing prepared and
processed 8,246 purchase orders. A total of 172 legal and formal
bids were processed.


To accommodate an increasing workload in the Commission's
main office without adding personnel the Word Processing
Center was created. By taking advantage of the highly sophis-
ticated typing machinery obtainable and specially training per-
sonnel to use this machinery, improved quantity and quality of
Commission correspondence was expected.


Production by the five secretaries in the Word Processing
Center averaged 1,054 lines per person per day, a 72% increase
in production and 43% higher than anticipated. Special file ap-
plications include designing programs and inputting information
to provide personnel and technical data in various formats. This
additional information and service was previously not available
to the Commission.

Law Enforcement



f but one word could be used to describe the Division of Wild-
life Law Enforcement's capabilities, that word would be "di-
versity," for indeed we are involved in an extremely specialized
and varied type of enforcement work with which few agencies
can be compared. As wildlife enforcement practitioners, our Di-
vision's goals are:
1. To conserve and protect our natural resources.
2. To deter wildlife-related crime.
3. To protect the integrity of our environment.
4. To provide communications and prompt response to the
5. To protect life and property.
6. To permit and control exotic fish and wildlife.

These goals are accomplished by preventative patrol of lands
and fresh water and apprehension and arrest of persons violat-
ing laws relating to hunting, littering; the sale, use, possession
and importation of wild animals and fish; enforcement of en-
vironmental and boating safety laws; assistance to other public
agencies; maintenance of public order during natural disasters
and civil disorders; undercover and plainclothes investigations
and training of personnel. Certain landowners are afforded addi-
tional preventative patrol in order to maintain over five million
acres of lands open to public hunting and recreation. The Di-
vision also serves as the statewide Search and Rescue Coor-
dinator under Florida's Disaster Preparedness Plan.

Florida Wildlife Officers are responsible for uniformed patrol
of our vast water and land areas 24 hours a day, seven days a
week, in order to protect Florida's wildlife, freshwater aquatic
life and the environment. This is accomplished by maintaining
three 8-hour shifts each 24-hour period. Due to "peace officer"
status, Wildlife Officers provide a unique degree of general law
enforcement protection to citizens and landowners of rural and
wilderness areas while on patrol.
This highly trained select force effected better than 10,000
arrests during the past fiscal year covering a diverse spectrum of
violations. Although the majority of cases were wildlife, en-
dangered species and environmentally related, also included
were arrests for traffic, boating safety, rape, trespass, arson,
burglary, cattle rustling, grand larceny, auto theft and drugs.
Wildlife Officers must devote an increasing percentage of their
time to the enforcement of drug violations which are en-
countered during wilderness patrol activities. In one recent op-
eration, Wildlife Officers seized over 750,000 pounds of mari-
juana which was located during routine patrol efforts. Wildlife
Officers play an integral role in the enforcement of "nongame"
violations involving "endangered" and "threatened" species.
This also includes special patrols for protection of sea bird
rookeries and the manatee.
In order to penetrate almost inaccessible wilderness areas,
specialized equipment is necessitated, therefore, airboats, half-
tracks, full-tracks, motorcycles, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters
and 4-wheel drive vehicles must be utilized as well as conven-
tional patrol sedans.
In order to achieve maximum effectiveness, experience has
shown that a ratio of "one officer, per county, per shift" is de-
sirable. Based on this standard, the Division presently operates
at approximately 56 percent effectiveness. Due to existing man-
power limitations, wildlife law enforcement patrols in each

county average 13 hours and 44 minutes of every 24-hour
period. In order to properly respond to the public around the
clock, three eight-hour shifts are necessary. Therefore,
maximum effectiveness will not be realized until the "one officer
per county, per shift" complement can be attained. The Division
has a four-year plan for implementing this goal which will be
presented to the Governor and the Florida Legislature this
spring. If funding is provided, citizens in each county will be
afforded increased response to their needs and our wildlife re-
sources will have greater protection.
The Wildlife Inspectors are Florida's "first line of defense"
against the illegal importation, possession and release of po-
tentially dangerous foreign wildlife and fish. These specialized
enforcement officers are charged with ensuring compliance with
the myriad of technical state and federal laws governing the
vast wildlife trade and wild animal attractions.
The Wildlife Inspections Section issues permits and works
with 'over 1,000 major wildlife attractions and private animal
keepers in a cooperative effort to continually upgrade the qual-
ity of life for captive wildlife. This year, inspectors participated
in the capture of numerous escaped zoo animals which
threatened public safety. Escaped animals included monkeys,
lions, Kodiak bears, wolves and several giant lizards. Individu-
als maintaining potentially dangerous wildlife in cages that do
not meet state safety standards continue to be a source of great
concern to the Division.
Special emphasis was placed on enforcement of endangered
and threatened species laws with over 1,000 man-hours being
devoted to this effort during 1978. Inspectors further refined a
field technique for use in the identification of wildlife tissue and
blood samples. This process called "ouchterlony analysis" can be
utilized by Wildlife Officers to positively identify minute tissue
samples of wildlife such as deer and alligator.
With over 35 million specimens of wildlife and fish imported
annually through the Miami and Tampa ports of entry, coupled
with the additional 60 million ornamental fish produced in
Florida, the potential dangers to maintaining Florida's environ-
mental integrity are great. Each year Wildlife Inspectors must
seize thousands of illegally imported tropical fishes and hun-
dreds of wildlife specimens that are illegally taken or possessed.
This specialized operation will continue to play a vital role in
the enforcement of wildlife laws providing a substantial degree
of protection to our native fish and wildlife resources.
These specialized teams of officers make up the Regional In-
vestigations' units and the Undercover Investigations Section.
Being free from a shift schedule, Investigators provide the wild-
life enforcement program with capabilities for conducting
lengthy and difficult investigations. As the first state to initiate
a plainclothes enforcement program, Florida has served as a
model for the southeast.
Regional Investigators operate in much the same fashion as
detectives in other law enforcement agencies. By utilizing un-
marked vehicles and modern investigation techniques, they pro-
vide valuable support services to Florida Wildlife Officers.
Through continuous training in the use of scientific methods and

Winston Churchill

sophisticated equipment, investigators now have the capability
of handling a wide array of wildlife violations through the use of
fingerprints, plaster casting, electronic and photographic sur-
veillance and ouchterlony analysis.
The statewide undercover program is designed to assist uni-
formed Wildlife Officers in coping with organized market hunt-
ing and large scale commercialization by wildlife profiteers. This
small group of undercover officers has been responsible for "bust-
ing" groups of profit motivated wildlife violators in every region
of the state. A recent case in St. Johns and Duval counties
resulted in the arrest of five suspects on charges relating to
market hunting of deer and illegally possessing black bear. Sev-
eral defendants in both cases were sentenced to serve 30 days in
jail in addition to fines up to $1,000 and lengthy probations.
Local courts, prosecutors and sportsmen have lauded the profes-
sional enforcement tactics of this operation that currently main-
tains a jury trial conviction record of nearly 100 percent

Because of the Division's unique capabilities with regard to
specialized land, water and air equipment and personnel who
are knowledgeable of wilderness areas, the Division of Law En-
forcement of the Commission was recently designated statewide
coordinator of search and rescue operations. Although local gov-
ernments are generally able to handle search and rescue opera-
tions of a limited nature, emergency situations frequently re-
quire additional resources. The Division's role is to coordinate
assistance through other state agencies, local governments and
volunteer groups in order to provide the necessary manpower
and equipment appropriate to the search and rescue situation.

