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and Fresh Water Fish
1985k1986 Annual Report
:i~~ ~ ~ ~ i*. T -4,W~lF : i'
Article IV. Section 9. GAME AND FRESH WATER FISH COMMISSION
There shall be a game and fresh water fish commission, composed of five members appointed by the
governor subject to confirmation by the senate for staggered terms of five years. The commission shall
exercise the regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to wild animal life and fresh water
aquatic life, except that all license fees for taking wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life and penalties
for violating regulations of the commission shall be prescribed by specific statute. The legislature may enact
laws in aid of the commission, not inconsistent with this section. The commission's exercise of executive
powers in the area of planning, budgeting, personnel management, and purchasing shall be as provided by
law. Revenue derived from such license fees shall be appropriated to the commission by the legislature for
the purpose of management, protection and conservation of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IN TRO D U CTIO N ..................................................................................
EXECUTIVE D IRECTO R.........................................................................
D IVISIO N O F W ILD LIFE ....................................................................... 4
DIVISIO N O F FISHERIES .......................................... ...................... .1
OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES ..............................................6
DIVISION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ................................................ 9
OFFICE OF INFORMATIONAL SERVICES .............................................
DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES............................................6
T.L. GARRISON, Director
Route 4, Box 759
I'anama City, FL 32405
LARRY MARTIN, Director
Route 7, Box 440
Lake City, FL 32055
ROBERT R. BUTLER, Director
1239 S.W. 10th Street
Ocala, FL 32674
J.O. BROWN, Director
3900 Drane Field Road
Lakeland, FL 33811
O.(. KELLEY, Director
551 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
ROBERT M. BRANTLY
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600
Assistant Executive Director
WILLIAM C. SUMNER, Director
Division of Administrative Services
BRANTLEY GOODSON, Director
Division of Law Enforcement
DR. ALLAN L. EGBERT, Director
Division of Wildlife
SMOKIE HOLCOMB, Director
Division of Fisheries
BRADLEY J. HARTMAN, Director
DENNIS "DUKE" HAMMOND, Director
This publication was produced at an annual cost of $4,389, or $2.19 per copy,
to provide annual report information to the public about the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission. 86/7-032
Cover photo: This scene of a great blue heron, Ardea herodias, trying to devour a green water snake, Nerodia cyclopion floridana, was
captured on film by news photographer Jon Killen and is reproduced here by permission of the Leesburg Commercial newspaper.
Since its creation as a constitutional agency Jan. 1, 1943,
the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has
proudly assumed the leadership role in protection and
management of the 1,500 animal species that occur in
Five commissioners, each appointed by the governor to
serve five-year terms, draw no salary for their services to the
agency. Their duties are to set policies and to appoint an
executive director who is charged with carrying out the
During its early years, the Commission's responsibilities
were primarily those of gamekeeper, but eventually, the
complexities of modern times brought on the need for the
agency to assume new duties. Game wardens were to become
highly trained wildlife officers, and tradition was to give way
to science. At the same time, the importance of public
information and education would expand.
In 1973, for the first time, the Florida Legislature set aside
general revenue funds to boost the agency's ability to carry
out its overall program. Each year since then, the Legislature
has continued to appropriate funds to the Commission. For
1985-86, the appropriation was roughly $14 million of the
Commission's $31 million annual budget. Sale of hunting
and fishing licenses and permits accounts for roughly $10
million of the agency's funding.
Nongame wildlife-the 85 percent of wild species that
have not been traditionally hunted or classified as
endangered-is the subject of new conservation efforts. Such
creatures are affected by the habitat losses that result from
human population growth, and for that reason, vehicle
registration fees from new residents provide much of the
funding for the Commission's new Nongame Wildlife
Program. Also, individuals now have an opportunity to
voluntarily contribute $1 to the Nongame Wildlife Program
each time they renew their motor vehicle registration.
The ways and means of wisely managing nature must
reflect the ever-changing condition of nature. In that sense,
the task of an agency like the Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission is to adjust to reality rather than mold it.
Conservation is a process; not a stationary target.
Through the use of the latest scientific technology and the
most professional staff available, the Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission seeks to lend caution and intelligence to the
domination of humans over nature. This agency's efforts to
that end are summarized in this report.
WILLIAM G. BOSTICK JR.
MRS. GILBERT W. HUMPHREY
THOMAS L. HIRES SR.
C. TOM RAINEY, D.V.M.
J. H. BAROCO
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S DESK:
As executive director of Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, I serve as the
Commission's chief administrator with the responsibility for all functions of the agency as
well as serving as primary representative on various private, federal and state committees,
councils and boards. The staff of the office of the director consists of the assistant executive
director, senior executive assistant and regional directors. Support functions of this office
consist of legal counsel, internal auditing and agency planning.
The executive director and staff bear the responsibility of keeping the five-member
Commission informed concerning the current status of agency programs, and our mission is
to carry out the Commission's directives. Office support personnel assist the executive
director in formulation of departmental policies, research on major issues, and legal advice
and representation. Also included in the day-to-day activities of the office are legislative affairs
and supervision of regional, division and office directors. Support staff also is responsible for
drafting, reviewing and publishing Commission rules in the Wildlife Code of the State of
Florida. In addition, the staff conducts comprehensive internal audits and evaluates financial
systems to increase the Commission's internal control and promote economy and efficiency.
Under the direction of this office, the Commission has completed the development and
implementation of a planning and management system. The system consists of four phases:
annual inventory, five-year strategic plan, annual operational plan and annual evaluation.
During this report period, the second edition of the Commission's strategic plan was
published and the agency's operational plan for FY 86-87 was developed. The operational
plan consists of a detailed description of work to be done during FY 86-87 for each project in
each division or office. The operational plan implements, during a given year, portions of the
five-year strategic plan. The Program Cost Accounting System (PCAS), developed in FY 83-
84, was further refined during this fiscal year. The PCAS captures GFC costs for use in
evaluating Commission project and program accomplishments.
Also during this report period, the duties and responsibilities of the regional directors were
redirected. Previously called regional managers, the five regional directors represent the
executive director and the Commission in the five administrative regions. Beginning in FY 85-
86, the regional directors shifted their emphasis from day-to-day operational duties to the
assessment of programs and performance, and increased their efforts in interacting with other
governmental bodies and the public. This shift has provided continuous review and has
ensured closer coordination of Commission programs at the regional level.
It is our intention that this annual report will promote a clear understanding of this agency's
accomplishments in service to the State of Florida during fiscal year 1985-86.
Colonel Robert M. Brtly
The Division of Wildlife is charged with developing and
implementing management practices to ensure the
perpetuation of Florida's diverse wildlife. Degradation
and loss of habitat, and increasing demands for access to wildlife
resources dictate that the division undertake its responsibilities
with a firm base of scientific facts. Inventories of wildlife
populations, basic and applied wildlife research, and monitoring
of wildlife harvests are some of the means employed. The division
administers the largest system of public hunting areas in the
United States with 17 percent of the land in the state available to
WILDLIFE LAND MANAGEMENT
In a continuing effort to provide public hunting, the Division
of Wildlife administers Type I and Type II wildlife management
areas. In 1985-86 the Type I program comprised 4,367,494 acres
in 58 areas. A permit is required for use of these areas. Funds
from the sale of these permits are used for habitat management
and maintenance activities.
The division cooperates with six landowners in the 1,782,444-
acre Type II system. The Type II program is designed to
encourage landowners to open their lands to public hunting with
minor involvement by the Commission. These lands belong to
Buckeye Cellulose Corp., Southwest Forest Industries Inc.,
Gilman Paper Co., St. Regis Paper Co., St. Johns River Water
Management District and the U.S. Air Force. These landowners
require sportsmen to purchase permits to hunt, and the
Commission then offers law enforcement and technical assistance
to the landowners.
An additional 81,032 acres of land were made available for
public hunting in our wildlife and environmental area program.
Wildlife and environmental areas included were the Santa Fe
Swamp, L. Kirk Edwards, Apalachicola EEL, Choctawhatchee
and East Everglades.
During the 1985-86 season, hunters spent 1,433,006 man-days
hunting on the Type I system. A total of $500,000 was
i 1t OF WILDLIFE
distributed to 15 private landowners who made 1,342,975 acres
available under this program. Approximately one-third of the
Type I lands is in private ownership, with the balance being state
and federal property.
More than 50,000 hunters purchased permits from private
landowners to hunt on Type II wildlife management areas.
Habitat management programs completed this year on wildlife
management areas included control burning 111,784 acres,
planting 82,110 mast-producing tree seedlings and 900 acres of
wildlife food plots. A total of 748 acres was roller chopped to
provide improved habitat conditions for early successional
wildlife species. The Hickory Mound Impoundment at the
Aucilla Wildlife Management Area was maintained and managed
for public hunting and fishing. The Occidental and IMC wildlife
management areas (comprising 3,320 acres) were managed for
public waterfowl hunting in Hamilton and Polk counties. A total
of 350 quail feeders was maintained. Some 209 wood duck
nesting boxes were maintained and checked for hatchling
Bird dog field trials were conducted on Cecil M. Webb, Citrus
and Blackwater wildlife management areas as part of a continuing
program to provide field trial facilities and opportunities around
In 1985-86, the Cary Wildlife Management Area in Duval and
Nassau counties (3,372 acres) was added to the Type I Wildlife
Management Area system. This area will be opened for archery
hunting in the 1986-87 hunting season.
The issuance of antlerless deer permits and the establishment of
harvest quotas for antlerless or antlered deer are management
tools used on Type I wildlife management areas.
Deer herd management tools establish controls on the legal
harvest of antlerless deer from selected wildlife management areas
to ensure that an overharvest does not occur. The benefits of the
controlled antlerless deer harvests include: slower expansion of
deer herds bordering on overpopulation, balancing the sex ratio
of herds, and improving deer herd health and reproductive
performance. Additionally, controlled antlerless deer harvests
allow managers to optimize the harvest of deer herds while
maintaining desired population levels.
Antlerless deer permits were issued as part of the quota hunt
program during 1985-86. There were 1,915 antlerless deer
permits issued for 11 Type I wildlife management areas by
random drawing from hunters who were issued quota hunt
permits for one of the 11 selected wildlife management areas and
harvest quotas were established on nine additional areas.
Four additional controls were implemented during 1985-86 by
the Tallahassee office. Three of these were used to control
vehicles and walk hunters on three wildlife management areas in
the Everglades Region and the other to control hunting pressure
during spring turkey season on selected wildlife management
Quota hunt permits continued to be issued through a random
drawing during the June 1-10 period and on a first-come, first-
served basis thereafter.
During 1985-86, there were 52,420 nine-day and 12,150
special quota hunt permits available to the public. All special
quota hunt permits and 51,142 (98 percent) of the nine-day
quota permits were issued.
