Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075971/00015
 Material Information
Title: Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Publisher: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
Place of Publication: Tallahassee
Creation Date: 1987
Frequency: annual
Subjects / Keywords: Wildlife management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Fishery management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000349325
oclc - 05513917
notis - ABY7045
lccn - 79644252
issn - 0195-6256
System ID: UF00075971:00015
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Preceded by: Report - Florida, Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission

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State of Florida
Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission


Lake Wales


Executive Director
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600
Telephone (904) 488-1960
Assistant Executive Director
Division of Administrative Services
Division of Law Enforcement
Division of Wildlife
Division of Fisheries
Office of Environmental Services
Office of Informational Services

Regional Offices

Northwest Region
T. L. GARRISON, Director
6938 Highway 2321
Panama City, FL 32409-9338
Telephone (904) 265-3676

Northeast Region
Route 7 Box 440
Lake City, FL 32055
Telephone (904) 752-0353

Central Region
1239 S. W. 10th Street
Ocala, FL 32674
Telephone (904) 629-8162

South Region
J.O. BROWN, Director
3900 Drane Field Road
Lakeland, FL 33811
Telephone (813) 644-9269

A vow-




INTRODUCTION ........................ 2
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR .................... 3
LAW ENFORCEMENT....................4
W ILDLIFE ................................... 10
FISHERIES .............. ................ 19



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Everglades Region itn, ., i i ml; li ;,. r iiiin ,i iii .:
DAN DUNFORD, Director ,
551 North Military Trail : ,,i, n < :
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
(407) 683-0748

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GFC Annual Report



Lending caution and intelligence to mankind's domination over nature is a highly complex matter
in Florida. It requires the latest in scientific technology and the most professional of law enforcement
practices. Equally important to the success of this cause is a well informed public.
The Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission is proud to assume responsibility for the enormous
task of managing the 1,500 species of wildlife that inhabit this state. With a staff of 869 including
327 sworn law enforcement officers and 211 scientists this agency strives to preserve the ecological
system that makes up the natural heritage of Florida.
The Commission's role as gamekeeper no longer is its primary responsibility. Besides game animals,
the agency's jurisdiction includes protection of endangered species and captive wildlife and
preservation of nongame wildlife. The Commission also provides training for boaters and sportsmen.
In addition, the agency makes informational materials available to educators and the general public to
promote a high level of understanding of the factors affecting wildlife. The agency works closely with
landowners to control nuisance wildlife, and scientists provide the expertise required to include
wildlife considerations in the plans and operations of other agencies.
In accordance with the Florida Constitution, five commissioners are appointed by the governor to
serve staggered terms of five years. Commissioners' responsibilities include setting policies to be
carried out by the agency's staff. Commissioners draw no salaries for their services.
With a total budget of $41 million for fiscal year 1987-88, The Commission is a relatively small
agency. Roughly $12 million of the agency's funding comes from the sale of hunting and fishing
licenses and permits. The Florida Legislature provides an additional $17.5 million in general revenue
This agency's efforts and accomplishments during 1987-88 are summarized in this report.

Chairman, Miami

Vice-Chairman, Miccosukee

Lake Wales




Dear Reader:
As executive director of the Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission, I serve as the Commission's chief administrator with
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
Executive Director consists of the assistant executive director, two
senior executive assistants and five 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 coordination of planning, 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 coordinates the preparation of strategic and
operational plans.
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 1987-88.


Colonel Robert M. Brantly
Executive Director


The 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 arrests 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, and 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
The division's uniformed patrol of Type I and Type II wildlife
management areas and fish management areas provides
protection to ensure that these 6 million acres remain open for
public recreation. Hunting, fishing, camping, bird watching,
hiking and picnicking are only a few of the activities enjoyed on
these lands by Floridians and tourists. Environmentally
endangered lands are patrolled to protect our most delicate and
vulnerable flora and fauna. The division also assists other public
agencies concerned with conservation and the enforcement of
Florida's environmental laws.


Uniformed Wildlife
Officer Law Enforcement Patrol Wildlife officers
have a multi-faceted role. They are responsible for
conservation law enforcement statewide, as well as boating
safety enforcement on all inland waters.
In order to better safeguard Florida's recreational boaters
on our fresh waters, the division launched Operation
Sportfish, Watersport and Alcohol Monitoring Program
(SWAMP) on May 1. A statewide media blitz, coupled
with a saturated patrol effort, was designed to increase
public awareness of the dangers of alcohol consumption
while boating. The division also wanted to reduce conflicts
between recreational boaters and sportsmen on high use
lakes and rivers.

The statewide coverage of SWAMP through television,
radio and newspapers was extensive. Wildlife officers
inspected over 61,000 boats and found that approximately
one out of 15 boaters did not have the proper safety
equipment on board. Drowning is the number one cause of
death in boating accidents, so it is imperative that every
boater have a proper personal floatation device.
The division learned numerous important lessons from
SWAMP. For example, through statewide inspections of
our equipment, we discovered that considerable
improvement was needed in our boating fleet. The
inspections were performed during an in-service training
program on boating safety and accident investigation.
We found that we had numerous boats that were ideal
for smaller waters, but we needed additional vessels better
suited to boating safety and search and rescue on larger
lakes and rivers. We ordered some additional boats that are
properly matched to our critical needs.
In regard to violations, we did not encounter the number
of "boating under the influence" (BUI) infractions we
anticipated. We believe the media message and the presence
of our officers reduced the number of individuals drinking
while boating. During Operation SWAMP, we made only
13 BUI cases statewide, but we effected 379 arrests and
warnings for careless or reckless boat operation.
Probably the most important thing that Operation
SWAMP pointed out is the enormity of the task of
enforcing inland boating safety. Each wildlife officer would
have to patrol over 100 miles of rivers and canals and
13,000 acres of lakes and ponds in order to cover the state.
Additional personnel are needed for proper boating safety
coverage statewide.
In addition to training all of our officers in boating safety
procedures, we also trained 50 supervisors as boating
fatality investigators to handle serious accidents involving
bodily injury. With this extensive training, Florida inland
boaters can be assured of professionalism when wildlife
officers respond to serious boating situations. During
Operation SWAMP, our investigators worked 46 boating
accidents, involving six fatalities and 25 injuries.
Operation SWAMP also produced 509 arrests for
fishing violations, including taking gamefish by illegal
methods and over the bag limit. Wildlife officers also
encountered littering, cultivation and possession of
marijuana, and theft of boats and motors. One major case
in central Florida involved a "chop shop" that was dealing
in stolen jet skis.
The division is maintaining a wildlife officer presence on
Alligator Alley and in other areas in order to protect the
Florida panther. In "panther speed zones," officers made
735 arrests and issued 28 warnings for speeding violations
this fiscal year. One panther was killed during this fiscal
year on SR 29 in December 1987.
Wildlife officers responded to 5,542 complaints from
the public this year, issued 11,441 warnings and made
16,901 arrests a total of 28,342 violations. That's a
7,900-case increase over 1986-87. Wildlife officers worked
521,788 hours, patrolled more than 6 million miles and
checked 595,562 resource users. Arrests for nongame and
endangered species law violations totaled 84, and warnings
totaled 146.
Environmental laws continue to be of high priority with
Commission officers. Over 400 environmental arrests were

made this fiscal year, including charges for littering,
dumping, pollution, dredge and fill violations, deposit of
deleterious substances in waters of the state, burning toxic
chemicals, unlawful destruction of wetlands and misuse of
pesticides and pesticide containers.

Aviation The primary responsibility of the Aviation
Section is to protect fish and wildlife resources through
airborne law enforcement coverage in wilderness areas.
Aviation activities include patrol, surveillance and search
and rescue missions.
A secondary responsibility is to assist the wildlife and
fisheries divisions in conducting studies. Environmental
surveys also require aircraft. Flights provide a means of
collecting data on Florida panthers, black bears, sandhill
cranes, colonial nesting birds and other protected species.
This year, the Aviation Section, using its Loran C equipped
aircraft, has been assisting the Office of Environmental
Services with the completion of the statewide LANDSAT
Satellite Mapping Project.
The ability of the aircraft to cover a vast area in a short
time, maintain contact with ground units, and direct
officers to problems areas via the most expedient route,
greatly increases the efficiency of law enforcement and
wildlife survey operations.
The Aviation Section has expanded and diversified its
missions in order to support the increasing demand for
wildlife law enforcement. Several new enforcement
programs have been initiated which include the use of
helicopters statewide to patrol for road hunters and the use
of aircraft to support Operation SWAMP. Aircraft also are
being used to support domestic marijuana eradication and
search-and-rescue missions for lost or overdue outdoor
The Aviation Section is composed of eight full-time
pilots, operating a total of eight aircraft. The aircraft consist
of four Cessna 172s, one Cessna 182, two Bell JetRanger
III helicopters and a Piper Twin-engine Aerostar. Pilots are
available during any 24-hour period, scheduled according
to seasonal needs.
This year, pilots participated in checking 26,168 wildlife
resource users and assisted in 636 arrests, 411 warnings
and logged 3,912 hours total flight time.