During Fiscal Year 1977-78, the Division participated in 70
search and rescue missions for a total of 3,000 man-hours. A
dramatic increase in our involvement with search and rescue
operations is anticipated this year, as the role of the Division
becomes more apparent to local authorities. Future plans call for
specialized training in search and rescue techniques for Division
personnel and a designation of regional coordinators to help pro-
vide instantaneous response to emergency requests for assis-
The Division's Aviation Section utilizes both fixed-wing air-
craft and a helicopter in order to provide valuable aerial surveil-
lance and patrol support for Wildlife Officers.

Presently, the Aviation Section is composed of five pilots
utilizing one helicopter, one twin-engine aircraft and three
single-engine aircraft. Optimum coverage requires at least one
fixed-wing patrol aircraft for each of the five regions, therefore,
we will be working toward this complement as funds become
available. In addition to providing aerial support and patrol for
the uniformed force, these aircraft are also vital to search and
rescue operations as well as wildlife and environmental surveys.
Aircraft contribute significantly to efficiency of operations by
supplementing officer patrol time and reducing vehicle mileage.

The Division's Training Section provides the entire Commis-
sion with program evaluation, curriculum development, re-
search seminars, workshops and publications. It is an integral
part of an efficient and effective organization, especially in the
law enforcement field where officers must be kept abreast of a
constantly changing society and its laws.
A total of 13,820 man-hours were spent in seminars, work-
shops and recruit training during the past fiscal year. Spe-
cialized training for the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Re-
sources Ranger Corps was developed and presented and addi-
tional workshops, training bulletins and inservice training
packages were utilized for training of Commission employees.
Efforts are being intensified to increase the participation of
other divisions in workshops, field training and seminars avail-
able at local universities and the Wildlife Officer Training Acad-
The Division's Communications Section provides the Commis-
sion with telephone, teletype and two-way radio communica-
tions. The system operates around-the-clock with dispatchers
available to handle incoming toll-free wats lines as citizens re-
port wildlife-related problems and violations. Complaints and
other information are promptly relayed by radio to Wildlife Offi-
cers in the field.
The Communications Section is presently staffed by 56 dis-
patchers, 8 technicians and a communications supervisor
charged with operating 550 mobile units, 11 dispatch centers
and 32 relay stations throughout Florida.
As a result of internal reorganization during the past fiscal
year, the Communications Section was transferred from
Administrative Services to the Division of Law Enforcement.
The Division requested and received funds from the 1978 Legis-
lature to replace and update its radio equipment which is 20-25
years old. The new system is scheduled to become operational by
the spring of 1979, and we are confident that it will provide a
much greater margin of safety for Wildlife Officers patrolling
Florida's vast wilderness areas.

Charles Dickens

This Division is responsible for the management of wildlife
habitat, the conducting of wildlife research, wildlife surveys
and inventories and providing public hunting for citizens as well
as support for and preservation of all nongame species in
Florida. The Division administers and directs the activities of
research and management as well as the acquisition, devel-
opment operation and maintenance of wildlife-related rec-
reational areas and facilities. Additional activities include re-
search on endangered wildlife species and other nongame species
and support of those wildlife species which are of interest to both
the hunter and nonhunter.
In a continuing effort to provide public hunting, the Division
administers both Type I and Type II Wildlife Management Area
Programs. The Type I Wildlife Management Area program com-
prises 4,994,963 acres in 46 separate areas. These are the areas
on which the Commission wildlife management area permit is
required to hunt, and with the funds from the sale of permits,
the Commission carries out habitat management practices and
other maintenance activities on the areas. In addition to the
traditional Type I Wildlife Management Area Program, the Di-
vision cooperates with three major landowners in administration
of the Type II Wildlife Management Area system. There are
currently 728,414 acres in the Type II system belonging to
Buckeye Cellulose Corporation, International Paper Company,
and the Gilman Paper Company. On these public hunting areas,
the hunter must purchase a company permit to hunt and the
Commission offers law enforcement and technical assistance
with the program. The Type II program is designed to encourage
landowners to open their land to public hunting.
During the 1977-78 season, a total of 92,276 hunters spent
461,380 man-days hunting on 4,994,963 acres within the Type I
Wildlife Management Area System. A total of $300,000 was dis-
tributed to private landowners participating in the program. Of
the land included in the program, more than one-third is in
private ownership, with the balance being state and federal
lands. Over 30,000 hunters also purchased permits from private
landowners to hunt on Type II Wildlife Management Areas.

Wildlife Management




The Division currently has responsibility for the management
of nearly five million acres of land in 46 wildlife management
areas, providing technical guidance to landowners with wildlife
oriented management problems, and conducting management
studies to improve wildlife habitat and management techniques.

To carry out these responsibilities, a total of 11 biologists, 5
wildlife management specialist supervisors, and 24 wildlife
management specialists provide the expertise and manpower
with the majority of their time and effort being directed to the
maintenance, development and operation of wildlife manage-
ment areas.
Approximately 200,000 additional acres were added to the Big
Cypress Wildlife Management Area during the year. The re-
mainder of the Big Cypress National Preserve Acquisition
should be included in the wildlife management area within the
next two years. Another anticipated addition to the Wildlife
Management Area Program did not materialize as the Florida
Cabinet voted not to open the Tosohatchee area to hunting at
the present time. Instead, the Cabinet elected to leave the
28,000-acre Environmentally Endangered Lands purchase closed
to hunting until it is clearly demonstrated that the deer herd
must be controlled to prevent a die-off or damage to the natural
habitat of the area.
The Division cooperated with the Division of Forestry in
developing a new 6,000-acre bird dog field trial area on the Cit-
rus Wildlife Management Area. Field trials were conducted on
the Cecil M. Webb, Citrus and Blackwater wildlife management
areas as part of a continuing program to provide locations for
this activity around the state. The Division instituted an ex-
perimental beaver control project during the year which relies
on the assistance of trappers from the private sector to control
beaver problems in the Northwest Region. The program has
proved successful in handling the problem in selected areas.
Habitat management work completed during the year on wild-
life management areas included the controlled burning of
134,800 acres, planting of 6,500 mast producing tree seedlings,
planting of 1,000 lespedeza seedlings, and 573 acres of annual
wildlife food plots. In addition, a total of 190 acres of public dove
fields were planted to provide public hunting. Waterfowl im-
poundments located at Guana River, Aucilla and Avon Park
wildlife management areas were maintained and managed for
hunting. A total of 342 quail feeders and 31 turkey feeders were
maintained, and four new turkey feeders were constructed.
Three hundred wood duck nesting boxes were maintained and
checked for productivity, while 160 additional boxes were con-
structed and erected in suitable habitat.
The abomasal parasite sampling project continued on the