Two mail surveys were conducted during 1985-86. The
statewide mail survey used a five-percent random sample of the
hunting public and provided estimates on hunting pressure and
wildlife harvest on a statewide basis. The management area mail
survey used a 25-percent random sample of those individuals
purchasing management area stamps and provided hunting
pressure and harvest information unique to wildlife management
Everglades Recreation Project
Everglades Recreation Project personnel assisted with the
operation of managed hunts on the Everglades Wildlife
Management Area by manning check stations to collect biological
data from harvested deer. A total of 5,000 acres of sawgrass
marsh in the Everglades Wildlife Management Area was prescribe
burned during 1985-86. Aerial surveys were conducted from
aircraft to determine deer population levels and antlered-to-
antlerless deer ratios in the Everglades Wildlife Management
These personnel assisted with annual snail kite surveys in the
Everglades Wildlife Management Area. In addition, 250 bobcat
scats were collected and food habits were determined from their
contents. Twenty-nine alligator nests were located, marked and
monitored for productivity and nesting success and 76 alligator
hatchlings were tagged. Two-day-use recreation sites were
maintained during 1985-86. Periodic checks of water levels in the
conservation areas were made. Surveys were conducted of wading
bird rookery sites.
The Bureau of Wildlife Resources provides an array of public
services. Technical assistance is provided to landowners wanting
information and guidance on wildlife management practices.
Animal damage complaints and alligator control are
responsibilities of regional bureau staff. The bureau performs
routine monitoring and population surveys of game, nongame
and endangered species.
Wildlife Extension Services
White-tailed deer are the most popular big game animals in
Florida, with the state's deer population now standing at probably
more than 600,000. The division assists private landowners and
lease holders by providing guidelines on sound deer management.
Approximately 545 private landowners controlling 1,744,121
acres were issued 9,583 tags for antlerless deer. A total of 3,896
antlerless deer was reported harvested. Proper management of a
growing deer population requires reduction of female deer to
maintain herds within habitat carrying capacity limits.
The total deer harvest for Florida in 1985-86, on both private
property and public hunting areas, was estimated at 80,947.
Florida Buck Registry
The Florida Buck Registry provides meaningful and
understandable records of the number and quality of white-tailed
deer taken in Florida. The scoring procedure is based on the
system developed by the Boone and Crockett Club. To date, 807
bucks have been scored. Of those, 713 have scored 100 or more
inches, which qualified them for the registry. The largest thus far
was 168 Vs inches and was taken in Gadsden County in 1977.
Nuisance Wildlife Control
Bureau of Wildlife Resources biologists investigated and made
corrective management recommendations regarding the numerous
incidents of farm and citrus grove damage inflicted by white-
tailed deer. More problems were resolved by recommending a
harvest of part of the doe population in the immediate area
during the regular hunting season. However, 35 permits were
issued outside-the established deer hunting season to remove 151
deer causing significant crop depredation. Division staff also
handled a constant flow of requests and complaints from the
public concerning blackbirds, treefrog choruses, woodpeckers on
houses, snakes, raccoons, foxes and others. The majority of the
complaints originated from people in the Everglades and South
An experimental harvest began in 1981 in an effort to
determine whether alligators could sustain a limited annual
harvest. The first four years of the experiment were restricted to
Orange, Lochloosa and Newnans lakes in the Northeast Region.
The Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission's Experimental
Alligator Harvest Program has expanded to include lakes lamonia
and Miccosukee near Tallahassee; Lake George and Rodman
Reservoir in the Central Region; Lake Trafford in the Everglades
Region; and Lake Hancock in the South Region. Wetlands on
two private ranches, Deseret and Babcock Ranches in Florida,
also were included. A harvest of 15 percent of the alligators over
four feet long on these public areas and nine feet and larger on
private wetlands yielded 761 alligators averaging 7.5 feet. Total
values of hides and meat produced was $138,400 (5,738 ft.) and
$140,535 (28,107 Ibs.) respectively. For a total gross economic
value of $278,935. The average income of the 58 hunters who
participated in the public lake harvests was $4,270, while the
average income on the private wetlands was $15,635. Although
several population parameters were monitored on experimental
harvest areas, no significant changes are yet apparent. Continued
monitoring of population density, reproductive effort and
physical condition is planned to evaluate the impact of harvest on
The Florida Duck Stamp Act of 1979 requires persons hunting
waterfowl in Florida to possess Florida Waterfowl Stamps.
Seventy percent of the revenues generated are allocated to the
management of the state's resident and migratory waterfowl.
During 1985-86, 24,042 stamps were sold, generating $50,488
for waterfowl management activities.
As part of the ongoing effort to improve the management of
resident waterfowl, a summer banding program was conducted.
This resulted in the banding of 1,072 mottled ducks, 117 fulvous
whistling-ducks, 100 Canada geese and 44 wood ducks. Band
recovery data provide a basis for monitoring harvest and
mortality rates, and for estimating fall populations of certain
Beginning in 1977, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
permitted southeastern states the opportunity to liberalize wood
duck harvest regulations. Management personnel examined the
effects of these regulations on wood ducks for the Atlantic
Flyway Council. Wood duck harvest, recovery rates, and survival
were compared before and after liberalization. Based on this
analysis, it appears that such a special season can be used to
enhance recreational opportunities without jeopardizing the
sustained welfare of wood duck populations.
In response to reports that potentially large numbers of ducks
were being caught on commercial trotlines in Lake Okeechobee, a
study was conducted during the winter of 1985-86 to determine
the impact of trotline fisheries on the waterfowl resource on the
lake. Results of the study indicated approximately 7,481 scaup,
or eight percent of the estimated average winter population of
97,071, were killed during the winter as a result of trotline fishing
The ring-necked duck, an abundant wintering species in
Florida, accounts for about 30 percent of the average annual
harvest. Management program personnel banded 714 ring-necked
ducks in an ongoing effort to assess changes in the status and
abundance of this species. A new technique developed to more
accurately age banded birds was analyzed.
In 1983, the Commission and FWS entered into a five-year
cooperative agreement to develop reliable survey techniques for
monitoring mottled duck population trends. The third annual
survey, flown in March 1986, suggests that the 1986 breeding
population is down almost 40 percent, even though water
conditions were slightly improved from 1985.
The Bureau of Wildlife Research addressed problems
associated with management of Florida's wildlife, with special
emphasis on life history studies of nongame and endangered
species. The research provided knowledge that is essential for the
development of effective management programs. Bureau of
Wildlife Research staff is based at the Wildlife Research
Laboratory in Gainesville and the Big Cypress Wildlife Field
Office in Naples.
All four known crocodile nests on Key Largo in 1985
successfully produced young. However, because of the unusual
drought conditions during the incubation period, many embryos
died due to egg desiccation, and the number of young produced
was low relative to previous years. Only 25 hatchlings were
tagged on Key Largo in 1985; 17 from a single nest. Nest surveys
in 1986 disclosed at least six (possibly seven) active nests, an
encouraging increase over previous years. Animals originally
tagged as hatchlings in 1982 (one), 1983 (six) and 1984 (five)
were recaptured during 1985-86.
Barbour's Map Turtle
Basking surveys for Barbour's map turtles on the Chipola River
were completed in 1985-86. This survey provides baseline data
for future assessment of population trends. There was a total of
59 survey miles conducted along the Chipola River between
Marianna and Clarksville. Of 505 turtles seen well enough to
allow positive identification, Barbour's map turtles comprised
43.8 percent; river cooters and yellow-bellied turtles accounted
for 54.3 percent. Barbour's map turtles were seen at a rate of
3.68 per river mile, but many stretches of the river provided few
suitable basking sites, and counts were found to be strongly
affected by the time of day.
Florida Bog Frog
The distributional survey of the Florida bog frog was
completed in 1985-86. The species was found at 23 locations in
Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. Most of the
locations (20) are on Eglin Air Force Base, but three sites lie in
small streams just north of Eglin in Santa Rosa County. This
species is restricted to areas of acid seepage and boggy overflow
pools along seepage fed streams. Because of its limited
distribution and narrow habitat tolerance, the bog frog is
considered vulnerable to factors such as stream impoundment or
long-term succession, which would eliminate or severely modify
the character of streamside habitats.
Commercially Exploited Reptiles/Amphibians
Of 136 native species of reptiles and amphibians, 108 species
and most populations of 10 others currently are subject to
essentially unregulated exploitation. Commission regulations were
reviewed to determine whether they provided an adequate
framework for the protection of these resources. Regulation
changes were recommended to remedy many of the exploitation
A total of 148 feather tissue samples were collected at five
colonies during the 1986 breeding season for later electrophoretic
analysis. The results from tissue collected in 1985 suggest little
difference between individual colonies, but a relatively high
amount of genetic variation statewide. Most central and north
Florida stork colonies were active during the 1986 breeding
season, however the number of nests were less than during 1985.
Two new colonies were discovered in north Florida.
The total of 407 snail kites observed during the 1985 survey
represents a 39.1 percent decrease in the number of kites
observed in 1984. Significant increases in kite numbers were
found at Lakes Tohopekalega and Kissimmee, Lake Park
Reservoir and Conservation Area 3B, while notable decreases
occurred in Conservation Areas 2B and 3A. Conservation Area
3A continues to be used by the most kites with 41.8 percent of
the state's population observed there.
Gopher tortoise status surveys during FY 1985-86 revealed
continuing destruction of Florida's coastal scrub habitat despite
preservation efforts by local and regional planning councils.
Preliminary data indicate that tortoise use of scrubby flatwoods,
pine flatwoods, and dry palmetto prairies is more common than
previously thought. Additional surveys are needed to determine if
these heretofore "marginal" areas constitute major habitats for
the gopher tortoises in southern Florida. To date, 374 tortoises
have been marked in conjunction with long-term population
dynamics research. An investigation of gopher tortoise
movements continued for the second year on the Lochloosa
Wildlife Management Area in Alachua County. Twenty-one
tortoises of various age classes have been radio-instrumented.
Data regarding activity range, number of burrows used, social
interactions, nesting locations, and response to forestry practices
are being gathered.
During the year, 11 bears were captured and radio-collared in
the Ocala National Forest in north-central Florida. Four
additional bears were released into the forest. The characteristics
of winter bedding areas were determined for several instrumented
bears. These areas were in dense vegetation; the nest was typically
a circular mound of plant debris. To assay hibernation in Florida
bears, blood samples were collected from 25 different bears
throughout the year. No trends indicative of hibernation were
observed in the serum values of blood urea nitrogen and
creatinine. Radio-instrumented bears, however, displayed reduced
movements in winter, often bedding for short periods of time.
Additional observations of winter movements and serum analysis
will provide further insight.
Annual experimental alligator harvests were conducted on
Orange, Lochloosa, and Newnans lakes from 1981-1985.
Approximately 15 percent of the alligators four feet and longer
were harvested each year. Populations on all three hunted areas as
well as a controlled area, Lake Woodruff, showed no significant
changes during the study. Alligator nest production remained
stable on all study areas except Orange Lake where nesting
increased almost 50 percent. Daytime visibility of alligators on
Newnans Lake decreased slightly during the four years of harvest
on that lake.
An experimental removal of alligator eggs and hatchlings was
conducted on Lakes Griffin, Apopka, and Jessup from 1981-85
to determine the impact of early age-class harvest on alligator
populations. An estimated 50 percent of the annual production
was removed each year, producing a total of 12,844 hatchling
alligators that were distributed to participating alligator farms
during the five-year study. Alligator populations showed no
significant changes on Lake Griffin and a controlled lake, Lake
Woodruff. However, the Lake Jessup population increased
significantly and the Lake Apopka population decreased
significantly during the study.
Population decreases on Lake Apopka were attributed to
reproductive problems rather than effects of harvest. Because
reproductive problems on Lake Apopka may be caused by
environmental pollution, investigations are underway to
determine if toxic substances are responsible.