Wildlife Inspections Wildlife inspectors are
responsible for the 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 compliance with state and
federal laws.
This fiscal year, 3,699 inspections of commercial and
private establishments were conducted. Included were
inspections of 338 wildlife exhibits, 764 pet shops, 609
personal pet owners, 46 taxidermists, and 157 venomous
reptile owners. More than 5,800 illegally imported
freshwater fish and wildlife were seized including stingrays,
electric eels, tigerfish, arowana, piranha and candiru catfish.
Various other creatures seized included cougars, tigers,
jaguars, rhinos, elephants, protected snakes and other
reptiles and birds.
In order to help protect the wild alligator population
from illegal capture and sale, commercial alligator exhibits
and farms must be inventoried annually. This year,

inspectors submitted a total inventory of 55,000 alligators
in captivity, which was a 65 percent increase over last year.
Inspectors investigated 554 wildlife related complaints
and made 414 arrests and warnings.

Communications This section provides the lifeline
for wildlife officers patrolling Florida's wilderness areas and
provides 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
The nature of our officers' duties frequently requires
them to patrol in wilderness areas. To accomplish this,
officers use a variety of equipment such as boats, swamp
buggies and airboats. In order to provide a more reliable
means of radio communications to officers on patrol in off-
road equipment, we purchased 100 additional radios this
year. Fifty of these radios were used to outfit water
equipment used in the division's boating safety patrol. The
remaining radios are now being installed in a variety of off-
road vehicles.
Four additional radio towers were built this year. The
new towers replaced obsolete facilities and helped us
expand our coverage in hard-to-reach areas.
We are active participants in the planning of a multi-
agency 800 MHz trunked radio system. This statewide
system, which ultimately will serve all state law
enforcement agencies, is a complicated and sophisticated
endeavor. The first phase of the system will consist of a
pilot project system installed in Dade, Broward and
Monroe counties. The projected time frame for completion
statewide is 10 years.

Investigations Law enforcement investigators provide
the first line of defense against the illegal commercialization
of fish and wildlife. Acting as plainclothes wildlife
detectives, investigators work in areas and situations where
uniformed officers in marked vehicles would be at a
disadvantage. This year, wildlife law enforcement
investigators found themselves involved with criminals who
were diversified in their professions. In one case where
investigators served a search warrant for marine turtle eggs,
they found machine guns, silencers, crack cocaine, stolen
ATVs and $20,000 cash.
While investigating complaints of illegal sale of
freshwater fish, investigators bought stolen computers,
guns, stereos, televisions and office equipment.
Although our primary responsibility is investigations
concerning illegal commercial game and freshwater fish
operations, cases successfully completed this year involved
protected saltwater species including snook, redfish and
sailfish. In addition, several fraud, boat theft and illegal
dumping investigations were completed.

Training and Records The Bureau of Training and
Records is responsible for basic recruit in-service law
enforcement and in-service support training, recruitment
and selection of wildlife officer candidates and the storage
and retrieval of all the division's records, correspondence
and files.

- ----------- ---- 1111 __ ---I --


During this year, 20 new recruit wildlife officers were
enrolled in the State Wildlife Officer Training Academy's
20th basic recruit school. Eighteen recruits successfully
completed 14 weeks of basic training. In addition, eight
weeks of field training were completed by each officer
which provided the necessary local familiarization and
orientation that takes the recruit from supervised law
enforcement patrol to solo work.
We are slowly expanding our First Responder Program
statewide. We now have 13 certified First Responder
instructors. Our current First Responder kits are in the
process of being upgraded to larger, more complete kits. A
folding spine board is under evaluation and a fracture
splinting kit which is suitable to our wilderness patrol
needs is being researched. This year, our First Responders
rendered emergency care to 54 individuals. Seven lives
were saved as a result.
Two Boating Accident and Fatality Investigator Schools
were conducted at the Wildlife Officer Academy. Selected
supervisors received detailed instruction on boating law,
boating accident reconstruction, interview techniques and
accident scene photography. The 40-hour course
culminated in an all-day field exercise on the Ochlockonee
River where two separate boating accident scenarios were
created by the training staff for in-depth investigation by
the students.
A two-day Boating Safety Workshop was conducted in
each of the five regions prior to Operation SWAMP. Safe
boat handling techniques were addressed, and participants
received an update on boating law with emphasis on new
statutes prohibiting boating while under the influence.
Mandatory recertification in the Monadnock PR-24,
Kubaton and firearms was successfully completed at the
regional level. This year's firearms training course,
"Survival Scramble and Stress Fire," reflects our ongoing
emphasis on officer safety and practical weapons training
using both the revolver and shotgun.
The division implemented a "One-On-One, Ride Along
Driver Training Program" last year. Regional training

officers, certified as driving instructors, ride with wildlife
officers and provide driving technique advice while
evaluating the officer's daily driving skills in wilderness,
rural and city driving environments. The training is
designed to reduce accidents, injuries and damage to state
equipment with a "proactive program" rather than depend
on "remedial" training in the aftermath of accidents.
The division must participate in interagency training in
order to work as a team with other agencies in national and
man-made disasters. Nuclear power plant exercises are
conducted annually. This year's nuclear power plant
disaster exercise was targeted to the St. Lucie Nuclear
Reactor on Hutchinson Island, just north of Ft. Pierce. The
two-day exercise gave us the first opportunity to use a new
computer program to keep track of simulated manpower
and equipment resource allocations, as well as the constant
stream of messages and actions taken in response to the
The records section completed the bidding process for a
computerized local area network. The programming of an
officer activity module to replace the current itinerary
system is undergoing preliminary study. Microcomputers in
each regional office will complete the system network.
Regional offices will be able to enter and retrieve officer
activity data with this new system. The operational cost
system is under preliminary development and will be in
place concurrently with the officer activity by mid-Fiscal
Year 1988-89.

Wildlife Reserve This year, the Wildlife Reserve
Program increased its membership to 280 reservists.
Reserve activities are varied and include check station
operation, management area sign construction and
placement, building and mounting duck boxes, answering
animal complaints, state and county fair exhibit duties and
working with wildlife officers and all other divisions and
offices of the Commission. The total number of hours of
donated service to the Commission this year by wildlife
reservists was 44,568.





The Division of Administrative Services provides support
services to all Commission program functions. These services
include budgeting, data processing, accounting, personnel,
property, purchasing and general office operations such as
maintenance, printing, word processing, central files, mail room
and storeroom.


Data Processing System Support The system
support and training functions took a major step forward
during the past year. The Office of Information Resource
Management was created from within the word processing,
records management and data processing staffs. The new
office includes word processing, records management,
archival records coordination and computer support
functions. Personnel have been trained to provide dial-in
support for all Commission personnel using personal
computers. In addition, extensive training classes are taking
place. Training classes occur in regional offices as well as
the Tallahassee headquarters, and more than 25 percent of
all Commission personnel have attended at least one
training class during the past year. The Commission
currently has approximately 100 microcomputers installed
in various locations throughout the state.
The Commission's Records Management Program is
being revamped. There is a more aggressive approach
concerning the maintenance of consistent records
coordination for the agency. In addition, the records
analyst is working to ensure the Commission's historical
profile is represented in the Florida State Library and

Personnel 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, union contract administration,
and serves as a conduit between employees and managers.
We have implemented the comptroller's direct deposit
program whereby salary warrants can be deposited
electronically into banks or credit unions. The COPES
segment for payment of temporary employees also has been
completed. We have established two working programs on
our personal computer to categorize and track terminated
and retired employees and monitor workers' compensation

Office Operations The functions of the Bureau of
Office Operations include the property office, office
services (mail room, supply room, print shop and building
maintenance) and the purchasing office. This bureau also
administers the motor pool, switchboard, security and
custodial contracts for the Tallahassee office. The bureau
chief acts as coordinator for interagency programs such as
energy and safety.
The purchasing office converted to an in-house
automated purchase order system which is housed on a

multi-user microcomputer. In addition, one regional office
was tied in to the system.
Also, the property office switched from sealed bids to
public auctions to sell surplus property items. This change
resulted in Commission staff spending half of the
previously required time conducting the sales of surplus
items while generating approximately 20 percent more

Accounting The Accounting section has the
responsibility of recording and maintaining 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. Funds from hunting and fishing licenses, permit
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 costs of purchasing 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 Wildlife Program is
financed by new residents' auto tag fees and by donations.
The Commission also maintains restricted trust funds to
pay rewards for the arrests and convictions of endangered
and threatened species law violators and to finance the
acquisition of land for wildlife habitat.