white-tailed deer this year. A total of 157 abomasal samples
were collected from deer harvested on wildlife management
areas and selected private tracts. The abomasal parasite count is
utilized as one of the important tools to determine the popula-
tion status of a deer herd in relation to the carrying capacity of
the area. It has proved a very useful management tool and
played a large part in the setting of three antlerless deer hunts
on private tracts of land during the year. It is hoped that during
the next five years a sound program of deer management utiliz-
ing either-sex hunts to control population levels and herd pro-
ductivity can be initiated.
Comprehensive planning projects were begun on the Three
Lakes, Corbett and Webb wildlife management areas during the
year. When completed, these long-range plans will provide guid-
ance to the Commission on overall management practices to be
conducted on the areas, including wildlife management, range
management, timber management, water management and
management of recreational activities. It is anticipated that
more effective management of the areas will result.
White-tailed deer are easily the most popular big game in
Florida. With Florida's deer population now standing at roughly
one-half million animals, there is an increasing number of com-
plaints from property owners with respect to deer depredations
on crops. Others have expressed concern that deer are becoming
too numerous and request assistance in management.
The Division of Wildlife has responded with a program de-
signed to investigate complaints regarding deer damage before
taking remedial action since it is usually necessary to remove
some portion of the female population, if, in fact, a problem
exists. Under Commission sanction, an investigation by wildlife
biologists includes conducting an inventory of the deer herd on
the affected area, verification that crop depredations are due to
deer, and a monthly sample collection of deer to determine preg-
nancy rates, body condition and parasite burdens.
Where deer numbers exceed habitat carrying capacity, deer
generally have high parasite burdens, apparently because the

FALL." Edgar Guest

low food quality and quantity make the animals less resistant to
infection. By making a sample count of material collected from a
deer abomasum, biologists gain an indication of the status of the
population at large, particularly when this information is com-
bined with density estimates and inspection of habitat quality.
We are pursuing these investigations on public hunting areas,
as well as on private lands, to gain a greater knowledge of the
optimum management practices for white-tailed deer in Florida.
The increasing population of alligators in Florida has created
problems relating to human safety, loss of domestic animals and
reduction of recreational use of areas where large alligators are
present. The Commission conducted an experimental alligator
control program during the past year in the Northeast Region to
test a control method using contracted trappers to capture nui-
sance alligators.
The statewide nuisance alligator control program was in-
itiated May 10, 1978. The salient feature of this program was
the enlisting of private individuals into agreements with the
Commission to actually be responsible for removal of problem
alligators under direction and supervision of Division biologists.
The contracted agents are compensated by a percentage share of
the proceeds generated by the sale of skins of the alligators they
have taken. The Commission retains a small proportion to help
defray administrative expenses. The first hide sale will be con-
ducted in September of 1978. A report on the statewide program
will be made in the 1978-1979 annual report.
Florida ranks among the leading states in cattle production
with nearly 5,000,000 acres devoted to rangeland and pastures.
The effect of grazing on wildlife and wildlife habitat has been
little studied in Florida, but the importance of such lands to
wildlife can be expected to increase in the future as Florida's
human population expands. The Division of Wildlife hopes to
develop recommendations on appropriate grazing practices to
benefit wildlife and to maximize, as far as possible, the pro-
ductivity of rangeland for a particular species.
Currently, the Division is concentrating its efforts on the Cecil
M. Webb Wildlife Management Area, in cooperation with the
Florida Division of Corrections and the U.S. Soil Conservation
Service. The joint effort is an attempt to determine the cattle
grazing pressure on grassland that is most compatible with bob-
white quail populations.
Florida consistently ranks among the leading three out of 17
states in the Atlantic Flyway in annual waterfowl har-
vest. In 1977-78, Florida hunters took one-quarter million ducks,
ranking behind only New York and North Carolina in duck har-
Waterfowl management will and should receive greater em-
phasis during the next few years. Ring-necked ducks are the
single most important species for Florida waterfowlers, yet little
is known of their behavior and ecological requirements. Plans
for a study of this important species are under way at this time.
Wildlife research seeks scientific information needed to ad-
dress management problems of Florida wildlife. Emphasis is on
game, furbearers, endangered species, pests and management of
these groups.
Investigations of lead shot ingestion by ducks have been con-
ducted. In this study lead shot ingestion levels were measured in

ducks from selected habitats in the state. This identified areas
that were relatively "clean" and several that definitely required
further study to evaluate the impacts of lead shot on ducks in
Florida. This work resulted in a better method of detecting lead
shot and pinpointed a serious deficiency in lead detection meth-
odology being used throughout the United States.
Turkey harvest studies were conducted. In this research, hunt-
ing regulations are established on a public hunting area and
monitored to determine whether they achieve the stated goals of
the study. Special hunt regulations are being adjusted each year,
as suggested by the research, to improve their effectiveness. We
were allowing a legal harvest of 80% in which the population
was seriously depleted; this was reduced to approximately 10%
through this trial and error approach. We are presently attempt-
ing to obtain a 25% harvest through annual adjustment of the
hunting regulations and hunting pressure.
A program of brown pelican restoration in Louisiana has been
carried out. Research on the pelican in Florida resulted in
identifying the limiting factors on these species in Florida and
concluded that the population here was stable and evidently
safe. Captive stock was placed in Louisiana for research and
restoration. This program has been successful in both areas; in
research, we discovered that the pesticide Endrin was a major
hazard to the species and probably eradicated the species from
Louisiana; in management, the stocking resulted in the recovery
of the population in Louisiana.
A quota hunt system was designed to regulate hunter densi-
ties in Florida wildlife management areas during the first nine
days of the hunting season.
In the 1977-78 hunting season, 75,540 total quota hunt per-
mits were available. Of this number, 61,123 (80.9%) were is-
sued. Two procedures were used for issuing quota hunt permits.
First, 37,967 were issued by the normal procedure where a per-
son applies in writing and the permit is processed using com-
puter facilities at Florida State University. From October 5 to
November 5, 15,897 permits were issued with a second system
where a telephone room was established. Using this system, a
person could apply for as many permits as he desired with a
phone call. These were issued by hand using typewriters, and
records were filed. From November 8 through November 19,
1977, 7,069 permits were issued from the regional offices, both to
people who walked in and called in.
When comparing successive years 1975, 1976 and 1977 -
59,090 permits were issued in 1975, 59,337 in 1976 and 60,923
in 1977. The difference between the 1975 and 1976 issuance was
247 permits and the difference between 1976 and 1977 issuance
was 1,586 permits. This year we issued between 59,000 to 60,000
total quota hunt permits. This number includes both regular and
special hunt permits. If this is reflective of the demand, it indi-
cates that we are neither increasing nor decreasing but remain-
ing relatively stable overall.
When comparing the number issued by computer in 1975-
59.6%; in 1976, 62.5%; and in 1977, 62.1%-this indicates a
basically stable trend, around 60% being issued by the regular
computer system. When comparing the number issued by the
regional offices: 1975-40.4%; in 1976-37.5%; and in 1977-
37.7%; a relatively stable trend is indicated overall.
A comparison of numbers of wildlife management areas where
the quotas filled shows 26 filled in 1975, 31 filled in 1976 and 30
filled in 1977.
Hunter surveys were developed to determine effort and suc-
cess, species harvested and opinions of those people hunting in
Both statewide and management area surveys were conducted
in the 1977-78 fiscal year to determine man-days of effort, by