In related investigations, a study was conducted to determine
the optimum time to collect alligator eggs. Findings indicate that
hatch rates are not significantly affected if eggs are handled
carefully during the fragile stage in early incubation. Early
collections preclude egg mortality due to predation and flooding
and, therefore, optimize hatchling production.
Food habits investigations included study areas from the
expanded alligator harvest (Lakes Miccosukee, lamonia, George,
Hancock, Trafford, and Rodman Reservoir). Preliminary analyses
indicated that fish and reptiles (including other small alligators)
constitute the largest proportion of the diet of larger alligators.
An analysis of heavy metal contamination in meat from
alligators harvested on wetlands in Florida indicated that toxic
metal concentrations were below minimum levels for human
consumption. Growth rate analyses conducted on Orange Lake
from 1975-85 indicate that it takes six years for alligators to
reach four feet in length and 10-12 years for females to reach six
feet (sexual maturity). Growth rates slow down between two and
four feet in length then speed up again after they reach four feet.
Florida bald eagles experienced an above-average nesting year.
A total of 429 young were fledged in 247 successful nests and
329 active territories. These rates are representative of a healthy
population. Florida is being looked upon as the source to supply
eagle young for reintroduction to other southern states and
studies are being conducted to determine if this practice can be
continued without adverse impact to Florida's population.
Sandhill Crane/Whooping Crane
Sandhill crane studies to evaluate the feasibility of producing a
non-migratory flock of whooping cranes in Florida continued as
planned. This was a most successful year for cross-fostering eggs
of a migratory subspecies of sandhills into nests of the non-
migratory Florida sandhill crane. Eight eggs of migratory greater
sandhill cranes were substituted for the natural clutch in six nests
of non-migratory Florida sandhill cranes. Six eggs hatched. Four
young survived and were banded and radio-tagged just prior to
fledging. The two greater sandhills produced by this procedure in
past years still are in Florida. Neither has shown any propensity
to migrate. Adjunct to this study was the "soft" release of 15
greater sandhills in Florida on April 4 to test the release
technique as well as their likelihood of remaining non-migratory.
The birds had been captive-reared at the Patuxent Wildlife
Research Center (USFWS). Twelve of the birds continue to
survive after three months; the other three were killed by
bobcats. The survivors are functional members of a wild flock of
subadults in the area where they were released. Like the cross-
fostered young, the soft-released birds showed no tendency to
migrate. The spring 1987 migration season will be the definitive
test for this group.
The Florida Panther Record Clearinghouse received,
categorized and filed 215 panther reports this year. The total
number of reports filed since the inception of the clearinghouse is
2,388. Twenty-three of this year's reports were investigated either
by evidence submitted to the clearinghouse or by field
investigation. This brings the total number of reports investigated
to 354. Of these, 84 (24 percent) provided conclusive evidence
Since panther tracks were discovered near Christmas, Fla., in the
Tosohatchee State Preserve on Jan. 3, 1986, monthly surveys
conducted in that area and the Bull Creek Wildlife Management
Area revealed panther signs found on two occasions in
Tosohatchee and additional panther signs found in the St. Johns
Marsh near Lake Poinsette. We believe these signs represent at
least two and possibly three individual panthers.
Panther habitat evaluation criteria were developed and worked
into a "Panther Habitat Evaluation Form" which was sent to all
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission wildlife
biologists and others knowledgeable about large tracts of
relatively wild land. A compilation of the evaluation forms
returned will be used to establish an initial priority list of
potential panther reintroduction sites.
Captive-breeding facilities for panthers were built at Gilman
Paper Co.'s White Oak Plantation near Yulee. The male panther
that was held in captivity at the Wildlife Research Laboratory in
Gainesville since being hit by a car in 1984 was moved to the new
facilities. Three female mountain lions from Texas also were
brought to Florida for use as surrogates in the captive-breeding
project. After being held in quarantine at theWildlife Research
Laboratory, they also were moved to White Oak Plantation.
Intensive monitoring of six, radio-collared Florida panthers has
taken place since March 1. A male kitten, collared south of
Alligator Alley in Collier County was re-collared in May 1986.
Since the previous January he had gained 21 pounds (.2
pounds/day) and appeared in generally good health until he was
killed by another panther during a territorial battle.
Night-time monitoring indicated a trend for some panthers to
use unforested open landscapes apparently for hunting. An adult
female panther captured in January 1986, gave birth to at least
two kittens in early May 1986. Frequent monitoring of her
behavior has revealed three deer kills, a den site, and the
observation of her and her offspring on several occasions.
Locations of all six cats have revealed a spatial and temporal
pattern that suggests a well-defined social arrangement.
Analysis of age and reproductive data from otter carcasses was
completed this year. Carcasses were from animals trapped or shot
during the 1978-1981 harvest seasons. Mating was determined to
occur in late January or early February followed by a 10-month
period of delayed implantation. Most implantations of embryos
occur during November and December followed by a 61-day
gestation period. Because otters are in some stage of pregnancy
throughout the year, no change in the current harvest season was
recommended. Life-table analysis revealed a 35 percent mortality
rate during the collection period and further analysis using a
population model revealed that the population was stable during
that same period. These findings are significant since the period
studied was one of unprecedented high pelt values and harvest
Before the advent of this new program in the Commission, our
state had no active conservation program specifically for nongame
wildlife. Nongame wildlife includes animals not classified as game
nor as threatened or endangered. These animals compromise 85
percent of the wildlife species found in the state, and include
herons and hawks, bats and butterflies, salamanders and
songbirds, snakes and owls, and many others.
Nongame Wildlife Program (NGWP) staffing was completed
this year, less than two years after the program's start. There now
are 25 regional biologists employed and working in virtually
every region of the state.
During the 1985-86 fiscal year, wildlife conservation efforts
were focused in eight areas: (1) research grants and consultation
coordination, (2) survey and population monitoring, (3) urban
wildlife management, (4) conservation education, (5) technical
assistance, (6) habitat management, (7) data management, and (8)
planning and evaluation.
A solid foundation of facts, furnished by research in the
biological and social sciences, lends credence and effectiveness to
NGWP efforts aimed at setting regulations, managing wildlife
habitats, providing technical advice to landowners, evaluating new
legislation, and increasing public awareness and understanding of
Thirty-seven project proposals were submitted for funding to
the Nongame Wildlife Grants Program during fiscal year 1985-
86. Each proposal was subjected to peer review and to review by
the nongame research grants selection committee. Six projects
selected for funding include: a book on Florida birds; a guide to
common Florida butterflies; a study of the distribution of
foraging wading birds in relation to the physical and biological
characteristics of freshwater wetlands in southwest Florida; the
distribution, ownership, status and habitat characteristics of bald
eagle nests in Florida; research on endemism and Florida's
interior sand pine scrubs; and development of the Florida Breeding
Bird Atlas. Funding for these new projects for fiscal year 1985-86
totaled $95,793. Additionally, $189,206 went to support
ongoing grants from fiscal year 1984-85. Spending for research
grants for 1985-86 totaled $285,000.
NGWP staff reviewed progress reports of ongoing research and
made several site visits to sponsored projects. Guidelines for
submission of research proposals were refined and nongame
research objectives and priorities for Florida were more
Survey and Population Monitoring
NGWP biologists designed statewide surveys for wading birds
and upland breeding species that will be implemented annually
beginning in fiscal year 1986-87. NGWP staff also coordinated
the statewide breeding bird surveys, delineated 40 new routes,
and conducted some of the surveys. A summary report on the
surveys was prepared and submitted for publication. Several local
wildlife surveys also were conducted by NGWP biologists.
Urban Wildlife Management
The Commission entered into a cooperative agreement with the
Institute of Food and Agricultural Services at the University of
Florida to establish a cooperative urban wildlife management
program. NGWP funds will support three urban wildlife
management specialists. The urban wildlife program will feature
habitat management, wildlife education and appreciation, and
technical assistance to homeowners with unwelcomed wildlife.
NGWP staff provided technical assistance to the public and
other agencies on a wide variety of topics including wildlife
identification (especially snakes), attracting, housing and feeding
birds, backyard habitat management, and nuisance animal
problems (such as woodpecker damage and armadillo lawn
depredation). Information on nongame wildlife enhancement
techniques was provided to county park and recreation
departments and golf courses. Staff biologists also made field
inspections and provided guidance to developers to protect
gopher tortoises, ospreys and bald eagles. NGWP biologists
developed a biological opinion on the potential impacts on
Florida's natural environment of black-tailed jackrabbit
NGWP biologists prepared a process and guidelines for
assessing nongame wildlife resources and potential nongame
projects on wildlife management areas, surveyed and posted
fragile bird nesting areas and rookeries, and identified several
other vulnerable wildlife nesting, maternity and feeding locations
that will be designated in a protected status.
Recognizing that information is essential to actions taken in
support of wildlife management and conservation activities,
NGWP staff initiated and developed several important data bases.
A library data base that is an inventory of all the Commission's
reference materials, including books, reprints, periodicals and
research papers was implemented. The library offers the data base
user easy access to the Commission's holdings through a cross-
reference system. NGWP staff also began the complex task of
evaluating the feasibility of creating a species information data
base and drafted an initial data structure for this data base. A
constituency and a directory of contacts data base were
Planning and Evaluation
Field work for a public opinion survey to determine the
attitudes, interests, and desires of Floridians concerning nongame
wildlife was completed by the Survey Research Center at Florida
State University, and initial analysis of the results began. A
complementary project was initiated focusing on Floridians and
wildlife and sociological research implications for wildlife
activities of the NGWP in the future. Finally, a pilot project was
initiated to test the effectiveness of descriptive inserts added to
vehicle registration renewal notices in generating contributions to
the Nongame Wildlife Program.
DIVISION OF FISHERIES
he Division of Fisheries' objective is to provide optimum
sustained use of freshwater fish for Florida's citizens and
visitors. Although Florida's 3 million acres of freshwater
lakes and 12,000 miles of streams and rivers provide some of the
world's best fishing and outdoor recreation, those resources have
to be shared by a human population that is growing by nearly a
quarter-million permanent new residents each year. To fisheries
resources, that means more fishing pressure and degraded
fisheries habitat. Finding financially feasible ways, within our
scope of responsibility, to offset those problems is the challenge
confronting the Division of Fisheries.
A recent national poll by a major sporting magazine indicated
that fishing was the second most popular sport in America. In
Florida's fresh waters, over 2 million fishermen generate well in
excess of $1 billion annually in cash flow, and largemouth bass
fishermen alone account for approximately $615 million. From
this brief synopsis, it is easy to see that fishing is a major asset to
Florida's economy and is important to the recreational enjoyment
of millions of citizens and tourists.
In addition to the sportfisheries' value, dockside commercial
harvest from fresh water exceeds $10 million annually, and
cultured fish contribute another $30 million to the state's
economy. The malor air freight leaving Florida is ornamental fish.
Moreover, 95 pert ent of the ornamental fishes sold throughout
the country either are raised here or shipped through Florida
During FY 1985-86, the division's budget increased
significantly thanks to the 1984 sportfish enhancement
legislation. The Wallop-Breaux Act provided additional revenues
to the states, in the form of 3:1, federal:state cost sharing, for
sportfish enhancement and boating access projects. The advantage
of the act is that it is based on the "user pays" concept, since
program funds come from excise taxes on fishing tackle, pleasure
boats and motorboat fuel taxes. The additional revenues will, by
1986-87, begin to establish or expand projects including: a boat
ramp construction/ repair project, a Lake
Okeechobee/Kissimmee River project, an intensive management
program for Commission-managed impoundments, the
Ochlockonee River project, an urban fisheries development
project, a fisheries data analysis project and a fisheries genetics
project. In addition, a fisheries education project is being added
within the Office of Informational Services, which will coordinate
its activities with the Division of Fisheries.