June 1, 1987 -June 30, 1988

Available Fund Balance July 1, 1987 .... $ 2,167,254
Revenue Received
General Revenue Fund (Operations)....... 17,557,285
Licenses and Stamps ................... 12,114,469
Intergovernmental Revenue ..............6,579,928
Other Revenue ........................2,541,018
Reversions ............................415,913
Total Funds Available ................... 41,375,867
Expenditures and Commitments
Law Enforcement ..................... 16,557,770
Wildlife Management .................. .6,398,672
Fisheries Management ...................6,741,947
Administration ........................3,582,745
Informational Services .................. 1,878,749
Environmental Services ................... 786,089
Fixed Capital Outlay Appropriations ........ 179,741
Non-operating Transfers ................. 1,845,258
Total Expenditures and Commitments ....... 37,970,971
Available Fund Balance June 30, 1988.... 3,404,896

*General Revenue Fund and State Game Trust Fund


July 1, 1987 -June 30, 1988

Available Fund Balance July 1, 1987 .... $3,091,226
Revenue Received
Fees and Contributions .................. 2,093,717
Interest ............................. 231,321
Other Revenue ........................... 2,877
Reversions ............................. 15,215
Total Funds Available ....................5,434,356
Expenditures and Commitments
Wildlife Management ................... 2,007,967
Informational Services ................... 217,948
Environmental Services ................... 378,613
Administrative ........................... 7,783
Fixed Capital Outlay Appropriations ........ 158,949
Non-operating Transfers .................. 192,158
Total Expenditures and Commitments ........ 2,963,418
Available Fund Balance June 30, 1988.... 2,470,938



Budgeting 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 87-88, legislative budget supplements were
prepared for FY 88-89.
The 1988-89 legislative budget requests were prepared in

conjunction with the development of the Commission's
strategic and operational plans. Individual budget requests
submitted by 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 the plans.

Appropriations by Division



Law Enforcement $16,567,763
Fisheries 6,931,082
Executive Director &
Administrative Services 6,977,433
Wildlife 9,170,157

Appropriations by Category


Other Personal Services
Landowner Payments
Salary Incentive
Data Processing
Payments of Rewards

Revenue Sources


of Total

17.6% / N
Executive Director &
Administrative Services






Intergovernmental 29.5%
Revenue License &
Permit Revenue



Percent of

General Revenue
License & Permit Revenue
Intergovernmental Revenue
Other Revenue




The Division of Wildlife is responsible for the application of
scientific information and principles in the management of
wildlife populations and habitats for the benefit of the people of
Florida. It conducts applied research to develop biologically
based management strategies and techniques, and applies
technical information in pursuit of defined management
strategies on public and private lands for resident and migratory
wildlife. Specific programs and activities include wildlife surveys
and inventories, land acquisition and management, development
of wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities and facilities,
formulation of harvest regulations, and participation in a variety
of land and wildlife resource management policy committees at
the state, national and international levels. The division
administers the largest public hunting area system in the United


effort to provide public hunting, the Bureau of Wildlife
Management administers Type I and Type 11 wildlife
management areas. In 1987-88 the Type I program
comprised 4,323,781 acres in 59 areas. A $10 permit is
required for use of these areas. Funds from the sale of these
permits are used for habitat development, management and
maintenance activities and for lease of the privately owned
lands included in the management area system.
The bureau cooperates with seven landowners in the 1.6
million-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 a variety of private
corporations and public agencies with industrial forest land

comprising a significant portion of the system's total
acreage. These landowners require sportsmen to purchase
permits to hunt, with the Commission offering law
enforcement and technical assistance to the landowners.
An additional 94,664 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,
Dupuis and East Everglades tracts.
During the 1987-88 season, hunters spent 453,933 man-
days hunting on the Type I system. A total of $500,000 in
lease payments ranging from less than one cent per acre to
$1.56 per acre was distributed to 15 private landowners
who made 1,218,946 acres available under this program.
Approximately one-third of the Type I lands is in private
ownership, with the balance being state and federal
Habitat management programs completed this year on
wildlife management areas included controlled burning of
113,338 acres, planting 12,400 mast-producing tree
seedlings and maintaining 750 acres of wildlife food plots.
A total of 837.5 acres was roller chopped and 200 acres
were mowed 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. A total of 131 wood
duck nesting boxes was erected and some 212 were
maintained and checked for hatchling production.
Work began this year on a major capital outlay project
to replace the decayed water control structures in the Lake
Ponte Vedra Dam on the Guana River Wildlife


Management Area. Replacement of these structures will
enable the Commission to regain control of water levels in
Lake Ponte Vedra in order to encourage favorable habitat
conditions for waterfowl and wading birds.
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 the state.
This year, the 55,000-acre Big Bend State Land Purchase
was added to the Type I Wildlife Management Area
Program and although 39,000 acres had been in the system
previously under private ownership, 16,000 acres of new
land were added to the system. The Big Bend purchase, in
Taylor and Dixie counties, is probably the most important
state acquisition ever made in terms of ecological
Issuance of antlerless deer permits and establishment of
harvest quotas for antlerless or antlered deer are population
management tools used on Type I wildlife management
Deer herd management regulations establish controls on
the legal harvest of antlerless deer from selected wildlife
management areas to ensure 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.

Hunt Management During 1987-88, there were
51,575 nine-day and 11,565 special hunt quota permits
available to the public. All special hunt quota permits and
51,369 (99+ percent) of the nine-day quota permits were
Antlerless deer permits were issued as part of the quota
hunt program during this year. There were 1,550 antlerless
deer permits issued for nine Type I wildlife management
areas by random drawing.
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. In addition to the
regular nine-day and special quota hunt programs, quota
hunt permits were issued for track vehicles, airboats,
Rotenberger walk and muzzleloading gun hunts, spring
turkey hunts and mobility impaired person hunts.

Hunter Surveys Two mail surveys were conducted
this year. The statewide mail survey used a 10-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
The total deer harvest for Florida in 1987-88, on both
private property and public hunting areas, was estimated at

Everglades Recreation Everglades Recreation Project
personnel assisted in the operation of managed hunts on
the Everglades Wildlife Management Area by manning

check stations to collect biological data from harvested
deer. A prescribed burning plan for sawgrass marsh in the
Everglades Wildlife Management Area was developed
during 1987-88. Aerial surveys were conducted to
determine deer population levels and antlered-to-antlerless
deer ratios.
Personnel assisted with the construction of seven check
stations to be used during hunting season. In addition,
wildlife habitat conditions were surveyed on tree islands in
the Everglades area, and water levels were monitored each
month during the year at selected gauges. Two day-use
recreation sites were maintained. Periodic checks of water
levels in the conservation areas were made. Surveys were
conducted of wading bird rookery sites.

Wildlife Extension Services White-tailed deer are
the most popular big game animals in Florida, with the
state's deer population now likely exceeding 700,000. The
division assists private landowners and lease holders by
providing guidelines on sound deer management.
Approximately 594 private landowners controlling
2,670,954 acres were issued 11,512 tags for antlerless deer
harvest. Reported antlerless deer harvest was 6,425
animals. Proper management of a growing deer population
requires reduction of female deer to maintain herds within
habitat carrying capacity limits.

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, 1,164 bucks have
been scored. Of those, 1,065 have scored 100 or more
inches, which qualified them for the registry. The largest
typical deer scored thus far was 168-s8 inches and was
taken in Gadsden County in 1977.