management area, for private landowner payments and wildlife
Unstructured comments on management area surveys were
analyzed using content analysis to determine public opinion.
Dog hunting versus still hunting, doe hunting, law enforcement,
the quota system and general management were some of the
items which received comments. Of those commenting, 36 voiced
an opinion in favor of dog hunting while 49 voiced an opinion in
favor of still hunting. Forty-seven people commented on the need
for limited doe hunts. Nineteen people believed we had good
wildlife management on public lands while 19 people believed
we had poor wildlife management on public lands. Sixty-two
people believed we needed better law enforcement, while eight
believed our law enforcement was good.
Eighteen species are currently being provided for through our
Endangered Species Program, eight of which are federally listed.
Eighty six species are on the state lists; thirty-one Florida spe-
cies are on the federal list. Our program is carried out within the
scope of an Endangered Species Cooperative Agreement with the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is thereby two-thirds fed-
erally funded.
The top priority in the future in the Endangered Species Pro-
gram will be to implement recovery plans: Such plans are cur-
rently in preparation for ten Florida species, several of which
are very near completion. However, implementing such plans
will be expensive-legislative support will be needed.
The major hindrance to the Endangered Species Program is a
lack of funding. Federal endangered species money is abundant,
but our matching state funds are not available to take advan-
tage of that fact. By way of comparison, the other twenty-one
states with Endangered Species Cooperative Agreements aver-
aged an increase in scope of their programs of 173.3% from 1977
to 1978; Florida's increase was 10.1% and this year it was only
In overview, we have made a reasonably effective start toward
endangered species conservation in Florida, but we seem to have
leveled off. We have taken only one small first step, and we have
a long way to go; we need the full support of the legislature if we
are to continue to progress toward truly comprehensive en-
dangered species conservation.

Florida Panther




Fisheries Management

A broad spectrum of applied and basic research is the founda-
tion for sound management of Florida's freshwater fishery
resources. It is a never-ending challenge, with our wealth of
lakes and streams and the changes brought on by urbanization.
Thus, the Division of Fisheries continually searches for ways of
improving fishing and enhancing our aquatic environments.
Sport fishing is improved in many ways: the renovation and
restocking of lakes and ponds; the management of rivers and
streams; identification, documentation, management and control
of exotic species; creel census; and studies of fish and fish food
organisms; life history studies; environmental surveillance and
developmental research for better fish management techniques.
This Division is also responsible for those administrative func-
tions related to freshwater fisheries and aquatic weed control
Five regional fish management projects strategically located
throughout the state are responsible for the following programs:
(1) Management of Commission built and owned lakes, (2) estab-
lishing new urban fishing lakes, (3) administering a permit con-
trolled haul seine program for Tilapia removal in the South
Florida Region, (4) implementing habitat improvement projects
via water manipulation in several lakes throughout the state,
(5) assessing the effects of Hydrilla encroachment of sportfish
populations, (6) stocking and assessing the success of sunshine
bass, and (7) performing feasibility studies on candidate lakes
for drawdowns.
Projects of a general nature include: (1) stocking ponds and
lakes, (2) investigating and reporting fish kills, (3) surveying
public waters to improve fishing, (4) making environmental im-
pact reports, (5) maintaining FGC boat ramps, and piers, and (6)
providing programs for sportsmen groups.
Work on the management of nine Commission-owned or built
lakes resulted in the improvement of fishing through vegetation
control and shoreline rotenone treatments.

A total of 6 urban fishing areas were acquired for developing
into recreational fishing areas in the metropolitan Jacksonville
area. In the metropolitan West Palm Beach area a total of 19
ponds were acquired for fishing. Of these, 10 are being made into
fish management areas.
Implementation of four drawdowns to improve sport fishing
and vegetation control were accomplished. Pioneer Park, Karick,
Munson and lamonia were project lakes.
Insight was gained concerning both the positive and negative
effects of hydrilla encroachment on sport fishing in Orange lake.
Continued investigation and background sampling will be made.
The stocking of sunshine bass in many lakes and several river
systems was accomplished. This hybrid is growing 1 to 2 pounds
per year. It provides good seasonal fishing during November
through March.
Several lakes such as Fox and Rousseau have been analyzed to
determine how and under what conditions a drawdown could be
effectively used as a management tool to improve fishing.
Accomplishments of a general nature include: (1) giving tech-
nical assistance regarding private pond problems to over 700
private pond owners, (2) providing bass and bream for stocking
over 235 ponds (1,045 acres), (3) investigating 237 fish kills -
both natural and pollution caused, (4) gathering basic harvest
effort and success statistics through 3 short term creel surveys
on Lakes Orange and Parker, (5) investigating illegal dredge
and fill operations, and (6) providing environmental impact as-
sessment information to the Office of Environmental Services.
Maintenance of Commission-owned docks, boat ramps and other
public facilities was handled as needed. Also, programs for 122
sportsmen and civic clubs were given during the year.

SERENITY OF MIND." Washington Irving

The Lake Okeechobee Fisheries Utilization Program
(OFUMP) is a closely supervised program which permits
liberalized commercial harvest of all species of fish except larg-
mouth bass pickerel. The goal of this program is the optimum
utilization of the fisheries resources of Lake Okeechobee. This
program is assessing the effects of commercial fishing on
sportfishing and fish populations. Commercial and sportfishing
harvest data, as well as fish population data, are collected and
market development is being pursued.
Since implementation in October 1976, OFUMP has accounted
for the removal of 13.7 million pounds of fish. Of this total, over
4 million pounds consisted of black crappie. As a result, crappie
have shown improved condition factors (increased weight for a
given length). This accelerated growth can be attributed to a
reduction in competition for food organisms among those fish
which remain in the lake. This means that black crappie are not
only larger now, but that they reach harvestable size at an ear-
lier age than they did prior to the liberalization of commercial
fishing regulations. Sportfishermen benefit directly by this
Unfortunately, this benefit was overshadowed by a poor sport-
fishing season for black crappie during the winter of 1977-78. A
missing 1976 year class was forecast well in advance of the
1977-78 black crappie fishing season and the poor sportfishing
success which resulted came as no surprise. The commercial
harvest of black crappie, a missing 1976 year class, an ab-
normally cold winter, and high rising water levels during a time
when the water level is usually falling, all contributed to the
poor 1977-78 crappie fishing season. Management strategies
have been employed to reduce the commercial harvest of black
crappie to counteract the potential effect of the missing 1976
year class during the 1978-79 sportfishing season.
The sportfishery for largemouth bass has continued to be an
excellent one during this program. National records for total
poundage harvested during a three-day bass fishing tournament
have been set since the liberalization of commercial fishing regu-
The bluegill-redear sunfish fishery supports the best sport-
fishing success (2 to 3 fish per hour) of any fishery on the lake.
Both of these species are harvested commercially under the pro-
visions of the program.
The commercial harvest from Lake Okeechobee since im-
plementation of OFUMP breaks down as follows:

Black crappie ......................... 4.4 million pounds
White catfish ........................2.5 million pounds
Gizzard shad .........................1.8 million pounds
Bluegill .............................1.6 million pounds
Channel catfish ......................1.4 million pounds
Gar .............. ...............1.0 million pounds
Redear sunfish ......................1.0 million pounds

Total ...............................13.7 million pounds

This harvest represents a value to commercial fishermen of ap-
proximately 3.2 million dollars. When projected to a conserva-

tive retail value of 8 million dollars, it can be better appreciated
how this previously underutilized resource has stimulated local
The main role of the two state fish hatcheries is to produce
fish for stocking new or renovated lakes. Solving culture prob-
lems and developing rearing techniques for new species are also
necessary functions of fish hatchery personnel.
A total of 341 bodies of water consisting of 151,132 acres were
stocked. Total production of both fry and fingerlings was 6.3
million fishes.
Progress was made in solving largemouth bass culture prob-
lems at the Blackwater Fish Hatchery. At Richloam the cause
and solution were found for the thoracic gas bubble disease
among larval sunshine bass. Improved treatments were devel-
oped that increased the production of sunshine embryos.
Major construction projects were undertaken. The construction
of four new, one-half acre ponds was begun at Blackwater and
sloping many of the steep pond banks was done at Richloam.
Neither of these jobs are complete though extensive progress
was made on both.