These new projects will increase our understanding of fisheries
dynamics and allow us to improve our management strategies for
enhancing sportfish populations, and increasing anglers' and
boaters' enjoyment of their sports. Due to the source of these
revenues, funds may not be used for commercial fishing or
nongame fish studies. Although we are proud of our
achievements thus far, there are many tasks left to be done. Most
important among these are improving fisheries habitats, regulating
harvest, preserving native fish stocks, and finding or developing
fish that are capable of living in altered and degraded habitats.
With regard to improving fisheries habitats, the Division of
Fisheries has made many significant and innovative contributions,
in spite of the fact that other state agencies have regulatory
responsibility for two of the major aspects of fish's
environment-water quality and aquatic plants. Most important
of these contributions is development of the drawdown
technique, which was first discussed around 1955. The division
has been successful in restoring fisheries and improving water
quality in nearly 90 percent of its drawdown efforts. In addition,
aquatic plant transplants, wetlands revitalization and fish attractor
installations have been beneficial.
Concerning regulation of resource harvest and fishing pressure,
the division's goal is to develop management regulations which
will encourage enjoyment of our fisheries but will prevent
overharvest, so a maximum number of people can share in that
enjoyment. To accomplish this goal we must tailor regulations to
many different situations and base them on interactions of four
factors-habitat, existing fish population, estimates of fishing
pressure, and expectations of predominant user groups. Because
of the importance of quality and not just quantity, the current
focus is on slot limits, which protect a specific size of fish. Slot
limits allow anglers to harvest fish below a specified minimum
length, to give anglers an opportunity to take fish home and to
prevent an increase in the number of small fish, which otherwise
would compete for food and retard the growth of other fish,
while protecting critical size classes from overfishing. In addition,
a slot limit allows taking fish over a specified length, so fishermen
can also take and use trophy fish.
In preserving native fish species, our greatest concerns are with
fish that never were numerous and that have restrictive
environmental needs. One such concern is for the Gulf Coast
stock of striped bass. These fish appear to be more warm water
tolerant and to have denser eggs than their Atlantic cousins.
Protecting both the Gulf and Atlantic coast stocks of these fish is
complicated by the fact that Florida Statutes place striped bass
under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources,
based on their traditional description as anadromous (meaning
they spawn in fresh water but mature in salt water). However,
striped bass in Florida are at the extreme southern end of their
range, tend to stay in the rivers more than northern populations
do, and no longer spawn naturally with sufficient success to
maintain a fishery. Therefore, the Division of Fisheries has for
years artificially spawned stripers and stocked coastal rivers to
prevent loss of the fishery. It will be helpful in preserving the
Florida stocks of striped bass, if we can acquire the cooperation
of the Department of Natural Resources and the Marine Fisheries
Commission in an effort to legally recognize striped bass as a
With regard to finding or developing fish which can thrive in
altered and degraded habitats, we take a conservative approach
and adhere to an elaborate system of research and safeguards
prior to considering any releases. However, use of non-native
fish, hybrids or genetically altered fishes is increasingly becoming
an important alternative. The need for such fish is based upon the
fact that man is altering fisheries habitats much more rapidly than
fish can adapt. Take, for instance, power plant reservoirs, box-cut
canals or hypereutrophic lakes, these systems are often better
suited for sportfish of some other origin than native species.
BUREAU OF FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
The Bureau of Fisheries Management is responsible for
implementing sound fisheries management programs to ensure
the most current techniques available are used to preserve and
enhance the state's fisheries. One of the bureau's sections
includes the five regional fisheries management projects. Their
objective is the improvement of sportfishing in the state by
managing fish populations and providing technical services to the
general public. In addition, two major fisheries resource areas-
Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes-have
specific projects to promote careful management of them.
In the South Region, Webb Lake Fish Management Area
(FMA) is a low-fertility system that has a fish-for-fun regulation
on bass (i.e., all bass must be released immediately) which is
receiving favorable comments from the public. Also in the South
Region, the Saddle Creek FMA, which is a more fertile system
but which receives extensive fishing pressure, is being studied to
determine if a slot-limit will improve fishing quality and anglers'
In the Northeast Region, the urban fishery study has gained
momentum by the addition of a biologist stationed in Jacksonville
to coordinate efforts with the city recreation department. Studies
to date have shown farm pond management techniques (e.g.,
liming and fertilizing) and catfish stocking can produce good
fishing in these ponds.
In the Northwest Region several man-made FMAs are being
managed intensively. Management in these impoundments has
demonstrated a three-fold increase in bass harvest, and a nine-
fold increase in bream harvest compared to similar unmanaged
In the Everglades Region, an unexpected fishery for Oscars has
developed (a non-native fish that was released illegally in south
Florida from a tropical fish farm). These fish have been
established in the Everglades for about 25 years, but suddenly
this year the population of harvestable fish expanded some 10-
fold, and local fishing guides began taking customers out
specifically for these exotic cichlids. The Everglades fisheries
management team also has been preparing 157-acre Lake
Okeeheelee, at West Palm Beach, for opening as a FMA by
transplanting vegetation, installing fish attractors, fertilizing the
lake and evaluating the fishery. As a result, it has been decided to
recommend a fish-for-fun bass regulation.
In the Central Region, major fish kills in Lake Oklawaha
(Rodman Reservoir) led to efforts to coordinate a drawdown,
and subsequent scheduling of routine water level fluctuations,
with the Corps of Engineers (COE). Currently, these efforts look
like they will be successful, and plans to add a time-limited
position to conduct a detailed creel survey of the lake, using
funds transferred from the COE, are to be initiated. In Lake
Weir, a 5,686-acre lake, sampling has shown an unexplained
collapse of the black crappie population, which has provided a
substantial fishery. Other sportfish occasionally appear to have an
anemic condition. Extensive efforts are being made to determine
the cause. Auburn University will investigate parasites and disease
factors, the Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) will
examine water quality issues including pesticides, and our
chemistry laboratory will test for heavy metal residues.
The Kissimmee Project is initiating plans for a third drawdown
of Lake Tohopekaliga. The actual drawdown, thanks to water
control structures already in place, can be conducted at virtually
no cost. However, muck removal would cost nearly $3 million.
That money is not available, but it appears that we may receive
some funds from the Pollution Recovery Trust Fund to enable us
to contract the South Florida Water Management District to at
least remove the deposits that are forming an artificial shoreline
that prevents fish from getting to historic spawning areas.
Support functions are provided by several statewide projects.
Fish hatcheries are situated in the Richloam and Blackwater state
forests. In FY 1985-86 they produced and stocked 3.5 million
fish, including largemouth bass, bream, striped bass, catfish and
A three-man boat ramp project began operations this year. The
annual goal is to build three new ramps and repair 20 existing
ramps. These projects have a high priority, not only due to
federal aid guidelines which require that 10 percent of the
federal aid allocation be spent on boating access, but also
because constructing ramps can open up previously under-used
areas and take the pressure off other lakes.
A fish attractor project continues to construct 30 attractors
each year and is well received by the fishing public. Attractors
which are constructed out of concrete blocks, brush and tree
limbs, help to congregate fish and make them more accessible to
A lake restoration project uses several techniques to revitalize
degraded lakes through lake drawdowns, muck removal
programs, implementing water-level fluctuation schedules,
establishment of wetlands, alleviation of urban/agricultural
runoff problems, elimination of point source pollutants and
transplanting aquatic vegetation. Unfortunately, plenty of lakes
are in need of restoration. However, the Commission does not
have funding to restore them. Instead, the project develops
feasibility studies and attempts to persuade city or county
commissions or other agencies to fund the project. Three projects
are being developed for next year. These are: Lake Lawne, Banana
Lake and Lake Tohopekaliga (which is being coordinated with the
Kissimmee River Project).
The Bureau of Fisheries Management, through the Commercial
Fisheries Section, spends approximately $380,000 annually on
programs of research, extension and management in the areas of
commercial fisheries and aquaculture. Biologists in this section
have completed a six-year evaluation of fisheries resources in the
St. Johns River, assessed impacts of commercial fishing gear on
these resources and conducted a three-year catfish tagging
investigation in the river. Pioneering research on culture in
Florida of hybrid striped bass as food also was conducted by
biologists in this section. Over 3,900 requests for information on
aquaculture were processed. In addition, impacts of commercial
fishing were accessed on Lake Okeechobee through monitoring of
commercial harvests on the lake, conducting creel surveys, and
investigating largemouth bass and black crappie population
The final component of the bureau is the Aquatic Plant
Section. This section includes two projects which review permits
for aquatic plant control to ensure a balanced approach to
providing access without eliminating submergent plants which are
critical fisheries habitat components. The majority of permits
reviewed are chemical permit applications received by the
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for aquatic plant
control in Class I (potable use) or Class III waters (fish, wildlife
and recreational use). In addition, permit applications for use of
triploid grass carp are processed, following a mandatory on-site
inspection of the problem area, and a recommendation is made
for a specific number of fish to be stocked. Finally, some studies
are conducted to refine stocking rates for triploid grass carp and
to monitor their effectiveness as a management tool for control of
Bureau of Fisheries Research
The primary purpose of the Bureau of Fisheries Research is to
conduct innovative research on methods to enhance the
population size and structure of freshwater fishes and to
investigate the biology of Florida's important resource systems. A
secondary goal is to maintain an up-to-date data base on existing
fish populations and structures, water quality indices, user-group
attitudes and desires, and angler successes.
As with the Bureau of Fisheries Management, this bureau has
projects which deal with specific resource areas and others that
are statewide in scope. Specific resource areas that are emphasized
are North Florida Streams, the St. Johns River, the Ochlockonee
River Watershed, the Oklawaha basin, and the Apalachicola
River and Lake Seminole.
The North Florida Streams Project has begun to develop a data
base which may demonstrate greater sportfishing benefits, and
establish that it is economically preferable to stock phase II
sunshine bass (6-9 inches) rather than phase I fingerlings (1-2
inches) in open systems. Whereas 98.8 percent of the sunshine
bass stocked in 1983 were fingerlings, only 47 percent of the fish
caught by anglers were from the fingerlings, thus demonstrating
that phase II fish give higher returns to the angler. More detailed
studies now will attempt to determine the biological and
economical implications of these findings, as well as their
repeatability. Another interesting finding, which requires further
research, is that largemouth bass in the Escambia River marsh
grow very slowly. Whether this is a genetic problem that can be
corrected, a genetic adaptation which enhances their survival in
brackish water, or strictly an environmental effect has yet to be
The St. Johns River receives the attention of two research
projects, one in the lower river and the other in the upper. In the
upper river an interesting observation was made while monitoring
radio-tagged largemouth bass. As a slug of water moved down
the river bringing with it a high biological oxygen demand that
depleted the oxygen supply, the bass tried to flee. Their escape
was cut off, however, when they encountered a dense mat of
hydrilla, and the polluted water slug caught up with them and
suffocated the tagged bass, along with thousands of other bass
Crerl surveys in the lower St. Johns revealed excellent catch
rates ii the south end of Lake George: 0.34 bass per hour, 2.58
bream per hour and 2.54 black crappie per hour. In addition,
fishing for bream had remained stable, while bass fishing effort
increased slightly, and fishing for black crappie (+377 percent)
and striped/sunshine bass (+111 percent) increased dramatically.