Nuisance Wildlife Control Bureau of Wildlife
Management biologists investigated and made corrective
management recommendations regarding the numerous
incidents of farm and citrus grove damage inflicted by
white-tailed deer. Most problems were resolved by
recommending a harvest of part of the doe population in
the immediate area during the regular hunting season.
However, 129 permits were issued outside the established
deer hunting season to remove 1,176 deer causing
significant crop depredation. Division staff also handled a
constant flow of requests and complaints from the public
concerning blackbirds, treefrog choruses, woodpeckers,
snakes, raccoons, foxes and others. The majority of the
complaints originated in the Everglades and South regions.


Alligator Management Subsequent to the enactment
of legislation in 1987 which established authority for
development of an Alligator Management Program, the
Commission promulgated and revised rules to provide a
framework for such a program. Rules were developed to
provide for permitting and operation of alligator farms
eligible to collect alligator hatchlings from the wild,
establishment of alligator management programs on private
wetlands, statewide harvesting of adult alligators and
hatchlings, validation and sale of alligator hides, harvest

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and sale of alligators and alligator products, and processing
of alligator meat for sale.
Thirty-nine alligator farms were permitted, 25 of which
were granted authority to receive alligator hatchlings taken
from the wild. Hatchling harvest quotas totaling 10,200
hatchlings were established based on the acreage of wetland
habitat types in each county. An application procedure was
developed and counties were assigned to eligible farms for
hatchling collection based on farmers' preferences and a
random drawing. As a result of collections in September
and October 1987, 3,908 hatchlings were taken by 15 of
the 20 eligible farms. Applications and permits were
processed for hatchling harvests to continue in Fiscal Year
1988-89. Also, the planning and review phase of a pilot egg
collection on Lakes Okeechobee, Hicpochee, and Monroe
was completed as part of a program to determine the
feasibility of collecting alligator eggs from public wetlands.
An application and procedures for permitting the harvest
of alligator eggs, hatchlings and adults on private wetlands
were developed. In response, 10 applications for a private
wetlands management program were submitted. Seven
permits encompassing in excess of 73,000 acres of wetlands
were issued and three applications were denied pending
clarification of questions involving ownership of wetlands
adjacent to public waters. Permittees were issued 128 adult
alligator harvest tags based on wetland inventories
conducted by professional biologists. Two of the
permittees took a total of 22 alligators during the May
harvest period, and the balance of the quota was expected
to be utilized in the September harvest period of the next
fiscal year.
Twenty-eight alligator management units and
corresponding adult harvest quotas were established by
Commission order for public wetlands throughout the
state. An estimated 15,000 applications for participation in
alligator hunts on these areas were distributed to the
public, resulting in the receipt of 5,858 completed
applications. Through random drawings, 238 people were
selected to participate in harvesting a maximum quota of
3,450 adult alligators. An alligator harvest training and
orientation program, designed to familiarize participants
with program regulations and effective harvest techniques,
was developed.
Procedures were established for tagging alligators
(validation) taken from the wild with Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tags
and for collection of tag fees. One thousand two hundred
sixty-seven hides were validated at two hide validations,
and four sites for future validations were secured.
Permitting procedures and requirements were defined for
processing, packaging, and labeling alligator meat, skulls
and other parts for sale. Approximately 30 alligator
processing facilities were subsequently permitted to process
alligators for the sale of their meat.
Experimental alligator harvests, designed to evaluate the
impact of harvest on alligator populations, were continued
on 10 lakes throughout the state. As a result, 73 trappers
harvested 1,016 alligators averaging 6.8 feet in length and
yielding an estimated total of 35,000 pounds of meat.

Waterfowl Management House Bill 898, passed by
the Florida Legislature in the 1978-79 fiscal year, requires
persons hunting wild waterfowl in Florida to possess a $3
Florida waterfowl stamp. A contest open to the public

provides the artwork for the stamp. Seventy percent of the
revenue generated is allocated to the management of
Florida's resident and migratory waterfowl resources. The
remaining revenue is allocated to waterfowl research (25
percent) and stamp program administration (5 percent).
During the 1987-88 fiscal year, 28,662 stamps were sold,
generating $85,986 in revenue. Expenditures during the
reporting period totaled approximately $311,914. The
difference between revenues and expenditures was derived
from Commission operating funds ($196,725) and Ducks
Unlimited (DU) matching aid ($29,204).
Most activities of the Waterfowl Management Program
(WMP) can be described as either population monitoring
and harvest management or habitat protection and
enhancement. Improved management of resident waterfowl
species (i.e., wood duck, mottled duck, fulvous whistling-
duck) continues to be the highest priority in the program.
Fiscal Year 1987-88 marked the fifth year of accelerated
efforts to determine the status of Florida's mottled duck
population. With assistance from the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, reliable survey techniques have been
developed to monitor temporal trends in mottled duck
abundance. On-going banding studies provide estimates of
harvest rates and annual mortality. Also, the WMP and the
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit are
cooperating in a study to determine reproductive success of
the mottled duck population.
Construction of the North Florida Waterfowl Field
Station, just east of Tallahassee, was completed during
1987-88. The primary responsibility of the station's staff is
to improve management of resident wood ducks. In this
regard, band recovery information is essential to our efforts
to assess and continue the experimental September duck
season. With assistance from Division of Wildlife
personnel, over 1,000 wood ducks were banded
throughout the state.
Sport harvest of migratory waterfowl is managed in
cooperation with the Atlantic Flyway Council and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. The WMP, therefore,
contributes manpower and fiscal resources to the conduct
of programs that have regional importance. The annual
midwinter waterfowl inventory, conducted throughout the
Atlantic Flyway, is badly in need of improvements. The
WMP successfully developed new survey procedures that,
when fully implemented, will provide more accurate
estimates of winter duck numbers and distribution. The
WMP also participated in a ring-necked duck banding
program designed to assess movements and mortality of
Florida's most heavily hunted waterfowl species and
conducted a statewide mail survey to determine attitudes
and opinions of Florida duck hunters on a variety of
harvest regulations.
Protecting the quality of waterfowl habitat remains a high
priority in the WMP. Review and comment on aquatic
plant control programs for public waters is a critical
component of this effort. The WMP also initiated
development of a comprehensive policy for the stocking of
grass carp because of their potential threat to wildlife
habitat. In an attempt to determine exposure to
environmental contaminants, 30 fulvous-whistling ducks
collected from the Everglades Agricultural Area were
analyzed for pesticide residues. Some of the compounds
detected suggested recent illegal use of restricted pesticides.
Implementation of the Ducks Unlimited MARSH

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(Matching Aid to Restore States' Habitat) program
continued during 1987-88. The MARSH program provides
money for wetland acquisition and enhancement to state
fish and wildlife agencies, based on funds raised by DU
within that state. The legislature provides dollar-for-dollar
matching funds to acquire MARSH money. Through this
program, water management capabilities were restored at
Hickory Mound Impoundment in Taylor County, and the
feasibility of joint wildlife/agriculture programs is being
tested at Lake Harbor Public Waterfowl Area in Palm
Beach County. Finally, over 700 wood duck nest boxes
were purchased with MARSH funds for installation on
public waters throughout the state.

Wild Turkey Management The Florida Wild
Turkey Stamp Act of 1986 requires persons hunting wild
turkeys in Florida to possess a $5 wild turkey stamp and
provides that revenues generated by stamp sales shall be
expended for research and management of wild turkeys. A
contest open to the public provides the artwork for the
stamp. Pursuant to this act, the Commission established a
wild turkey management program, the purpose of which is
to provide for long-term management and conservation of
wild turkeys in Florida.
The sale of turkey stamps and Florida sportsman's
licenses generated total revenues of $154,661 in Fiscal Year
1987-88. A total of 28,204 turkey stamps and 5,183
Florida sportsman's licenses were sold.
A statewide conceptual management plan for wild
turkeys was drafted and submitted for in-house review, and
a statewide survey of Florida turkey hunters was
completed. Additional activities included habitat
improvement, turkey population estimates, research on
turkey population estimates, and completion of a study on
the status of wild turkeys in Northwest Florida.
Operational plans for 62 wildlife management areas
(WMAs) were reviewed as to content regarding turkey
management practices and habitat improvement. Habitat
improvement is being emphasized on WMAs where our
agency has primary land management authority. As a result
of a turkey habitat evaluation study on WMAs, 6,000 acres
were burned on Three Lakes WMA, and 3,000 acres were
burned on Bull Creek WMA. Ten thousand acres were
burned on the J.W. Corbett WMA, and summer burning
of pine woods accounted for 3,000 of the acres burned. A
habitat improvement project was begun on the
Apalachicola National Forest WMA. This project was done
in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and consisted
of closing about 1,500 acres to vehicle access during the
brood rearing season and planting turkey food plants
within the area and along roadways. Fifty-five miles of
roadways were mowed on Green Swamp WMA, and 12
miles of roads were mowed on Upper Hillsborough WMA
to improve brood rearing habitat.
The statewide fall turkey harvest increased for the fifth
consecutive year, and at least three WMAs had record
harvests in the 1988 spring season. Green Swamp,
Richloam and Camp Blanding WMAs had harvest increases
of 40 percent, 83 percent, and 154 percent, respectively,
over the previous year, as indicated by numbers of birds
checked through manned check stations.
Wild turkey population evaluations were conducted on
six selected WMAs to assist in establishing harvest and
hunter quota objectives. A pilot study was initiated to