This program is designed to provide man-made structures in
public lakes that concentrate fish and makes fishing easier and
more successful.
A total of 24 attractors were placed in seven lakes in 1977-78.
Most of these were in the Panhandle part of Florida. Old tires
and hardwood brush were used and produced immediate im-
proved fishing success in these lakes.
Magazines, newspaper articles and television spots were made
to inform the public of these improvements. Response to the
project has been very positive since it represents a tangible im-
provement that gives direct benefits to the fishermen.

Black Crappie and brush bundle fish attractor

This program is designed to expand our knowledge of lake
management and extend the productive recreational and aes-
thetic life span of selected lakes. The water level manipulation pro-
cess has been implemented on Lakes Tohopekaliga and Kissim-
mee. It is a tool to combat eutrophication, stabilized water
levels, and increased watershed development.

Lake Kissimmee was reflooded during the summer of 1977.
Fishery and vegetation response has been favorable as expected.
The strong largemouth bass response should provide an out-
standing fishery for the next 5 to 7 years.
On Lake Tohopekaliga the decline of the sportfishery was
documented and a proposal to repeat a drawdown in December
1978 was approved.
The purpose of this program is to provide coordination be-
tween the Commission and other agencies for lake improvement
and improved fishing in the waters of the state. Habitat im-
provement and water level manipulation projects come under
the purview of this program.
Planning assistance was provided to regional fish manage-
ment personnel in designing major program objectives and pro-
cedures relating to lake improvement projects. Intra-agency
coordination for the second Lake Tohopekaliga drawdown project
was provided. Dewatering plans have been formulated for Fox
Lake located near Titusville, Florida in Brevard County and
Lake Rousseau located near the town of Dunnellon. Basic objec-
tives are to improve sport fishing, rejuvenate desirable aquatic
habitat and control the troublesome aquatic plant Hydrilla.

Lake Jackson, the popular big bass lake located near Florida's
capital city, has suffered from the effects of urbanization and
highway construction in recent years. This program is designed
to document the changes that have occurred and determine cor-
rective measures or improvement programs for resource en-
The Jackson studies are principally concerned with defining
the well being of the bass fishery, documentation of fish-food
resources in the lake, and monitoring the growth and spread of
the exotic plant Hydrilla verticillata.
Presently, bass comprise over 30% of the total fish population
with a strong harvestable group in the 10-15 inch size groups
and low numbers of larger fish. Fish food organisms remain rela-
tively abundant compared to recent years. The lake level
reached its lowest point since 1958 !in the fall of 1978, and all
fish are growing slowly compared toa populations in many other
Florida lakes. New vegetation is establishing on exposed bottom
as the water level retreats, and Hydrilla continues to spread,
albeit slowly. Judicious use of chemicals has been effective in
reducing dense communities of the non-native plant.

Lake Talquin, Florida's largest manmade impoundment, lo-
cated west of Tallahassee, continues to be a popular fishing lake.
The objective of this study is to monitor the fish population and

maintain sport fishing for both freshwater game fish and striped
The bass in Talquin are robust and fast growing, with the
majority of harvestable fish in the 12-to 19-inch size classes. The
bluegill population indicates some crowding, with harvestable
fish ranging in size from 6-7 inches. Although less abundant,
redear sunfish or shellcrackers average larger at 6-10 inches.
A fisherman creel, began during 1977, estimated over 34,000
bass, 75,000 specks and 200,000 bream were harvested from
Talquin by fisherman.
The lake received 90,000 striped bass fingerlings this past
spring. Adult stripers are in excellent condition and continue to
be used as quality brood fish for the statewide striper/sunshine
bass stocking program.

A research program designed to document facts required for
progressive management of largemouth bass.
The Trout Lake study to determine the feasibility of stocking
bass fingerlings into lakes having established but low bass popu-
lations reached some significant conclusions. Only one percent of
stocked, electronically tagged bass fingerlings have reached a
harvestable size of ten inches. After stocking over 41,000 finger-
ling bass in the 100-acre lake since 1975, the size of the harvest-
able bass population has remained relatively unchanged. The
use of radio transmitters and tracking equipment continues for
the purpose of learning more about daily and seasonal move-
ments and behavior of bass.


The grass carp or white amur was imported into Florida as a
control agent for aquatic vegetation. No one can dispute the
ability of the fish to devour large quantities of vegetation; how-
ever, little is known of the effects on other aquatic life. Lakes
Deer Point, Conway and Wales, were stocked with grass carp
and are being used as research sites to determine the carp's
impact on aquatic life.

In Deer Point Lake no significant changes have occurred over
the past year in water quality, fish food organisms or sportfish.

Despite stocking 107,436 grass carp into Deer Point during the
past 2 years, a slight increase has occurred for exotic Eurasion
watermilfoil, the plant targeted for control by the carp. Some
escapement of carp from the lake has occurred, and several large
specimens have been captured by saltwater commercial netters
in North Bay.
The 7,900 monosex grass carp stocked into Lake Conway a
year ago have grown to as large as 11 pounds. Stomach analyses
of 20 carp demonstrated a diet of aquatic vegetation, but did not
include the target plant, Hydrilla. Continuing studies at Lake
Wales also indicate grass carp are not providing satisfactory
control of Hydrilla. Although Hydrilla declined in one area of
the lake last winter, it is currently more abundant than it was
in 1976.
This program is designed to improve fishing through the
introduction of new game fish species. Additionally, fishing po-
tential in certain lakes may be enhanced by some degree of
biological control of forage fish such as shad. The fishes now
being researched are snook and sunshine bass.
Artificial propagation of snook this past season produced only
141 fingerlings, of which 127 were stocked into five experimental
lakes. This year's disappointing production was attributable to a
scarcity of brood fish and water quality problems in salt water
rearing ponds.
The sunshine bass phase of the program produced over
1,360,000 fingerlings stocked into more than 1000,000 acres of
public lakes and rivers. Recently, a new state record of 9 pounds
14 ounces was established for a 3 year old sunshine bass.
A research program designed to investigate and document en-
vironmental changes affecting habitat quality and fisheries of
the Oklawaha River Basin.
Subsequent to the drawdown of Lake Carlton in the spring of
1977, studies indicate a net improvement in bottom consolida-
tion of muds, abundance and diversity of fish food organisms and
aquatic plants, and, so far, a net increase in fish crops of 100
pounds per surface acre. Studies of the potential use of scanning
sonar as a tool for locating large stocks of panfish for the fisher-
man in Lake Griffin were completed. The experimental unit was
found to be inadequate for determining the relative abundance of
fish in shallow lakes.
A continuing research program designed to document factors
affecting the fish and habitat of the St. Johns River.
River water quality data collected from 35 stations indicate an
increase in nutrient content over the past 2-3 years. Algal sam-
ples at all stations were dominated by bloom-producing blue-
green varieties. Quantitative zooplankton samples demonstrated
seasonal cycles in abundance and greater concentrations of or-
ganisms at lake stations compared to rivering stations. High
water experienced this past spring produced a good year class of
game fish, however, data indicated lower than average growth
for principal game species in portions of the upper river. Studies
also documented an increase in the spread of the non-native fish
Tilapia aurea in areas of the lower river.
This program will identify threatened or endangered species of
fish and determine life histories and distribution of these spe-
cies. Future aims of the program will be to manage these spe-
cies, hopefully preventing extinction.
Basic field studies of the endangered Okaloosa Darter have
provided information on population structure and abundance,