A tagging study on the lower St. Johns River gave no indication
of natural striped bass reproduction nor of sunshine bass
immigration. It did point out the importance of the
Commission's striper stocking program to maintaining the river
The Ochlockonee River Watershed Project focused its
attention on Lake Talquin and Lake Jacksor. In Lake Talquin an
11-14 inch slot limit was imposed for largemouth bass in an
effort to protect the excellent 1984 year class, which resulted
from a lake drawdown, and to prolong the benefits of the
restoration effort. In Lake Jackson, the shift from a major
largemouth bass fishery to a bream fishery is continuing.
Threadfin shad, which were introduced in the 1970s and early
1980s, should enhance bass survival and growth rates. In
addition, hydrilla seems to be coming on strong in the lake, and if
it can be managed to allow both boating access and good fisheries
habitat, the bass fishery should improve.
The Oklawaha Basin Project concentrated on a drawdown
program to revitalize the fisheries of Lake Griffin. Beginning in
March 1984, the lake was lowered enough to expose about 30
percent of the bottom and kept down for 53 days. This was
substantially short of our general objectives of exposing 50
percent or more of the bottom for three months prior to the
rainy season. However, weather and other factors did not fully
cooperate. In spite of not meeting all of the intermediate
drawdown goals, we are expecting a substantial response in the
vegetation community and in the sport fishery, especially for
The Apalachicola River Project is heavily involved in
protecting the fisheries resources from man's intrusive activities.
Dead Lakes Dam is a sheet-pile dam that impounds part of the
Chipola River. The dam is scheduled for removal, with the
support of the Commission, if all of the necessary permits can be
obtained, and if resistance from riparian landowners does not
scuttle the project. Once the river is restored to its natural
characteristics, it is hoped that some of the riverine and
anadromous fish populations that historcially populated this
system will recover. In addition, the project is carefully
monitoring the impact of the Corps of Engineer's (COE)
navigational canal dredging activities and constantly
recommending mitigation activities to prevent further damage to
the fisheries community. One of the most significant preliminary
findings is substantiation of the critical importance of rocks and
snags to fisheries habitat in the river. A follow-up study is being
proposed to the COE to verify these results and determine what
corrective action can be taken.
Statewide projects in the Bureau of Fisheries Research include:
a Largemouth Bass Investigations Project, a Sportfish
Introduction Project, a Non-Native Fish Research Project, a
Herbivorous Fish Project, a Central Chemistry laboratory, and a
The Largemouth Bass Investigation Project has been evaluating
a 14- to 20-inch slot limit on largemouth bass in Starke Lake.
Although minor positive shifts have been noted in the creel and
fish population, the results have been less promising than
expected. A possible reason is the apparent lack of cooperation
by the public in the early phases of the study. However, recent
efforts by the Division of Law Enforcement have helped to
increase compliance with the regulation by the public. The bass
project has also developed an age-growth data base using otolith
(ear-bone) aging techniques. This knowledge has been helpful in
determining population structures and identifying problems
associated with growth rates and angler/natural mortality, since
warm waters previously had made the traditional use of scales for
aging fish ineffective in Florida.
The Sportfish Introductions Project has been working on
evaluating the effects of various fish management regulations in a
series of phosphate pits located in the Tenoroc FMA. Early
results have indicated that restrictive harvests, slot limits, and
catch-and-release regulations were highly beneficial in maintaining
the fisheries' quality in these pits, to which admittance can be
controlled carefully and which receive extremely heavy use.
Another important finding was the enthusiastic support of anglers
for such regulations, as evidenced by increased use of the area.
The Non-Native Fish Research Project is continuing to stock
and monitor the impact of peacock bass in south Florida canals.
Following an extremely thorough study into the potential positive
and negative repercussions of stocking, these South American
sportfish, which included a literature review; aquarium study;
temperature tolerance tests; controlled pond studies; and
extensive discussions with national and world leaders on non-
native fish impacts, the fish were stocked into south Florida
canals. Critical factors in this decision were the facts that the
canals themselves are not natural systems and none of our native
fish were adapted to the conditions found there. However, exotic
species, which inadvertently had become established there after
escaping from home aquariums or tropical fish farms, were
thriving. In addition, peacock bass are world renowned sport fish
that are not only great fighters and highly palatable, but also are
effective predators on fish such as tilapia. Above all, the lower
lethal temperature for peacock bass is approximately 59 degrees.
Consequently, they will not be able to survive north of
Okeechobee. Another study has followed the establishment of
blue tilapia in a central Florida lake. The tilapia population at one
time reached 300 pounds per acre, and several years later the
bluegill population crashed. Since that time, with no intervention
by man, the tilapia population has declined, and the bluegill
population is slowly recovering. This lake will continue to be
studied in the future in an effort to clarify the impact of blue
tilapia on native fisheries.
The Herbivorous Fish Project is now working exclusively with
triploid grass carp, which are functionally sterile due to having an
artificially induced third set of chromosomes (hence the name
triploid). After having successfully developed a means of
certifying the fish as 100 percent triploid by using a Coulter
Counter, and having developed a reasonably effective treatment
for producing triploid grass carp that commercial hatcherymen
can use (the original method was a trade secret), the effort now
has shifted to refining management strategies for effectively using
the fish to control excess aquatic vegetation, under a variety of
circumstances. In 15 of 16 sites (94 percent) the triploid grass
carp have controlled submergent vegetation. The questions now
are: Can triploid grass carp be stocked to selectively remove
hydrilla, while allowing sufficient native submergent vegetation to
remain and provide suitable fisheries habitat? Can triploid grass
carp be selectively removed once they have achieved their
objective? And, can the fish be effective for submergent
vegetation control in large or open Florida systems?
The Chemistry laboratory at Eustis has increased its work load
65 percent since 1968, with no increase in staff. In addition, the
Laboratory will become certified by the DER next year and is
becoming deeply involved in heavy metal analyses and acid rain
studies. However, the primary function of the laboratory is still
to provide expertise in chemical analyses of water, fish flesh and
soil samples for other Division of Fisheries projects.
Finally, a statistics section provides expertise in the area of
biostatistical analyses. The section is responsible for selecting
software and hardware for the division, so a uniform system of
data analyses can be established and central data bases built up
for data concerning fish populations, water quality, angler success
and public satisfaction. With regard to the latter data base, a
licensed angler's attitude telephone survey is being planned and is
expected to yield interesting results to compare with a similar
survey which was conducted in 1977.
OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
A I .-
he basic function of the Office of Environmental Services
is to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of fish
and wildlife habitat, because without adequate habitat,
Florida's diverse fish and wildlife resources could not exist. By
monitoring and reacting to a wide range of development and
resource management problems, the Office of Environmental
Services seeks to reduce unnecessary human cultural impacts to
the fish and wildlife resources of Florida.
Habitat Impact Assessment
The purpose of this program is to encourage the maximum
consideration of fish and wildlife factors in the review of
development activities by federal, state and local regulatory or
planning agencies. Environmental Services personnel conduct
habitat surveys of development sites prior to the issuance of
permits for construction and provide the regulatory agencies
assessments of habitat conditions and fish and wildlife use of the
sites. By incorporating habitat considerations into the planning
and regulation of development activities, impacts to fish and
wildlife resources can be avoided or mitigated.
The Office of Environmental Services continued to emphasize
the review of Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) with a
view toward protecting sensitive upland habitats, particularly
those harboring concentrations of endangered, threatened or
other rare species. The preservation of xeric scrub habitats was
our main interest this year in the review of DRIs because of the
importance of these communities to a variety of protected species
such as the gopher tortoise, the indigo snake and the Florida
mouse. Our comments generally recommended setting aside a
percentage of each development site where these species were
known to exist, so these animals would not be extirpated from
In several cases including the Oak Run DRI in Marion County
and the Windsor Parke DRI in Duval County, because of our
efforts, the developer made contributions of land and/or dollars
to be used to mitigate on-site impacts to listed species. Other
DRIs reviewed by the Office of Environmental Services in which
our recommendations were incorporated into the development
order included the International Minerals and Chemical Corp.
Noralyn/Phosphoria Mine Extension DRI which required the
company to demonstrate the ability to reclaim xeric habitat, and
the Plantation DRI in Seminole County where the applicant was
required to provide upland buffers around wetland preserves and
connect these preserves with each other and the Wekiva River
floodplain. In addition, the first two projects to be processed
under the new Florida Quality Development Program, the
Markborough Hunter's Green project inn Hillsborough County
and the Pace Island project in Clay County, were reviewed.
Although fewer applications for dredge and fill permits from
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of
Environmental Regulation were reviewed this year, several
required significant effort from Environmental Services
personnel. Proposals by the Occidental Chemical Corp. in
Hamilton County to mine for phosphate in Beehaven Bay and
other wetlands (which are headwaters to creeks flowing to the
Suwannee River) and to relocate Roaring Creek entirely, were
reviewed. Our review of a permit application by United
Technologies in Palm Beach County to fill wetlands for expansion
of their facilities resulted in a mitigation project which will
compensate for the loss of 10.1 acres of wetlands by enhancing
the wetland functions of 201 acres of wetlands in the adjacent J.
W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area.
Extensive habitat assessment work also was done in relation to
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers request for a 25-year permit
to maintenance dredge the navigation project on the Apalachicola
River. Field inspections in association with the review of the
permit and the Navigation Maintenance Plan were conducted to
determine the acceptable boundaries of all spoil areas on the river
and to formulate recommendations for spoil disposal in general.
Other significant activities of the Habitat Impact Assessment
Program included: the establishment of coordination with the
Southwest Florida Water Management District and the St. Johns
River Water Management District for review of surface water
management applications for agricultural developments larger
than 320 acres; review of 68 projects under consideration for
inclusion in Florida's Public Works Program; review of the Palm
Beach County Solid Waste Resource Recovery Facility
application for power plant site certification; and review of the
proposed land and resource management plan for national forests
It is the intent of this program to enhance habitat protection
and restoration by providing technical fish and wildlife input to
county planners, county administrators, developers, consultants,
other state agencies, regional planning councils, water
management districts and others. By providing this information at
the early stages of project planning, impacts to fish and wildlife
resources can be prevented or minimized before project plans
This year the Office of Environmental Services had an
expanded role in our membership on several resource planning
and management committees established pursuant to Chapter
380, Florida Statutes. Continued assistance was provided to the
Northwest Florida Coast, Escambia/Santa Rosa Coast, and
Kissimmee River resource planning and management committees
during the implementation phases of these growth management
efforts. The Apalachicola Bay Area Resource Planning and
Management Committee was established this year as a part of the
designation of Apalachicola Bay as an area of critical state
concern, and a representative from the Office of Environmental
Services was appointed by the Governor to
serve on the committee. In association with this effort, an
Apalachicola field office was established and staffed with two
biologists, partially funded through a federal coastal zone
management grant administered through the Department of
Environmental Regulation. Apalachicola personnel initiated an
in-depth inventory of fish and wildlife resources of the
Apalachicola River and bay system which should provide
valuable information to the resource planning and management
committee as well as other decision makers involved with
management of this river basin. Technical assistance also was
provided directly to the City of Apalachicola, Franklin County,
and the Department of Community Affairs in the formulating of
land development ordinances for the area which are intended to
protect the bay.