improve turkey population estimation techniques now
being used on selected WMAs. Our current method gives a
"minimum" count, and the pilot study is designed to
increase accuracy of these estimates.
A statewide hunter survey was designed and mailed to a
sample of Florida turkey stamp purchasers. The survey was
designed to collect information on hunter attitudes, hunter
satisfaction, hunter demographics, and turkey harvest. Data
from the survey will aid in tailoring management to hunter
An evaluation of the wild turkey in Northwest Florida
was completed by a private research organization. The
study summarized the status of wild turkeys in Northwest
Florida and made recommendations on how to increase
turkey numbers and ways to improve turkey management.
The Commission published a technical bulletin which
summarizes approximately 20 years of wild turkey field
research. Technical assistance, educational materials, and
turkey management rules and regulations were provided to
interested citizens and wildlife professionals on a daily
basis. Several seminars were presented to the public
concerning hunting ethics, techniques and safety.


All studies and other discrete elements of Florida's
Endangered Wildlife Project, funded via the federal
Endangered Species Act at a federal/state ratio of 3/1,
were monitored and overseen, and various activities
supplemental or complementary to the Project were
participated in, facilitated or supervised. A number of
presentations on endangered species was made for schools,
conservation groups, other state agencies, etc. Pursuant to
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests, draft recovery
plans for the Florida grasshopper sparrow, Florida golden
aster, fragrant prickly apple cactus and Florida scrub jay
were reviewed and comments prepared and submitted.
GFC representation and participation on the Governor's
Save the Manatee Committee, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow
Advisory Committee, Red Wolf Recovery Team,
Endangered Species Committee of the Southeastern Section
of The Wildlife Society and the Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services' Endangered Species Task Force


was maintained. The annual progress report and update for
the "Endangered and Threatened Species Management and
Conservation Plan," required by provisions of the Florida
Endangered and Threatened Species Act of 1977, was
prepared and submitted to the governor, cabinet and
appropriate members of the Florida Legislature, and
distributed to interested persons. An updated list of
endangered species, threatened species and species of
special concern was prepared and distributed. One hundred
fifty-six scientific collecting permit applications involving
listed species were received and processed. Coordination of
a four-year experimental interstate and intergovernmental
cooperative bald eagle re-establishment project, designed to
test the feasibility of using Florida's eagle population as a
donor source to re-establish the species throughout the
Southeast, was completed. That experimental project
essentially consisted of removing eggs from Florida nests
and monitoring recycling success of the parent birds;
transporting the eggs to the George M. Sutton Avian
Research Center in Oklahoma and hatching them and
rearing the young to seven or eight weeks of age; and then
distributing them among five hacking stations in five
different southeastern states. Two special projects were
planned, initiated and supervised one an endangered
plant survey of U.S. Navy properties in Escambia County
(funded by the U.S. Navy), the other a status survey of the
Keys marsh rabbit (funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service). The field work for those special projects was
contracted to appropriate entities.
Thirteen applications for grants through the
Commission's Nongame Wildlife Program involving listed
species were reviewed and recommendations as to their
approval or rejection tendered. Field monitoring of one
nongame-funded project, involving the white-crowned
pigeon, was effected. Consultory and/or technical
assistance in endangered species matters was provided to a
number of state and federal agencies, consulting firms and
local regulatory entities. Organizational and editorial
services were provided in association with the Fifth North

American Crane Workshop, hosted by the Commission
Feb. 22-25.
A great deal of miscellaneous endangered species
correspondence was initiated or responded to, and
numerous requests for information were processed.


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 has 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.

Black Bear Field work on the black bear habitat use
study was completed in June 1988, and a final report is
now available. The following are findings of that study.
From May 1983 to May 1988, 27 black bears were radio
tracked in and around Osceola and Ocala national forests.
Males were more mobile and occupied larger home ranges
(66 square miles) than females (11 square miles). Home
ranges of bears in all sex and age classes overlapped
considerably with little or no movement occurring in
winter followed by increased movements in April that
continued through the fall. In Ocala National Forest,
habitat preference shifted from pine flatwoods in winter
and spring to sand pine scrub in summer and fall. In
Osceola National Forest, cypress-blackgum swamps were
preferred throughout the year.
Most bears denned at some point during the winter in
ground nests situated in areas with an extremely dense
shrub cover. Pregnant females denned for longer periods
than other bears. In one case, a female was radio tracked
during two winters and was observed to den for 140 days
with cubs during the first winter but only denned for eight
days the following year when she was barren.
Major causes of mortality of tagged bears were highway
deaths in Ocala National Forest and legal harvest in
Osceola National Forest. Limited observations were made
on reproduction. One female successfully bred at age 2.5
years. The breeding season appears to occur in July,
possibly extending into early August. Birth of one litter
occurred in early February.
In Ocala National Forest, minimum density was
estimated at one bear per 3,000 acres or 125 bears for the
entire forest. Density could not be calculated for Osceola
National Forest because of small sample sizes. Minimum
habitat requirements for a population of 50 bears was
estimated to be 165 square miles. Drawbacks of this
estimate are many but it is recommended that efforts be
made to conserve blocks of contiguous habitat in excess of
165 square miles.

Bald Eagle During the 1988 nesting season, a total of
390 active territories was located. Of these, 276
successfully fledged 448 young at a rate of 1.12 young per
active territory and 1.62 young per successful nest. These
rates are above the 10-year average and are representative
of a healthy population that in some areas appears to be
increasing. A manuscript, "Use of Aerial Surveys to
Evaluate Bald Eagle Nesting in Florida," based on survey

results since 1973 was prepared and submitted to the
Southeast Raptor Management Symposium.

Sandhill Crane/Whooping Crane Monitoring was
completed and a final report prepared for all remaining
active studies. A report of the results from the whooping
crane re-establishment feasibility study was prepared and
presented to the Whooping Crane Recovery Team. The
team considered the results of the three feasibility studies
and decided the next (third) flock of whooping cranes
should be non-migratory and should be reintroduced into
Florida. Planning will begin soon for preparation of
reintroduction activities.

Snail Kite A total of 326 snail kites observed during
the 1987 winter snail kite survey represents a 42.1 percent
decrease from the number of kites observed during the
1986 census. Significant increases in kite numbers were
found at lakes Kissimmee and Okeechobee, whereas
notable decreases occurred in Lake Tohopekaliga and
conservation areas 2B and 3A. The 1988 snail kite nesting
season generally was below average in the number of nests
and reproductive success. No snail kite nesting was
detected at Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Park Reservoir,
Conservation Area 1, Conservation Area 2A, Conservation
Area 2B, Conservation Area 3B, the Pocket and East
Everglades regions during 1988. A moderate decrease in
nest numbers occurred at Lake Okeechobee, a slight
increase in the number of nests was detected at Lake
Kissimmee, and first nesting attempts were found at the
Fellsmere Marsh. Frequency of plant species used as nesting
substrate varied by region, but southern willow, cattail and
buttonbush were used most often.

Fish-Eating Bird
Predation at Richloam Hatchery Fifteen species of
fish-eating birds were observed foraging at the Richloam
Fish Hatchery in Sumter County. Peak numbers of fish-
eating birds generally occurred during the morning hours
(8 a.m. to noon) and during the winter (November to
February). The latter phenomenon suggests a possible role
of migrant birds in fingerling loss. The removal of 16

double-crested cormorants was associated with an increase
in Phase II channel catfish survivorship to 45.4 percent in
FY 87-88 from less than 0.5 percent in FY 86-87.
Continued removal of cormorants and yearly evaluations
are recommended.