food habits, behavior, habitat requirements and spawning sea-
son. Additional data were collected for several threatened spe-
cies, including the shoal bass, Lake Eustis pupfish, Quachita
darter and speckled chub.
In 1971, an exotic fish research station was established at
Florida Atlantic University to evaluate the ecological
significance of non-native fish. Some 25 foreign species are now
well established in Florida. This research program has been de-
signed to (1) evaluate the effects of non-native fish, (2) identify
specific environmental limiting factors, e.g. temperature, and (3)
to develop and coordinate management practices aimed at lim-
iting the biological effects of exotic fishes in Florida.
Laboratory studies have established lower lethal water temp-
eratures for approximately a dozen exotic fishes presently estab-
lished as wild reproducing populations in south Florida. Re-
search has been initiated on Lake Lena in Polk County to define
some of the ecological relationships between the established ex-
otic Tilapia aurea and communities of fishes native to the lake.
Emphasis is being placed on studies of competition for available
food among juvenile fish and competition for spawning areas.
Construction to improve research facilities in a portion of the
laboratory was completed.
The Commission continues to endorse and implement a
maintenance program for the control of nonindigenous aquatic
plants using control techniques on a continuous basis to maintain
the plant populations at the lowest feasible level. The major
operational control effort on water hyacinth is devoted to chemi-
cal spraying in an attempt to reduce the number of plants and
maintain control in problem areas. A spray plane is used for
aerial spraying of heavy infestations. Polymer metering units
have been installed in several airboats operated in highly popu-
lated areas to prevent spray drift damage. Four new airboats
and eight new spray units have been purchased to update pres-
ent equipment.
The program has successfully maintained water hyacinth
populations at acceptable levels through surveillance and con-
trol of small amounts of plants that would expand into major
problems if left untreated. Over 33,700 acre of hyacinths were
treated in 505 bodies of water. This was accomplished by an
operational force of 19 airboat crews and the spray plane
strategically located around the state in known problem areas.
Hyacinth jams form in many rivers during the rainy season.
These jams are broken up and sprayed to minimize inconveni-
ence and reduce damage due to blockage of navigable waters.
The program also includes removal of obstructions that hold the
free-floating mats and ultimately result in the formation of
larger jams.
The release and relocation of the hyacinth weevil has con-
tinued since reports from the field indicate some degree of con-
trol through the use of this biological control agent.
Since hydrilla's introduction in 1960, it has spread throughout
Florida. The inter-county vegetation survey indicated that
approximately 50,000 acres of hydrilla were present in public
bodies of water. Efforts to control hydrilla have been complicated
by high herbicide costs and the tremendous reproductive and
growth capabilities of the plant.
A program was implemented to improve fishing access for
fishermen the more heavily infested lakes. Boat trails and
fishing trails were provided in Orange Lake through herbicide
treatment. A special mechanical harvesting program was con-
ducted by the U.S. Corps of Engineers that complemented the
chemical treatment in the lake. The COE reported a total of 21

miles of boat trails and 45 acres of hydrilla were harvested to
provide navigation and fishermen access areas during the sum-
mer and fall of 1977. During the same period, the Commission
treated 86 acres of hydrilla with EPA approved herbicides to
open additional boat trails and access areas in an effort to
evaluate length and effectiveness of control.
Currently, mechanical harvesting and herbicide control opera-
tions have been reassigned to Lochloosa Lake because hydrilla
in Orange Lake is lagging behind last years growth rate.
Approximately 347 acres of hydrilla were treated in three
other bodies of water for a total of 433 acres treated by Commis-
sion crews during this reporting period.
In 1972, an aquatic plant control permitting system was de-
signed to provide the Commission a method of reviewing the
increasing number of aquatic weed control programs being im-
plemented throughout the state.
The Commission passed Rule 16E-6.05 entitled "Aquatic Weed
Permitting," effective November 6, 1977. Aquatic Weed Control
Permits are being issued under the terms of a tripartite agree-
ment between the Department of Environmental Regulation, the
Department of Natural Resources and the Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission. During this reporting period, 591 per-
mits were issued statewide for weed control operations. The
permitting program was developed to allow inspectors to
monitor the ever increasing workload in the area of aquatic
plant management. Land developments, increased demand for
open water, coupled with the growing public awareness of aqua-
tic weed problems, will increase the permitting and monitoring
programs in the coming years.
An inter-county survey is conducted annually by Aquatic
Plant Management Biologists and other personnel to determine
the extent of problem aquatic plant species statewide. This in-

formation serves as the basis for program development in aqua-
tic weed control.
Statewide information is gathered by aerial, water and ground
surveillance and consultation with other agencies and individ-
uals involved in aquatic plant management and other closely
related fields. From these data, it was determined that there
were approximately 16,165 acres of water hyacinth and 49,100
acres of hydrilla present in the public inter-county waters sur-
veyed this reporting period. Problematic species identified dur-
ing the survey included 1,200 acres of Eurasian watermilfoil in
northwest Florida, 100 acres of Eurasian watermilfoil in Citrus
County and 4,000 acres of giant cutgrass in Lake Seminole.
Private lake owners with problem aquatic vegetation look to
the Commission for assistance in managing their lakes for rec-
reational use.
Aquatic botanists stationed in five field offices provide lake
owners with information on methods of controlling aquatic vege-
tation. Individual recommendations, based on the nature and
extent of the problem, consist of providing chemical, dewatering
or mechanical removal information.
The aquatic plant management quality control activities are
designed to complement the operations section. It involves
evaluation of past and present control methods, development of
new technology and ecological studies of aquatic plants.
Three biologists stationed at the Eustis Fisheries Research
Laboratory are conducting investigations into the following top-
ics: evaluation of new compounds for possible hydrilla control;
monitoring the effects of water level fluctuations on aquatic veg-
etation; and developing techniques of harvesting and planting of
various desirable aquatic plants to enhance the fishery of lakes.