Environmental Services personnel also participated in the
formulation of regional comprehensive policy plans and local
government comprehensive plans which will mold the growth of
the different regions of the state in the future. Specific activities
included reviewing the various growth management policies for
their implications regarding fish and wildlife habitat protection, as
well as serving on various committees such as the Natural
Resources Subcommittee of the Tampa Bay Regional Policy Plan
In order to afford greater protection for water quality in waters
of significant recreational importance, the Office of
Environmental Services initiated or supplemented efforts to
designate several areas as "outstanding Florida waters. A
petition to designate Orange Lake in Marion and Alachua
counties was initiated and a background environmental report
was prepared and submitted to the Environmental Regulatory
Commission. Also to supplement other ongoing efforts,
environmental reports supporting the designation of Spruce
Creek and the Tomoka River, and the Big Bend Seagrasses area as
outstanding Florida waters were prepared and submitted.
Technical assistance also was provided to various committees
and programs this year. Environmental Services personnel
provided input to the North Key Largo Habitat Conservation
Plan, the Lake Okeechobee Technical Advisory Committee, the
Indian River Field Technical Committee, the Coastal Zone
Management Interagency Management Committee, and the Spoil
Site Advisory Committee. In the area of land acquisition
technical assistance was provided in the formulation of the
Florida Statewide Land Acquisition Plan, the review and selection
of projects for purchase through the Conservation and Recreation
Lands, Save Our Coasts, and Land Acquisition Trust Fund
programs, and the formulation of land acquisition
recommendations for the Suwannee River Water Management
District's Save Our Rivers Program.
Habitat Restoration Technical Assistance
The objective of the Habitat Restoration Technical Assistance
program is to enhance the capability of landscapes altered as a
result of development activities to support self-sustaining
assemblages of native fish and wildlife. This is accomplished by
providing technical fish and wildlife input into government and
private attempts at restoring altered habitats, compiling existing
data from all possible sources, and occasionally conducting
limited research or surveys where information is lacking.
The Kissimmee Wetlands Investigation Section continued its
work on the restoration of the Kissimmee River. This year,
project personnel primarily directed their activities toward
continuing work on the Pool B Test Demonstration Program.
This work included vegetation and fish sampling of remnant river
channels of Pool B and aerial surveys of waterfowl and wading
birds in the Kissimmee River floodplain and the northern end of
Lake Okeechobee. These efforts are part of an overall program
designed to evaluate the various restoration measures associated
with Phase I of this project. In addition to the work efforts on the
Pool B Test Demonstration Program, project personnel have
continued to promote the restoration of the Paradise Run area.
Our restoration plan for this area has been reviewed and given
conceptual approval by the staff of the South Florida Water
Much of our ettorts in the area of phosphate reclamation were
concentrated on restoring and improving habitat values on clay
settling areas, incorporating them into regional drainage patterns,
and encouraging the establishment of diverse, forested
communities. In cooperation with the Center for Wetlands of the
University of Florida, Environmental Services personnel
measured trees planted eight years ago on the International
Minerals and Chemical Corp. parcel B test site and monitored
groundwater levels of the site, monitored Atlantic white cedar
seedlings on old clay ponds, and helped set up a study of forest
succession on clay settling ponds to develop a hardwood timber
reclamation option for these areas. Technical assistance also was
provided to Mobil Chemical Corp. on the Rocky Branch Stream
Reclamation Project to restore a stream segment through a clay
Work also was initiated on researching ways to restore upland
communities on lands disturbed by phosphate mining. A
preliminary work plan was formulated and vegetation surveys
were conducted for a project to investigate reclamation of scrub
habitat in association with the International Minerals and
Chemical Corp. Assistance also was provided to the Department
of Natural Resources for a native plant establishment project at
the Tenoroc State Reserve.
Other activities of our phosphate reclamation personnel
included reviewing eight reclamation programs for approval by
the Reclamation Advisory Committee; reviewing funding requests
for the Research Advisory Committee of the Florida Institute of
Phosphate Research; formulating a list of old lands parcels that
should be acquired by the state for habitat restoration and
recreational use through the Old Lands Reclamation Trust Fund;
and providing technical assistance to the Lake Hancock
restoration project. An additional two papers were published on
habitat reclamation technology in the 1985 Conference
Proceedings of the National Association of Land Reclamationists.
Nongame Habitat Protection
This program is designed to enhance the consideration of
nongame wildlife in regulatory and planning decisions by ensuring
that resource planners and regulators have the most up-to-date
input available on nongame and endangered species habitats.
Following its implementation last year with the hiring of a
coordinator, this program became fully staffed this year.
Development of nongame habitat protection and restoration
guidelines were begun through an effort to inventory and map
significant scrub habitats within the area served by the Treasure
Coast Regional Planning Council. Also, nongame personnel
initiated the development of guidelines for the protection of
gopher tortoise habitat on lands scheduled for development.
In recognition that the Florida Keys have a high number of
endemic species or subspecies that are threatened by the rapid
rate of development, the Environmental Services Nongame
Habitat Protection Program established an office in the Florida
Keys staffed by one biologist. Work was begun on developing
guidelines for wildlife habitat protection in the Keys, and on
providing fish and wildlife input into development planning and
Nongame personnel also initiated a project to study the
feasibility of using LANDSAT imagery to map wildlife habitats in
Florida. A budget was prepared, and the project was approved
and funded by the 1986 Legislature.
DIVISION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
LAW ENFORCEMENT PATROL
he Division of Law Enforcement is charged with
protecting fish and wildlife resources on the state's 37
million acres of land and fresh water. Protection is
accomplished through preventive patrols of urban, rural and
wilderness lands and freshwater areas and by arrest of persons
violating conservation and environmental laws. The division's
responsibilities include enforcement of fishing, hunting and
littering laws; regulation of the commercial wildlife trade;
enforcement of boating safety regulations, endangered species
laws, environmental laws (including pollution, chemical dumping
and dredge and fill); maintenance of public order during natural
disturbances and civil emergencies; and assisting local and state
law enforcement agencies.
Fifty-seven wildlife management areas consisting of roughly 5
million acres are open to public hunting, hiking, fishing, camping,
birdwatching and picnicking. The division provides uniformed
patrols to ensure these lands are adequately protected and
maintained for public use. The division also provides uniformed
patrols to ensure the protection of environmentally endangered
lands and assists other public agencies concerned with
conservation and enforcement of Florida's environmental laws.
Wildlife officers patrolling Florida's rural and wilderness areas
provide protection for wildlife and freshwater aquatic life by
apprehension and arrest of those who would abuse our resources.
In order to cope with Florida's unique terrain, officers are
equipped to patrol with four-wheel drive vehicles, swamp
buggies, half-tracks, full-tracks, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft,
watercraft and other specialized equipment. Wildlife officers
being seen at the right place and at the right time provide the
basis of the division's preventive law enforcement patrol effort.
This year, wildlife officers responded to 7,087 complaints from
the public, issued 7,598 warnings and made 15,399 arrests. They
worked 561,136 hours, patrolled 6.38 million miles and checked
571,739 resource users. The division places special emphasis on
the protection of species that are classified as endangered,
threatened or "of special concern." During this fiscal year, 190
arrests and 138 written warnings were issued for violations
involving these species. Included were arrests for the illegal taking
of black bears, bald eagles and marine turtle eggs and violations of
manatee speed zones. The division's efforts to protect Florida
panthers through an intensive traffic control program in three
"panther speed zones" are still under way. Since its inception, the
program has resulted in 1,547 arrests for speeding and 358
warnings. Most of these cases were made on Alligator Alley.
Over 6,000 nuisance alligator complaints were received this
year by the Division of Law Enforcement. Ninety-one percent of
the complaints were found to be valid, and 3,049 alligators were
taken by licensed trappers. This is a removal ratio of 56 percent.
Trappers sold over 100,000 pounds of alligator meat, at a net
value of $512,455. In addition, 2,441 hides were sold by the
Commission for the trappers for $350,000.
The division cracked down on illegal dumping and pollution
this year. One arrest involved the driver of a 10-ton dump truck
who was observed dumping roofing materials outside a
management area. Another individual was apprehended in the act
of dumping an automobile engine, oil filters, water heaters and
other miscellaneous toxic substances. Each of these individuals
received $250 fines, 30-day jail sentences and six-months
probation. Other arrests involved illegal dumping of sewage and
oil into Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River.
In January 1983, a wildlife officer arrested a man for dumping
toxic chemicals from his tanker truck into the Everglades off the
Tamiami Trail. On Sept. 25, a judge fined the defendant an
unprecedented $4,144,994 for the crime. The defendant was self-
employed at the time of the dumping and was totally responsible
for the environmental damage that occurred. The judge ordered
that $4 million of the fine go to Dade County, $75,000 to the
State of Florida and the remaining $69,994 to a cleanup fund.
The offender currently is working for another trucking firm and,
at his current rate of pay, it will take approximately 159 years for
him to pay off the fine!
The division's campaign against illegal dumping and littering
received support from many agencies, including the Dade County
State Attorney's Office. The Division of Law Enforcement
director met with the state attorney to discuss enforcement
strategies for curtailing the dumping of toxic waste and household
garbage in the Everglades. The director toured the area by
helicopter with state prosecutors to pinpoint dumping sites.
Hurricanes Elena and Kate resulted in huge unforeseen
expenses to the Division of Law Enforcement. Wildlife officers
participated in security patrols and evacuation efforts during
these storms. The division also assisted the Office of Emergency
Management in search-and-rescue operations and damage
assessment. Over 150 officers and supervisors worked in
hurricane damaged areas.
On Dec. 13, 1985, Martin Grossman and Nathan Taylor were
sentenced for the Dec. 13, 1984, murder of Wildlife Officer
Margaret Elizabeth "Peggy" Park. The judge sentenced Grossman
to die in the electric chair, and Taylor was sentenced to seven
years imprisonment, one of which already has been served since
The primary responsibility of the Aviation Section is to
provide law enforcement coverage in wilderness areas. Aviation
activities include patrol, surveillance, and search-and-rescue
A secondary responsibility is to assist the divisions of wildlife
and fisheries in conducting studies. Environmental surveys also
require aircraft. Flights provide a means of collecting data on
Florida panthers, black bears, sandhill cranes and other protected
species that would otherwise be unobtainable.
This year, the Aviation Section has expanded its capabilities by
increasing manpower and equipment. The section now employs
seven full-time pilots operating a total of eight aircraft. This year,
a second turbine-powered helicopter was added to the fleet.
Pilots assisted the ground unit officers in 95 arrests and 34
warnings. A total of 2,173 hours were flown.
Wildlife inspectors are responsible for regulation of Florida's
wildlife trade. Inspectors monitor zoos, game farms, tropical fish
farms, wildlife importers, alligator farms, venomous reptile
dealers, personal pet owners, pet shops, private hunting preserves
and falconers to ensure they comply with state and federal laws
governing their operations.