Florida Panther North Florida Panther Studies -
systematic field searches for panther sign were conducted
this year in a study area made up of the Osceola WMA and
vicinity and also along the St. Johns River drainage. No
panther sign was found in the Osceola study area and only
a few widely scattered signs were found along the St. Johns.
The Florida Panther Record Clearinghouse received 278
panther reports, of which 30 were investigated. Three of
these were confirmed to be panthers and consisted of
tracks from Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in
Osceola County in July 1987; a panther skeleton and scats
from Farmton Wildlife Management Area in Volusia
County in December 1987; and a deer kill near Fort Drum
Creek in Indian River County in May 1988.
Five mountain lions were captured in west Texas and
brought to Florida to be used as surrogates in evaluating
the feasibility of translocating Florida panthers. They were
surgically sterilized, fitted with radio-transmitter collars,
and released. These animals will be monitored on a daily
basis through June 1989. Two Florida panthers and three
Texas mountain lions were maintained at the captive
breeding facilities at White Oak Plantation. Although these
animals have adapted well to these facilities, no kittens have
been produced.
South Florida Panther Studies-A total of 3,079 radio
locations was used to determine home range sizes of 13
Florida panthers in Collier, Hendry, Highland, Glades and
Hardee counties. Adult male ranges averaged 255 square
miles and adult females' averaged 135 square miles. A
subadult female used a 37 square-mile area. Home range
shifts by two panthers in the Fakahatchee Strand may have
resulted from the loss of two adult females and low water
levels. Habitat characteristics varied from north to south
with higher quality lands more abundant in the northern
part of the study area. Female productivity was directly
related to prey abundance while female home range size was
inversely related to prey abundance.
Thirty-two white-tailed deer have been captured in the
Bear Island unit of the Big Cypress National Preserve, 27 of
which have been radio-instrumented. Cause of mortality
was determined for four of five marked deer that were
known to have died during the study period. There was no
difference in survival rates among three intervals: summer
1987 (June 1 Nov. 6, 1987), hunting season (Nov. 7,
1987 -Jan. 3, 1988), and spring 1988 (Jan. 4 May 31,
1988). Overall, the survival rate was 71 percent. Average
doe home range size was 427 acres and a radio-collared
buck used 2,006 acres. Three does made extensive
movements outside their normal use area for unknown
reasons. Six radio collared does successfully raised fawns
past the first critical weeks, and six other does do not
appear to be accompanied by fawns this season.
Fourteen individual Florida panthers were successfully
immobilized for the purposes of radio-collaring and
collection of biomedical information and/or for removal
from the wild and rehabilitation.
One hundred and five field days resulted in radio-
collaring four new panthers. The physical condition, body

weight, reproductive status, and blood and serum indices
all indicate the panthers using the private lands adjacent to
the Bear Island Unit of the Big Cypress National Preserve
were in excellent health and in better condition than those
previously studied in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve
(FSSP). This north/south "health dine" continues to be
associated with the type and abundance of prey taken.
Seven panthers are known to have died since December
1987 and human activity was responsible for the majority
of all documented panther deaths (road killed 52 percent,
illegally killed 15 percent). Seventy-five percent of all
Florida panthers were exposed to feline panleukopenia
virus (a lethal virus that affects newborns), however the
prevalence was significantly higher in the FSSP/Big Cypress
Swamp ecosystem than in the Everglades National Park.
During in vitro fertilization experiments, researchers
collected 141 oocytes (eggs) from seven female cougars.
Following insemination, 10 cleaved embryos resulted,
including one sired by a captive Florida panther, and were
transferred to two recipient females. Preliminary data from
the panther/cougar population genetics study reveal that
the species has abundant genetic diversity but the Florida
panther has less diversity than other wild subspecies
examined. The results of the genetic study coupled with the
abnormal male reproductive traits (abnormal spermatozoa)
raise serious concern for the reproductive potential and
genetic health of this subspecies.

American Crocodile Uncommonly dry conditions in
south Florida during the spring and early summer of 1986
and 1987 resulted in mediocre reproductive success in the
Florida population of the American crocodile, due
presumably to desiccation-related egg mortality. In contrast
to the last two years, the spring and summer of 1988 were
unusually wet, leading to expectations of high reproductive
success. Apparently, however, too much rainfall is just as
deleterious as too little. Of six crocodile nests located on
Key Largo in 1988, only one produced young. A total of
15 hatchling crocodiles was tagged and released.
During the year, 57 previously tagged crocodiles were
recaptured a total of 71 times, including one juvenile which
moved from Key Largo to Turkey Point. A gravid female
crocodile was struck and killed on U.S. Highway 1.

American Alligator Experimental harvests continued
on Orange, Lochloosa, and Newnans lakes. Hunts during
1987 removed 303 alligators, an estimated 12.6 percent of
the population over four feet long. Harvest quotas were
based on night-light counts. In addition, various population
parameters were monitored on these treatment lakes and
two control areas (Lake Woodruff and Paynes Prairie).
Nesting has increased on Orange Lake, Paynes Prairie and
Lake Woodruff during significant changes on any of the
areas monitored. Clutch size and egg fertility rates remained
stable from 1983 through 1987. Hunter success dropped
substantially after the first year of harvest (1981) but then
stabilized. Hunters earned a mean income of $4,902 in
1987. An average of 336 alligators have been harvested
annually on all treatment lakes with a gross value of
$100,571 at the producer level. In 1987, an average
alligator yielded a value of $406.
Night-light surveys were conducted on 21 areas
throughout Florida in 1987. For alligators larger than
hatchling size, population densities showed an increasing

trend from 1980 through 1987 with significant increases
on lakes Jessup and Miccosukee. However, on Lake
Apopka the population density has declined significantly
since 1980. Overall, mean densities of alligators are well
above the minimum density thresholds established by the
Commission in 1986.
Two studies to identify some population limiting factors
were completed this year. Food habits of juvenile (less than
four feet long) alligators on Orange Lake were examined.
Results indicate that dietary constraints may explain some
size-related variation in growth rate and physical condition.
The relatively poor nutritional status of alligators three to
four feet long could delay their recruitment into larger size
categories, thus reducing the potential breeding population
and numbers in size categories that are hunted. The
mortality of juvenile alligators attributed to cannibalism on
Orange Lake also was examined. Alligator web tags used in
mark-recapture studies were found in 12 percent of the
stomachs sampled from adult alligators. An experiment
with captive adult alligators that were force-fed tags
revealed that some individuals retained tags for two years.
Time of tag retention, prevalence in stomachs, and
information from population estimates indicates that
cannibalism may remove six to eight percent of the juvenile
alligator population annually.

Gopher Tortoise Data analysis regarding gopher
tortoise demography and movements was completed during
FY 87-88 and a final report is now available. Burrow
surveys on three north Florida study sites revealed a
continuous cycle of burrow creation and abandonment.
The ratio of burrow numbers to gopher tortoise numbers
varied between years and sites; the range (active and
inactive burrows) was 0.45-0.69 per burrow. A total of
378 tortoises was captured and marked on the three sites.
Percentages of adult tortoises on each site ranged from 40-
64 percent. Female to male sex ratios varied yearly between
1:1 and 1:2. Overall average clutch size was 5.8. Growth
analysis revealed that gopher tortoises require one to two
decades to reach sexual maturity, with males maturing
earlier than females. Considerable individual variation was
observed in home range size, distances moved, duration of
winter inactivity and number of burrows used by 22 radio-
instrumented tortoises. Three immature tortoises had
ranges comparable to, or larger than, those of some adults.
Maximum adult movements were associated with mate-
seeking or nesting behavior. The longest recorded
movement (0.46 miles) was made by a dispersing subadult.
The findings from the six and one-half-year study
indicating the species' decline and low reproductive rate
prompted a change in Commission regulations. Effective
July 1, 1988, gopher tortoise harvest was prohibited


The Nongame Wildlife Program (NGWP) was funded in
1984 by the Florida Legislature to ensure the conservation
and management of all Florida wildlife and their habitats.
Nongame wildlife includes those animals neither classified
as game nor as threatened or endangered an estimated
650 species of wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians
and fishes, plus many times that number of invertebrates
and plants. These animals compose 85 percent of the

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wildlife found in the state, and include herons and hawks,
bats and butterflies, salamanders and songbirds, snakes and
owls, and many others.
During Fiscal Year 87-88, nongame wildlife conservation
efforts were focused in eight areas including: research and
education grants, survey and population monitoring, urban
wildlife management, conservation education, technical
assistance, habitat management, data management, and
planning and evaluation.