Environmental Services


?- 'The basic function of the Office of Environmental Services
S.I is to protect habitat, for quality habitat is essential for the
maintenance of Florida's diverse fish and wildlife heritage. By
,... ^ \ reviewing development proposals and participating in the var-
ious environmental regulatory processes we can recommend
,' that projects destructive to fish and wildlife habitat be rejected
.A.. \or redesigned to be less destructive. Environmental Services also
S 7 \ offers technical assistance to developers so that wildlife values
can be considered in the planning of projects thereby avoiding
problems before plans are finalized. Environmental research is
also conducted to answer critical questions regarding the im-
pacts of certain land uses on fish and wildlife resources.
.This program is designed to provide input into proposed devel-
opments by providing fish and wildlife habitat assessments of

GOOD OF MEN." Gifford Pinchot

projects requiring dredge and fill permits from the Department
of Environmental Regulation and U. S. Army Corps of Engi-
neers, development approval through the Development of Re-
gional Impact review process, or Federal funding approval
through the A-95 Clearinghouse. Projects reviewed under this
program encompass nearly every conceivable type of devel-
opment including port and harbor developments, housing proj-
ects, marinas, power plants, dams and other water control struc-
tures, highway projects, erosion control and beach restoration
proposals and strip mining.

Over 1,930 mandays or almost three-fourths of our effort were
required for review of projects under this program. This included
the review of approximately 1,375 dredge and fill applications,
299 projects received through the A-95 Clearinghouse requiring
federal funding, and 60 Public Works projects. This year there
was a 30% increase in dredge and fill permit applications over
last year and an overall increase in Clearinghouse projects as
well, although the number of Public Works projects declined.
The increase in the dredge and fill permit lead was related to
raising the threshold for "standard form" permits by the De-
partment of Environmental Regulation so that more projects can
be processed in the regional offices as "short forms" thereby
making the permitting process easier for the applicant. The great-
er number of Clearinghouse projects resulted from an increase
in small Department of Transportation highway projects and an
expansion of Section 201 and 208 water quality programs. In
providing good biological information for decision-makers in the
permitting and approval processes, we were able to conserve
many acres of wetlands and other valuable wildlife habitats.


In order to assure that fish and wildlife resources are ade-
quately considered in the planning of developmental projects
and in land management decisions, the Office of Environmental
Services provides technical assistance to other state agencies,
regional planning councils, water management districts, county
commissions, zoning boards, consultants and developers and
serves as a watchdog in an attempt to prevent land use plans or
decisions that will adversely impact wildlife populations in fu-
ture years. Environmental Services also represents the Commis-
sion on or participates in a number of land use advisory and
decision-making bodies such as the Interagency Planning Com-
mittee which screens all proposals for the purchase of lands de-
termined to be endangered. By providing advice to land planners
at an early stage of planning, unnecessary impacts to fish and
wildlife habitat can be avoided so that we can guarantee con-
tinued wildlife populations for ourselves and future generations.

Environmental Services provided technical assistance to a va-
riety of planning organizations, committees, and developers this
year including the Environmentally Endangered Lands Inter-
agency Advisory Committee, the Apalachicola Planning Com-
mittee, the Cross Florida Barge Canal Interagency Task Force,
the State Water Element Planning Advisory Committee, the
Northwest Florida Urban Study Council, the Marina Advisory
Council, ITT Palm Coast, and a number of counties. For the
Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, 35 new proposals
were reviewed although only two were purchased. We provided
expertise on the impacts of phosphate strip mining and reclama-
tion to the Central Florida Regional Planning Council to aid
them in their review of several new mining proposals and pro-
vided technical assistance directly to several companies to in-
crease the fish and wildlife values of reclaimed land. Other pro-
grams receiving our input were the Coastal Zone Management
Program, the Kissimmee Restoration Project, and the Natural
Resources Element of the State Land Management Plan.
This program evolved directly from our technical assistance
program to satisfy the need for up-to-date information in several
areas where the Commission was becoming increasingly in-
volved. Only through the application of continuing practical re-
search can past land use problems affecting fish and wildlife
resources be corrected and future problems be avoided.
The Office of Environmental Services initiated three research
projects this year. The Phosphate Reclamation Project is in-
tended to provide information ways to reclaim lands strip mined
for phosphate so that fish and wildlife values are enhanced. We
signed an agreement in our research and obtained funding from
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the project. Trees
were planted to test which species were most suitable for par-
ticular sites so that diverse plant communities can be es-
tablished on recontoured lands.
The Kissimmee Research Team, consisting of four biologists,
was staffed in Okeechobee and work was begun to study wildlife
utilization of the Kissimmee River Basin in connection with ef-
forts to restore this river. Fish and wildlife aspects of various
restoration alternatives including upland detention/retention
and backfilling are also being investigated. The third research
and restoration project initiated this year concerns the Lower
Apalachicola Environmentally Endangered Lands tract. The
Office of Environmental Services filled a position to develop a
restoration and management plan for this area. Work was begun
on devising methods to restore a portion of this area that was
heavily impacted by a large, unauthorized drainage project.

Everglades Recreation

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Florida's Everglades never ceases to attract people to enjoy
this disappearing wilderness. But, without a plan for devel-
opment, the rich habitat and wildlife resource could be lost
forever. It is to this task the Everglades Recreation staff concen-
trates its efforts. Their job is to develop, operate and maintain
the area for the use, enjoyment, appreciation and learning by
the general public. This can range from providing the law en-

forcement power to protect the resource to planning and con-
struction of recreational facilities in keeping with the heritage of
the area.
Taking what is now available to the public and making it even
better is an ongoing project. This growth is always coupled with
a concern for the habitat and wildlife resources.
New boat ramps were installed at Levee 67 and Tamiami
Trail and Levee 30 and Tamiami Trail. These facilities will pro-
vide boating access into Conservation Areas 3A and 3B.

The unique Everglades ecosystem has been threatened by the
unchecked growth of non-native plants. Research continues on
how to check the spread of such plants without harming the
habitat and resources of the Everglades.
We are continuing the use of the three chemicals with limited
success in key locations where the melaleuca problem is most
critical. Coordination of these efforts is in conjunction with wild-
life habitat improvement on spoil banks and wildlife islands.
During periods of drought, massive fires sweep through the
Everglades, destroying millions of acres of vegetation as well as
animal life. One way to reduce the number of fires each year has
been through carefully controlled burning of sawgrass during
certain times of the year.
Everglades project staff, wildlife management personnel and
State Division of Forestry personnel burned approximately
35,000 acres in Conservation Area 3A.
The Everglades offers a variety of habitats for wildlife, but
due to the nature of the area, upland habitats are restricted to a
small portion of the area. Fires have further reduced these ele-
vated islands in recent years and efforts have been made to
create artificial wildlife islands and to enhance spoil banks cre-
ated during canal construction projects.

A total of 40 islands were created in Conservation Area 3A.
These islands were seeded with Pensacola bahia grass and
planted with native trees obtained from local nurseries.
Muck topsoil was placed on fifteen spoil banks on the Miami
Canal to promote growth of native vegetation to provide food
and cover for a variety of wildlife species.
In addition, 20 eight-foot trees were planted on each spoil
bank. The tree species were maple, oak, mahogany and cypress.
The Everglades Recreation Project staff is monitoring wading
bird populations at Andytown relating to water conditions, pri-
marily fluctuations in water levels.
Observations over the last four years indicate successful nest-
ing because of ideal water conditions. Ideal water conditions
occur when the receding water level concentrates small fish,
crustaceans and other aquatic food organisms, the primary food
source of the nesting wading bird colony.
Annual Alligator Nesting Survey June through August
Rising water levels. during the nesting season (June through
August) destroyed 75% of the alligator nests. Eggs in nests are
laid six inches above water level. The increase in water levels to
twelve to sixteen inches inundated 75% of the eggs in the nests.