This reporting period, a total of 3,799 inspections of
commercial and private establishments were conducted by our
Inspections Section. Included were inspections of 474 wildlife
exhibits, 856 pet shops, 501 personal pet enclosures, 66 wildlife
rehabilitation centers and 57 taxidermy shops.
A total of 5,076 illegally-imported freshwater fish were seized
including electric catfish, stingrays, walking catfish and tilapia.,
Three hundred twenty-five specimens of illegally-possessed
wildlife were seized, including monkeys, lions, cobras, bears,
alligators, foxes and many other species.
We continued our emphasis this year on endangered and
threatened species protection and obtaining accurate inventories
on all alligators being held in captivity. There are 36,000
alligators maintained by wildlife exhibits and commercial alligator
farms and facilities. Inspections of such facilities help protect the
wild alligator population from illegal capture and sale.
TRAINING AND RECORDS
The Training and Records Section is charged with coordinating
the division's basic and in-service law enforcement training,
seminars, workshops and records storage and retrieval.
This year, 19 individuals were chosen to attend the Wildlife
Officer Academy after a stringent recruitment, screening and
selection process. The graduated recruits were assigned to fill
wildlife officer positions throughout the state. New officers
completed an intensive eight-week field training phase by working
with experienced officers who further refined their skills.
To increase the number and quality of field training officers
(FTOs) this year, we selected certain personnel as FTO
instructors. The FTOs will implement field training workshops
on a regional basis. Each regional field training instructor was
supplied with new video training tapes produced by the training
In order to meet required standards, all officers completed new
survival shooting training. To ensure consistency, each officer
participated in the training at the Law Enforcement Training
Center in Quincy.
The wildlife officer physical fitness assessment program was
implemented after 18 months of development. Each officer
participated in a series of assessments to determine how his level
of fitness compared to others of like age and sex. The foundation
of the new program is based upon concepts and research from the
Institute of Aerobic Research in Dallas, Tex. Each officer was
given a handbook to encourage him to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Although semi-annual assessment is required, participation in the
fitness program itself is purely voluntary.
Special emphasis has been placed on training our officers as
"first responders." The program began with training and
certification of 11 instructors. Currently, 44 officers have been
certified and issued advanced medical emergency response kits.
First responder training qualifies an officer to provide basic and
advanced life support until more advanced emergency medical
support can respond. This year, first responders encountered and
responded to 17 emergencies. Several emergencies were critical,
and the action taken by our officers saved a number of lives.
Other in-service training courses included PR-24 baton and
flashlight tactics, supervisory management skills, improved
sobriety testing, Smith & Wesson armor's school, boating theft
investigation, radar school (for panther protection), Rogers
officer survival school and advanced driver instructor schools.
Wildlife reservists donated over 50,000 hours to Commission
programs this year. Each division uses reservists to assist in
completing projects and studies. This year, we have increased our
emphasis on recruiting in order to boost our current 250-person
The Communications Section provides the lifeline for wildlife
officers patrolling Florida's wilderness areas and provides other
Commission personnel with teletype and two-way radio
communications. The system operates 24 hours per day with
duty officers available to handle incoming toll-free telephone calls
as citizens report violations and wildlife-related problems.
Wildlife crime reports and other information are relayed quickly
by radio to officers on patrol.
Improvements were made to two dispatch base radios this year
by moving the equipment from obsolete towers to towers owned
by other agencies under a tower-sharing agreement. The greater
height of the new towers has produced significant improvements
in our communications system.
Two microwave systems replaced telephone circuits previously
used to operate dispatch base radio equipment and have
improved the system's reliability.
To enhance officer safety, 35 hand-held portable radios were
purchased for wildlife officers. The division's goal is to equip
every officer with hand-held radios for use away from their radio-
Division investigators are stationed strategically throughout the
state. These officers provide the capability of in-depth undercover
and plainclothes law enforcement operations. Investigators
operate in areas and in situations where uniformed officers would
be at a disadvantage.
This year, several long-term undercover investigations were
closed. In one case, 19 people were successfully prosecuted for 76
commercial wildlife crimes. Over 1,000 pounds of illegal deer
meat were seized by investigators in this case.
Fraud and grand larceny charges were successfully brought
against a professional criminal that had fraudulently solicited
thousands of dollars on the pretext of saving endangered species.
Investigators were able to prove the offender was not donating
the funds to anyone but himself. He was convicted and sentenced
Investigators worked several cases involving the
commercialization of endangered and threatened species.
Information was received that gopher tortoises were being bought
and sold for food in large numbers. Investigators were able to
infiltrate a group of suspects and purchased 219 gophers which
later were returned to the wild. Charges were brought against
another group, selling large quantities of alligator snapping turtles
to major soup companies. Two hundred ninety-two alligator
snappers were seized in that investigation.
OFFICE OF INFORMATIONAL SERVICES
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he Office of Informational Services (OIS) is responsible
for the free flow of information from the Commission to
the public to ensure a high level of understanding of this
agency's programs and goals.
In addition to its overall public information responsibilities,
OIS coordinates several specific programs. These activities
include such programs as Hunter Education Classes, Project
WILD, Endangered Species Education, the Wildlife Alert
Program, and publishing FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine.
NEWS AND INFORMATION SERVICES
The mission of the News and Information Section of OIS is to
communicate information about wildlife, hunting and fishing to
the public through news media and through personalized
responses to requests for information.
During this fiscal year, OIS, from the Tallahassee headquarters
and five regional offices, continued to provide information to the
general public and to news media as far away as Europe.
Written news releases are the backbone of OIS's public
information program. A total of 93 statewide and 229 regional
news releases were distributed to the media and to interested
groups and organizations. Topics included hunting and fishing
regulations and facilities, wildlife law enforcement, Commission
policies, endangered species, wildlife research and general
conservation. These news releases are used regularly by hundreds
of newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and
Information personnel also assisted reporters and editors in
preparing outdoor-related stories on a daily basis by providing
information and materials.
This section of OIS handled special and regularly scheduled
public relations projects concerning Florida panthers, non-toxic
shot regulations, spring and summer fishing, the youth
conservation camps, the Wildlife Alert Program, alligators,
hunting regulations and Commission public meetings.
All six offices continued to respond to hundreds of telephone
inquiries. A majority of these calls were requests for information
that could be dispensed over the telephone, but many others
required follow-up activities or resulted in mailing information.
In response to written requests for information, the Tallahassee
OIS staff sent out 344 written responses and 522 packets
containing pamphlets and brochures.
In addition, regional OIS staff delivered 247 speeches and
presentations concerning a variety of outdoor topics. Regional
personnel prepared and manned 21 exhibits at fairs and similar
events. Some of these exhibits were viewed by nearly 1 million
OIS staff members logged 113 television appearances and 70
radio interviews and programs during the fiscal year.
FLORIDA WILDLIFE MAGAZINE
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine continued to be the
Commission's most cost-effective publication, in terms of cost
per 1,000 pages of information, during FY 1985-86.
Circulation of the magazine averaged about 29,000 through the
year, and revenues were higher than for the previous year,
totaling $172,494. Cost of preparation, printing and circulation
totaled $273,618 for the six issues published. Per copy cost was
Promotion of circulation, through the inclusion of subscription
invitations in other publications of the Commission, continued to
succeed as a low-cost way of informing the public about the
availability of the magazine. However, the magazine itself
continued to be the highest source of new subscriptions.
FLORIDA WILDLIFE was recognized for general excellence by
the Florida Magazine Association in 1985 competition with other
association/institution magazines having no advertising and
circulation in excess of 20,000. It was the second year in a row
that the Commission's magazine earned first place honors. A
second general excellence award was received for a feature article,
"Deep Within the Water Planet."
This section produces pamphlets, brochures, regulatory
information, booklets, posters and other projects for distribution
to the public.
The Office of Informational Services Publications Section
produced more than 120 publications for the Commission during
The Publications Section also provided more than 100 other
services, including art and layout for other divisions and offices in
support of their needs for publications.
The Wildlife Alert Reward Program was established in 1979 to
enhance the Commission's law enforcement efforts. The program
pays cash rewards to citizens whose reports of violations result in
arrests. Callers are not required to give their names or appear in
Seven public service announcements for radio were produced
and distributed statewide during this period.
Twenty-five news releases concerning Wildlife Alert were
issued by OIS from either the Tallahassee or regional offices. In
addition, regional public information specialists promoted
Wildlife Alert through 79 group presentations, 17 exhibits, 13
radio appearances and 10 television appearances.
The Federal Land Bank Association/Production Credit
Associations of Florida paid for 300,000 hunting season
information cards, and the Florida Bowhunters Council paid for
20,000 cards containing archery season information. Each card
bore a Wildlife Alert message.
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine promoted Wildlife Alert with
public service advertising in each issue.
The Division of Law Enforcement and OIS worked together to
maintain an accurate record of citizen reports, arrests and reward
figures. During the fiscal year, $10,763 in rewards were paid to
individuals whose reports of violations resulted in 147 arrests. In
addition, 644 arrests resulted from callers who declined rewards.
The Wildlife Alert Reward Association, a 13-member panel
appointed by the Commission's executive director, met three
times at various locations during the fiscal year to oversee the
program with OIS handling the arrangements. Minutes of each
meeting were prepared by OIS and distributed to association
members and appropriate Commission staff.
Through the voluntary contributions of concerned citizens and
fines made payable to Wildlife Alert by the judicial system, the
reward fund increased by $22,036.89 during FY 85-86.
In order to reach large segments of the public with information
concerning Florida's wildlife and fisheries resources, the Audio-
Visual Section works closely with electronic news media. In
addition, this section produces photographs, video tapes and slide
series to support other sections and maintains a library of these
productions for the agency.
During this fiscal year, the Audio-Visual Section distributed a
new video public service announcement about hunter education
and distributed it to television stations across the state.
Also, this section made special efforts to document
Commission projects and activities with broadcast-quality video
tapes which it distributed, in unedited form, to major television
networks, statewide television stations and film companies.
Subjects included Florida panthers, alligators, nongame wildlife
and lake drawdowns.
Nine times during the fiscal year, this section, through the
Tallahassee staff, arranged for Commission employees to appear
on television talk shows or to grant on-camera interviews
concerning Commission activities. An additional eight media
appearances were arranged outside the Tallahassee office at the
request of news media.
Aside from 25 hunter education public service announcement
scripts produced by this section, the Audio-Visual Section
produced 24 pre-recorded and 11 scripted radio public service
announcements concerning Wildlife Alert, nongame wildlife,
non-toxic shot, fishing promotion and alternatives to public
meetings. The Audio-Visual Section distributes public service
announcements to 171 radio stations in Florida.
This section also produced 10 "community commentaries" for
WFSU-FM on various nongame wildlife topics.
To meet the public need for information concerning Lake
Miccosukee hearings, damage to Hickory Mound Impoundment
and the Lake Talquin slot limit, this section produced three news
actualities for radio stations.
The Audio-Visual Section revised six slide series and began
creating a new one for the Division of Fisheries. With the
addition of the fisheries slide series, a total of 29 slide series now
are available in Tallahassee and regional offices.
These slide presentations are important tools for reaching
certain segments of the population with information. They are
especially effective for use at civic meetings, conservation groups,
schools and sportsmen's clubs.
Other photographs produced by this section are available to
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine and other publications and
broadcast media. Photographs distributed to news media reach an
audience of 500,000 to 2 million readers through print media
The Commission's education efforts include operation of two
youth conservation camps, the Hunter Education Program, the
Endangered Species Education Program, the Nongame Wildlife
Education Program and Project WILD.