Research and Education Grants The Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission depends on the
expertise of scientists, educators and resource managers
outside the agency to help it achieve its research, education
and conservation goals. NGWP grants provide an avenue
by which outside experts can seek support for significant
projects that involve nongame wildlife.
Since its inception, Florida's Nongame Wildlife Program
has sponsored 47 grant projects in the largest program of
its kind in the country. These projects span a wide array of
research, education and conservation topics that will help
us better understand, appreciate and preserve Florida's
unique wildlife heritage.
Fifty-four grant proposals were submitted in January
1987 for funding consideration by the Nongame Wildlife

Grants Program in 1987-88. Proposal subjects ranged from
nongame wildlife education to the conservation and
management of wildlife habitats. They included studies on
nongame plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles,
birds and mammals.
Two projects were solicited to address specific needs
identified by NGWP staff. The first of these resulted from
a Request for Proposals (RFP) and addresses the species-
area relationships in scrub communities. The information
obtained will help the Commission's conservation efforts
of this unique yet vanishing habitat. The last project was
solicited to compile and summarize the information
available on the effects that season burning has on wildlife.
The Commission and other land managers need this
information to determine how prescribed burning can be
used as an effective habitat management tool in ways that
are compatible with wildlife needs. As more information is
collected by the program's Research and Survey Section,
critical gaps in our knowledge can be identified and bridged
through the development of additional RFPs and other
solicited projects.
Funding for these new projects for 1987-88 totalled
$158,462. An additional $346,921 was spent to support
ongoing grants. Total support for research for 1987-88
amounted to $505,383.

Survey and Population Monitoring A major
responsibility of the NGWP is to establish a comprehensive
survey and monitoring program for Florida's nongame
wildlife. The goals of this program are to track changes in
the abundance and distribution of nongame wildlife, and to
identify species in decline that need protection or
management to be kept off of threatened and endangered
species lists.
NGWP biologists made great progress in our statewide
aerial survey of wading bird colonies. We have
systematically surveyed over half of the state and now have
current information from well over 300 colonies. Staff
biologists also continue to conduct and coordinate the
expanded Breeding Bird Survey and are confident this will
greatly enhance our ability to monitor breeding songbird
NGWP personnel completed a questionnaire survey of
beaver distribution in the state, a thorough survey of
Jackson County bat caves, a survey for burrowing owls on
Marathon Key and a survey for the Anastasia Island beach
mouse. A survey of least tern and black skimmer colonies
along the northeast, southeast and northwest coasts and in
the Keys also was completed.
Other ongoing efforts include intensive monitoring of
burrowing owl colonies in Cape Coral, monitoring
numbers of endangered gray bats using maternity caves in
Jackson County, documenting the range of the eastern
chipmunk in the Panhandle, and counting migrating
American swallow-tailed kites.

Urban Wildlife Management The Cooperative
Urban Wildlife Management Program is jointly funded by
the Commission and the Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida. The program
is intended to increase the appreciation of urban wildlife
and enhance these resources through management,
education and applied research.
A wildlife resources handbook, a project designed to
provide a compilation of wildlife-related information to
help extension and agency personnel answer a wide range of
wildlife questions from the public, was designed and we
hope to have it completed by June 1989. A Florida
Wildlife Habitat Program was initiated. This program
encourages Floridians to provide habitat for wildlife on
property they manage. Two wildlife videos were completed,
one on snakes of central Florida and one on armadillos.
An in-service training program aimed at teaching county
extension agents how to manage urban wildlife nuisance
problems was developed and will be offered twice during
In addition to requests from county and regional
agencies, Urban Wildlife Program staff received and
answered nearly 3,000 requests from the public for
wildlife-related information. The program staff also
provided technical advice to development corporations and
home building associations and encouraged them to
incorporate wildlife habitat considerations within
development plans.

Technical Assistance NGWP staff provided technical
assistance to regional and local governments on a variety of
nongame wildlife protection issues, such as the effects of

development on nongame wildlife and nongame wildlife
habitat needs.
Staff provided technical assistance to the public on a
wide variety of topics, including legal questions regarding
wildlife, endangered species permit requests, gopher
tortoise and burrowing owl relocations, bald eagle nest
disturbance and nuisance animal complaints about snakes,
bats, squirrels, armadillos and others. Guidelines for osprey
nest relocation and removal were completed.

Habitat Management NGWP biologists contributed
to management plans for several wildlife management areas.
These contributions included recommendations on water
and timber management practices, prescribed burning,
vehicle access and other activities that affect nongame
wildlife habitat on the areas.
The Commission has designated as Critical Wildlife
Areas (CWA), 14 important wildlife nesting, feeding, or
roosting sites that are susceptible to disturbance by
humans. The regional nongame biologists worked to ensure
that each CWA was posted against trespass and that
wildlife use of the areas was monitored. A summary of
activities during the previous year was prepared for each
Guidelines for the protection of least tern nesting
colonies were completed and sent to Florida biologists,
planners, educators and park, refuge and wildlife
management area specialists.

Data Management A database was created to store
information pertaining to wildlife observations throughout
the state. This data will provide current information on the
distribution of the state's wildlife and will be cross-
referenced with a species information database which
contains more general information on each species'
distribution and natural history.

Planning and Evaluation An educational and
marketing strategies study was completed which provides
the NGWP with a scientific and comprehensive approach
to nongame wildlife education. The study involved
quantitative and qualitative research on how Floridians
relate to wildlife and on Floridians' wildlife education
The marketing study was combined with other wildlife
education research, the Commission's Strategic Plan, other
Commission planning documents, and input from
biologists, educators and planners to produce a foundation
plan for a five-year comprehensive conservation education
plan. The plan will be completed during FY 1988-89.
A prioritization system for Florida's nongame wildlife
was nearly completed. The system will produce a
comprehensive ranking of Florida's nongame wildlife that
takes into account each species' vulnerability and relative
biological significance. This project will be completed
during FY 1988-89.
A study of the Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund was
completed. The study analyzed trust fund revenue receipts
and expenditures, predicted future revenue receipts and
expenditures and forecasted future trust fund balances.
A final report was prepared on the results of a study
which tested the effectiveness of adding descriptive inserts
to vehicle registration renewal notices for generating
contributions to the NGWP.

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An objective of the Division of Fisheries 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 finest
warmwater fishing and outdoor recreation in the world, those
resources have to be shared by a rapidly expanding human
population, which currently totals nearly 12 million. To fisheries
resources that means more fishing pressure and more degraded
fisheries habitats. Finding cost-effective ways, within the scope of
our responsibility, to manage those problems is the challenge
facing the Division of Fisheries.


The Surface Water Improvement and Management Act
(SWIM) was the Division of Fisheries' top priority in
1986-87. It continued to be our number one priority in
1987-88. As a result, we redirected 15 man-years of effort
to SWIM out of the total Division of Fisheries allocation of
154.5 man-years. The total predicted SWIM need for
1988-89 is 28 man-years. Our efforts, along with those of
the Division of Wildlife and Office of Environmental
Services, resulted in priority lists of surface waters for
conservation and/or restoration being developed by each

of the five water management districts that properly
considered recreational and environmental values.
Moreover, SWIM plans were developed to conserve
and/or restore numerous surface waters. The districts
significantly altered these plans to ensure proper
consideration of fish, wildlife and their habitats, as a result
of our assistance. Unfortunately, we received only three
new positions from the Legislature to help with this work,
and without significant increases in the future our ability to
ensure success for this tremendous opportunity to benefit
Florida's freshwater fisheries will be jeopardized.
During 1987-88 the Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission's strategic plan was modified to more
accurately reflect agency-wide goals, objectives and
strategies for dealing with freshwater fisheries. The result
was partitioning our efforts into three major programs.
These are "Game Fish," "Commercial Fish" and
"Noncommercial Fish." This conceptual reorganization of
our programs more accurately reflects the way we conduct
scientific management of the resources. In addition, starting
next year we will consistently measure angler satisfaction
statewide, and 12 important factors related to the quality
and quantity of sportfish populations and angler's use of
them in 10 statewide index lakes. This will give us a more
quantitative method of assessing our progress in the future.
Finally, in June 1988 the "National Recreational

Fisheries Policy" was adopted by participants at a national
convention, which included representatives of federal, state
and tribal governments as well as organized recreational
fishing groups and fishing industry leaders. The
Commission supports this policy, which provides a
conceptual framework of ideas, principles and management
strategies that, if supported and used by signatories, will
result in preservation and enhancement of fishery
resources, habitat and recreational fishing.