Informational Services


Providing the public with a means of a better understanding
and appreciation for our wildlife and natural resource herit-
age, has always been the main thrust of the information arm of
the Commission. This held true in 1977-78 despite a name
change and expansion of responsibility. Reorganization saw the
title Office of Informational Services, directly under the Office
of the Executive Director, replace previous divisional status.
Coming under the OIS wing was the FLORIDA WILDLIFE
magazine and the Publications Section, a brand new En-
dangered and Threatened Species Education Program and an
expanded Wildlife Reserve. However, the sportsmen of the state
remained the backbone of the conservation effort with activity at
both the state and regional level geared towards this goal.
The printed word has always been the traditional way of con-
veying the conservation message. Although it still remains one
of the most effective, the power of the electronic media cannot be
underestimated. Combining these two in an effective, organized
manner provides an additional impact and reaches more of the
affected citizenry.
At both the state and regional level, emphasis was placed on
opening lines of communication with the electronic media and
reestablishing the lines with representatives of the printed
word. An in depth look into the mechanics of preparing infor-
mation for distribution was undertaken with refinement of old
skills and education to new. Concentration on releasing timely
news releases to the media resulted in 379 releases being


distributed with an audience of some 126,700 people reached.
Twenty-five educational brochures on subjects ranging from the
Wildlife Reserve program to the Sunshine and Striped Bass were
produced and were distributed to an estimated 196,000 people.
Information requests answered totaled 27,500.
Regional officers continued their public speaking engagements
with an average of 12 a month. Additionally, 25 exhibits were
set up and manned at events ranging from county fairs, to gun
shows, to National Hunting and Fishing Day activities. The re-
gional officers also increased the number of personal contacts
made. Duties and responsibilities of each regional officer were
clarified and redefined to streamline management of infor-
This Section is responsible for publication not only of the
Commission's bimonthly magazine, FLORIDA WILDLIFE, but
also production of all in-house printing, camera-ready prep-
aration for outside printing and general supervision of some out-
side press work. In many cases, the staff is involved from the
moment an idea is conceived to distribution of the finished pro-
Six bimonthly issues of FLORIDA WILDLIFE were produced.
Efforts continue to upgrade and modernize the appearance of the

publication. The efforts of the staft in this direction were ro'ng- i
nized by the Southeastern Public Relations Federation which
presented the magazine with its Lantern Award for general ex-
Press run for each issue averaged 25,000 this year with a
modest increase in circulation realized. Funds, however, have
been provided for an increased circulation promotion which
should show results during the 1978-79 fiscal year.
Since what we see and what we hear affects how we think and
how we react, this section has the goal of demonstrating the
message of conservation in sight and sound. The section at-
tempts to demonstrate that Commission programs are aimed at
conservation and management of our fish and wildlife resources.
We supply accurate information on a continuous basis for nu-
merous Florida and out-of-state publications and individuals by
way of photos, basic information letters and printed material.
Considerable time was spent revising our "Fish Camp Guides."
These regional guides are very useful when answering out-of-
state requests for fishing information. The section prepared a
new approach to informing the public of some of our basic goals
concerning conservation for use at exhibits and fairs. These are
brief narrations with slides explaining the conservation efforts
of the various Commission divisions.This section prepared lay-
outs for publications which are distributed to the public. These
included the "Florida Hunting Handbook," basic fishing reg-
ulations, fish camp and boat ramp lists, fish management maps
and regulations, and numerous other items of printed material.
Our efforts toward reaching the public through the electronic
media have been greatly accelerated. The installation of re-
cording equipment has facilitated the ability to distribute public
information in a presentable form to a wide audience without
undue cost. A documentary slide presentation on the conserva-
tion activities of the Commission was completed and distributed
to all regions. This program has been widely used and much
favorable reaction has been received.
In a world where children often grow up isolated from the
wonders of nature, the two youth conservation camps have been
dedicated to changing that situation. Each summer, thousands
of youngsters take part in exploring Florida's woods and waters
and discovering mankind's role in the natural order of things.
Increased attendance was experienced at both camps during
the summer months. Additionally, thanks to maintenance funds,
a higher number of groups were able to utilize the facilities
during the winter months. Plans for the upcoming years include
implementation of the Young Adult Conservation Corps at both
camps to increase utilization of the facilities.

For more than ten years a group of concerned individuals in
the Central Region have given of their time and themselves to
conservation. As unpaid and oft unsung volunteers, they have
assisted the Commission in all phases of operation. No task has
been too menial or small for the Reserve to handle.
The end of this fiscal year saw funds allocated for the Reserve
to expand into two more regions, the Northwest and the Ever-
glades. Implementation will be cautious and based on the lessons
learned in the decade of service provided in the Central Region.
Reservists presently involved saw duty this year as check sta-
tion operators; as radio base station operators; posting bound
aries; search and rescue; manning various exhibits, shows and
fair displays; providing security for the Big Bass Seminar; as-
sisting in law enforcement patrol and instructing hunter safety
classes. All told, they donated more than 15,000 hours to the

Concern for the endangered and threatened species of the
state has prompted action by the Commission and the Florida
Legislature. Part of the concern and commitment resulted in
this new program designed to develop and distribute public edu-
cation programs for schools and the general public.
Through the use of educational television stations and their
studio staff, video-tape programs on endangered species were
produced. Many are viewed periodically on their respective sta-
tions with one, "Endangered Floridians," duplicated for public
school distribution.
Numerous live performances of original endangered species
music and synchronized slide programs were made. Slides of
endangered wildlife and their respective habitat and life history
were presented to a multitude of audiences from grade schoolers
to the Florida Cabinet.
Florida's volunteer hunter safety instructors teach a conserva-
tion course designed to make hunting not only safer, but better
understood and accepted among the nonhunting public.
The program consists of 12 hours of classroom instruction with
special emphasis on firearm and wildlife laws, safe gun handl-
ing, wildlife identification and management, first aid, survival
and marksmanship. The classroom segment is followed by a
range trip including line firing of a rifle, shotgun and bow.
Certification from this course is accepted by all 26 states that
require hunter education certification prior to purchase of a
hunting license.
The volunteer instructor corps now number more than 550.
During fiscal year 1977-78, 5,050 students participated in the
program and 4,366 completed the requirements for certification.
Classes are held throughout the state under the direction of
regional coordinators. The course is now taught in schools,
summer camps, sportsmen's clubs, scouts and most anywhere a
group requests a class.

July 1, 1977 through June 30, 1978

Unencumbered Cash at 7/1/77 ...................$ 239,636
General Revenue Funds 4,476,230
Licenses and Permits Funds 7,735,370
Aquatic Weed Funds 1,348,618
Federal Aid 2,417,167

Fisheries Management
Wildlife Management
Law Enforcement
Administrative Services
Information and Education
Environmental Protection
Everglades Recreation
Aquatic Weed Control
Fixed Capital Outlay
Land Purchase

$ 1,908,087

CASH ON HAND 6-30-78 $ 325,479
Unencumbered .............................. $ 245,362
Unencumbered for Land Purchase ................... 80,117

This public document was promulgated at an annual cost of $455.12 I
or $0.455 per copy, to inform the public of Commission activities.