Youth Conservation Camps
The Commission's youth conservation camps at Ocala and
West Palm Beach operate for eight, one-week sessions each
summer for boys and girls between the ages of eight and 14. The
camps and their instructional programs are structured to promote
increased awareness and appreciation of wildlife, its management
and conservation and to teach responsible use of natural
During FY 1985-86, the two camps drew a total attendance of
1,765 youngsters. Approximately 500 were on the waiting list
when the last vacancies were reserved. A survey of parents of
campers attending the first, third and eighth weeks of camp
indicated that, on a scale of 1 to 10, parents rated the overall
effectiveness of the program at 8.7. Of the parents who
responded to the survey, 94.2 said they would send their children
again. Respondents totaled roughly half the parents who received
During the off-season, youth camp facilities are available for
use by a number of organizations for meetings, conferences and
workshops. Project WILD/Outdoor Adventure Workshops,
offered by the Commission, take place at these sites.
The Hunter Education Program has matured beyond its
original goal of teaching safe firearm handling and hunting skills.
Today, the program places strong emphasis on responsible,
ethical and safe use of the outdoors by non-hunters as well as
hunters. Topics addressed in the modern Hunter Education
Program include: traditional firearm safety with primitive and
modern equipment, wildlife identification, conservation and
management, wilderness survival, first aid, water safety and
During FY 1985-86, more than 7,000 persons, including
residents and visitors, men and women, children and senior
citizens, participated in 274 hunter education classes statewide.
Many classes are taught by the Commission's regional hunter
education officers, but a corps of more than 450 certified
volunteers is responsible for the bulk of the instruction. In fact,
volunteer instructors logged 17,656 hours during this fiscal year.
This time had a value to the State of Florida of $171,789.
The 15-hour course is free to all participants and meets the
requirements of all states and Canadian provinces that require
completion of hunter education courses before issuing hunting
Endangered Species Education
Requests from the public for information about threatened and
endangered species, especially from children and teachers, come
into OIS on a steady basis. Presentations about endangered and
threatened species, often in combination with other conservation
education programs, are staged for schools, civic organizations
and conservation-minded groups. Programs typically include
multi-projector slide shows combined with original music about
During FY 1985-86, this section conducted 83 programs for
the public. These programs served to introduce audiences to the
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Commission's efforts to protect and preserve endangered species
and to prevent other species from being added to the list of
threatened or endangered species. Project WILD workshops and
other meetings provided the forum for many of these
presentations which enabled the Commission to distribute more
than 1,000 pieces of literature concerning threatened, endangered
and other wildlife.
In addition to group presentations, seven radio programs and
three television programs were taped by news media, further
advancing the cause of educating the public about this state's
wildlife and habitats.
OIS also launched an innovative pilot program during this
fiscal year in a joint project with the Department of
Transportation (DOT). The Commission's staff produced an
audio cassette tape featuring 16 original songs, various wildlife
sounds and conservation commentaries by environmentalists and
dignitaries. The Commission turned 1,000 copies of the tape over
to DOT to be distributed to motorists as they pay toll fees to
enter Alligator Alley. The tapes then are to be returned to toll
booth attendants when motorists exit Alligator Alley.
Also, the tapes are available for sale from the Florida Audubon
Society which donates profits to the Save the Everglades Program,
launched by the former governor.
The purpose of the tape is to draw attention to native
wildlife-particularly endangered species-and their habitats and
to generate better public awareness of the delicate nature of the
Everglades ecological system.
Nongame Wildlife Education Program
The emphasis of this program is on the 85 percent of Florida's
wildlife species which have not traditionally been hunted and are
not classified as threatened or endangered.
Citizens receive educational information about the Nongame
Wildlife Program through presentations by Commission staff and
from literature which was developed for the program. Literature
produced this fiscal year included a full-size color poster of
burrowing owls, to replace an earlier poster which featured a
crested caracara. These posters contained information about the
program and about nongame species.
The nongame education staff produced three issues of the
nongame newsletter, the Skimmer. The publication now includes a
two-page children's section titled the "Emerging Naturalist,"
which appeared in two issues during FY 1985-86. Nongame
education staff also provided illustrations, design and layout for
most nongame publications and assisted in other OIS areas.
A photographic exhibit featuring birds of the Everglades was
installed for two months in the Commission's Tallahassee
Three nongame education specialists were hired this year.
These educators are based in Orlando, West Palm Beach and
Lakeland, and they perform a variety of duties including
conducting workshops, writing articles for state and local
publications, and making presentations to civic organizations and
government agencies. They also assist the nongame education
coordinator in producing and distributing promotional materials
and conducting audio-visual programs.
Nongame education personnel assisted and conducted Project
WILD workshops and 40 nongame presentations with audiences
ranging from students and scouts to professional and civic
leaders. A total of 18 news releases, six radio public service
announcements and 10 radio scripts were produced to promote
awareness of nongame wildlife and the $1-voluntary
contributions by vehicle owners to help fund the program.
Project WILD is an activity-centered education program which
emphasizes wildlife and habitat. The goal of Project WILD is to
assist individuals in developing awareness, knowledge, skills and
commitment for the appreciation and preservation of nature.
Florida is one of 39 states offering this award-winning program to
A total of 35 Project WILD workshops were conducted in
Florida this fiscal year. Approximately 825 educators were
trained to use Project WILD Activity Guides, which consist of
approximately 80 learning activities incorporating wildlife and
habitat themes into other subjects such as math, English and
science. Although most participants are teachers, the workshops
also attract scout and 4-H leaders, nature center staff and other
interested adults. These workshops involve six hours of training
and skill development.
In addition to the one-day Project WILD workshops, 125
teachers were trained in three weekend workshops at the
Commission's youth conservation camps. These weekend
programs combine training in Project WILD with another
segment, Outdoor Adventure, which emphasizes outdoor skills
and lifetime sports. These include canoeing, orienteering, fishing,
camping and shooting sports. In Outdoor Adventure workshops,
instructors emphasize safety and responsible use of the natural
environment. In the shooting sports program, safe use of firearms
is emphasized above all else.
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TThe Division of Administrative Services provides
support services to all Commission program functions.
These services include budgeting, data processing, finance
and accounting, personnel, property, purchasing and general
office operations such as maintenance, printing, word processing,
central files, mail room and storeroom.
The Personnel Office provides support services for
employment, recruitment, equal employment
opportunity/affirmative action, pay administration, classification,
training, insurance, leave maintenance, retirement processing,
disciplinary and promotional coordination, counseling, and union
contract administration and serves as a conduit between
employees and managers.
A new position has been added to work full time in
coordinating the training effort for the Commission in non-law
enforcement activities. A plan is being developed to define
training needs in the areas of supervision, manpower use, staff
development and personal enrichment.
A new personal computer has been purchased to facilitate
processing OPS payrolls. In addition, plans are to expand the
processing of personnel information to help managers and
supervisors manage subordinates. The equipment will free up
more time in the long run to permit additional personnel services.
The Purchasing Office is responsible for ensuring that services
and commodities are procured in an efficient and professional
manner. This office also is responsible for coordinating all fixed
capital outlay projects, contracts and leases for the Commission.
During the past fiscal year, the Purchasing Office processed 5,214
purchase orders, 85 legal and formal bids and 372 mobile
The functions of the Bureau of Office Operations include the
property office, records management, word
processing/typesetting center and office services (mailroom,
supply room and print shop). The Bureau of Office Operations
also administers the motor pool, switchboard, security and
custodial contracts for the Tallahassee office, and the bureau chief
acts as coordinator for interagency programs such as energy and
The office services section continued to increase its
productivity by purchasing more up-to-date and efficient
equipment. A new electronic mailing machine was acquired
during the fiscal year. Also, supply room accounting records,
which formerly were maintained manually, were automated by
the use of an in-house microcomputer.
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Finance and Accounting
The Bureau of Finance and Accounting has the responsibility to
record and maintain documentation of all revenue and
disbursement activities of the Commission. General revenue
funding is the largest single revenue source and is used primarily
for law enforcement operations. Hunting and fishing license and
stamp sales, federal program cost reimbursements and
miscellaneous revenue sources also are used to finance
Commission operations. Salaries are the largest single item in the
expenditure budget, followed by expenses of operations and the
costs of purchasing required equipment.
Accounting information is produced to assist Commission
management personnel in monitoring financial activity and
controlling the operating budget, while financial records are
maintained on a fund accounting basis. In a separate fund, the
Nongame Program of the Commission is financed by new
residents' auto tag fees and donations. The Commission also
maintains restricted trust funds to pay rewards for the arrest and
conviction of endangered and threatened species law violators and
to finance the acquisition of land for wildlife habitat.
The process of automation of manual operations has continued
to progress as additional microcomputers have been acquired.
Examples of recent computerization are the expense invoice
processing system and the automation of the encumbrance ledger
which tracks all unpaid purchase orders.
The Commission's new licensing system was implemented on
June 1, 1986, and has been well received by the public. In
addition to consolidating the number of licenses and stamps
issued, the new system has saved nearly $40,000 in annual
GENERAL OPERATING FUNDS*
JULY 1, 1985 -JUNE 30, 1986
(Preliminary Year-End Amounts)
Cash Available on July 1, 1985
(Adjusted After Certifications) $ 1,703,177
General Revenue Fund (Operations) 13,966,763
General Revenue Fund (Fixed capital outlay) 430,202
Licenses and Stamps 10,163,021
Intergovernmental Revenue 3,972,416
Charges for Services 605,188
Miscellaneous Revenue 1,370,532
Total Funds Available $32,211,299
Expenditures and Commitments:
Law Enforcement $13,855,805
Wildlife Management 5,450,917
Fisheries Management 4,545,330
Informational Services 1,648,834
Environmental Services 607,595
Fixed Capital Outlay Projects 700,824
Non-operating Transfers 1,576,888
Total Expenditures and Commitments $31,346,114
Unencumbered Cash June 30, 1986 $ 865,185
*General Revenue Fund and State Game Trust Fund
For a state agency to operate from year to year, it must be able
to project revenues and expenditures. These projections are
consolidated into the legislative budget process for both
operations and fixed capital outlay. During FY 1985-86,
supplemental legislative budgets were prepared for FY 86-87.
The 1986-87 legislative budget requests were prepared in
conjunction with the development of the Commission's strategic
Appropriations by Division
Division Amount of Total
Law Enforcement $14,119,972 45.5%
Fisheries 4,760,608 15.3%
Executive Director &
Administrative Services 5,507,124 17.7%
Wildlife 6,677,480 21.5%
Total Funding for Operations 31,065,184
and operational plans. Individual budget requests submitted by
the divisions and offices were approved and included in the
legislative budgets only when a correlation could be established
between the budget requests and goals and objectives outlined in
Executive Director &
Appropriations by Catergory
Other Personal Services 1,054,697
Landowner Payments 500,000
Salary Incentive 192,744
Data Processing 237,420
Payment of Rewards 5,000
Source Amount of Total
General Revenue $13,966,763 46.4%
License & Permit Revenue 10,163,021 33.8%
Intergovernmental Revenue 3,972,416 13.2%
Other Revenue 1,975,720 6.6%
FISCAL YEAR 85-86
Due Returned Due Return
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