Fisheries Research The primary purpose of this
bureau is to conduct innovative research on methods to
enhance size and structure of freshwater fish populations
and to investigate the biology of Florida's important
aquatic resource systems for management applications. A
secondary purpose 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 success.
The bureau was reorganized this year into three sections.
These are: Scientific Support Services, Species Directed
Research and Resource Directed Research.
The North Florida Streams Project completed a
research study of largemouth bass in the Escambia River
marsh this summer. Findings demonstrated a need to
protect smaller bass from over harvest due to heavy fishing
pressure and slow growth rates. Plans have been proposed
to incorporate a 13-inch minimum size limit on black bass
from the Escambia River starting in July 1989. This
regulation should enhance the quality of bass fishing by
providing an increased number of one pound and larger
bass for anglers to harvest, and greater catch-and-release
success rates on smaller bass.
A total of 10,200 sunshine bass, which averaged nine
inches in total length, were stocked in the Escambia River.
Of these fish 5,000 were tagged to determine what
percentage anglers are harvesting, and whether the original
or reciprocal hybrid is more effective in developing a
The St. Johns River Fishery Resources Project
introduced 10,000 redfish (red drum) to the Farm 13
reservoir on the upper St. Johns River in late summer. The
fingerling-sized fish were provided by the Department of
Natural Resources hatchery in Manatee County. Hopefully,
through additional stockings, we will be able produce a
high quality sportfishery for this fish in fresh water.
Natural physiological requirements of redfish prevent its
being established in many other freshwater bodies in
The Ochlockonee River Watershed Project
completed evaluation of an 11-14 inch slot limit for black
bass, established to extend sportfishing benefits of the 1984
drawdown of Lake Talquin. Implementation of this
regulation demonstrated dramatically improved largemouth
bass fishing, with record catches of bass being harvested in
both spring and summer. High quality bass fishing should
continue through 1989. Plans are to conduct another
drawdown and modify the regulation to deal with changing
The Oklawaha Basin Project continues to document
exceptional benefits to the sportfishery resulting from the
1986 drawdown of Lake Griffin. Rejuvenated habitat
provided by submergent vegetation, primarily hydrilla,
produced a record crop of largemouth bass. A five-fold
increase in annual bass catch (20,000 bass) was

documented. Good fishing should extend through 1989, in
spite of some vegetation loss.
The Apalachicola River Project has verified excellent
sunshine bass fishing around the tailwaters of Jim
Woodruff Lock and Dam, and the Apalachicola River in
spring 1988. Several thousand quality- and trophy-sized
sunshine bass (3 to 10 pounds) were harvested between
February and May 1988. The improved fishery is the direct
result of stocking this hatchery-produced hybrid by Florida
and Georgia. In addition, this project is intensely involved
in a multi-agency effort to restore the native striped bass
fishery of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin.
Monitoring water quality in the Dead Lakes following
removal of the sheet-pile dam revealed significant
improvement. Dissolved oxygen levels did not stratify this
winter; therefore, there was enough oxygen on the bottom
of the lake for fish to feed.
The Apalachicola River is a major fishery resource which
has been degraded by continual dredging associated with
the Corps of Engineers Navigation Project. To propose
proper mitigation techniques, we are evaluating various
sizes and patterns for a rock relocation study. Placement of
rock on deposit sites has improved habitat and enhanced
gamefish populations.
The Largemouth Bass Investigations Project initiated
research on the effects of aquatic plant management in Lake
Rowell (367 acres). The lake was treated with Sonar to
control hydrilla. The study will specifically look at impacts
on largemouth bass abundance, length-frequency, food
habits and angler catch. Largemouth bass populations also
were sampled from lakes where submersed vegetation has
been eliminated for several years by grass carp. Bass
abundance ranged from 3 to 10 fish per acre. Based on
stomach content analysis, largemouth bass from these lakes
had a less diverse diet than fish from vegetated sites. This
research should quantify important long-term effects of
loss of aquatic plants and aid in planning future hydrilla
management statewide.
In conjunction with the Genetics Project, otoliths from
204 trophy bass (10 lbs. or more) were collected from
taxidermists throughout Florida. The bass ranged from 10
to 14.5 lbs. and were 5 to 15 years old (average age 9.4).
Trophy largemouth bass from Lake Okeechobee averaged
8.4 years of age compared to 11.3 for big fish from the
Ocala National Forest.
The Sportfish Introductions Project continues to
demonstrate conclusively, at Tenoroc Fish Management
Area, the value of regulation management techniques for
enhancing bass fishing in heavily fished waters. The project
has also documented the angler's willingness to give up part
or all of their harvest if the result is improved catch rates.
The key finding demonstrates that very high fishing
pressure must be documented prior to using regulations to
enhance fish population numbers and structures. Most
Florida waters do not yet meet the fishing pressure
criterion, but those that do will be managed, in part,
through implementation of appropriate regulations.
This project has taken on responsibilities in a new area
during the last few years. In fiscal year 1986-87, project
personnel conducted an exceptional Bass Management
Symposium for the media, bass clubs, professional
fishermen, legislators and the public. This year they
provided a symposium for the Florida Outdoor Writers
Association annual meeting, and for two years running

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have coordinated an educational effort at Seaworld, which
dealt with freshwater fishing in Florida. Additionally, they
have begun to increase efforts for technology transfer to the
public by working closely with the Office of Informational
Services to produce bulletins, slide shows and videos.
The Non-Native Fish Project has confirmed successful
introduction and establishment of butterfly and speckled
peacock basses in Dade County canals. These fish cannot
infiltrate prime largemouth bass fishing areas, due to the
extremely limited temperature-tolerance range of the
peacock bass, which require temperatures above 60 degrees
F to survive. An important consideration in stocking
peacock bass was their ability to consume smaller exotic
species, such as tilapia, (which are established in the canals)
and to restore a healthy predator-prey balance.
Blue tilapia in Lake Lena have been continuously
monitored since 1978. As the number of blue tilapia
increased the number of bass decreased, and as blue tilapia
biomass increased the biomass of bluegill and shad
The Herbivorous Fish Project has evaluated a low
stocking rate of triploid grass carp in Lake Yale, a 4,000
acre lake with hydrilla and native vegetation. Triploid grass
carp have targeted hydrilla, but specimens have also been
collected with a variety of plants in their stomachs
reconfirming that triploid grass carp are somewhat
opportunistic. Thus the assumption that triploid grass carp
will eat hydrilla first, which is their preferred food in pond
studies, may be invalid in large open systems.
The Eustis Chemistry Laboratory completed a
statewide survey for heavy metals contamination in
freshwater game fish, in cooperation with the Department
of Environmental Regulation. Data showed an overall
satisfactory condition for fish populations around the state.
The Hillsborough River near Tampa, and Black Creek in
Miami contained fish with moderately elevated mercury

levels, and we are investigating fish from these sites
The Fisheries Statistics Team has continued to
coordinate development of an interactive network of
personal computers in all field offices, to facilitate data
interpretation, communication and storage. In addition,
they are coordinating efforts to develop standardized
sampling and reporting procedures.
The second angler opinion survey, using survey cards
provided in the back of the Florida Freshwater Sport Fishing
Guide & Regulations Summary z987-88, was compiled and
analyzed. Of 121 respondents, 77 percent had purchased an
annual resident fishing license and 99 percent felt that the
booklet helped them understand the Commission's goals.
The general fishing preferences of anglers were for bass,
crappie and bream in that order. They indicated that
quantity of fish, and general trip enjoyment were what they
measured success by, with size of fish being another
important consideration. Of all anglers who responded, 51
percent indicated they were satisfied with freshwater fishing
in Florida, 37 percent were somewhat satisfied.
The team has also assimilated historical creel survey data
from 14 lakes and rivers into a comprehensive data base.
This will provide ready access to data from Florida's most
important fishery resources. In some cases, information is
available for the past 10 years to use in forecasting trends
and measuring future performance.
The Fisheries Genetics Project focused on refining our
understanding of the distribution of Florida and Northern
subspecies of largemouth bass and their intergrades in
Florida. Using samples collected from taxidermists, the
project began looking for possible genetic differences
between trophy-sized (10 lbs. or more) and smaller bass.
The Blackwater Hatchery was converted to the
Blackwater Fisheries Research Center this year to
conduct research on improving hatchery techniques for
producing fish to stock public waters and provide
technology transfer to the aquaculture industry. Early work
will focus on largemouth, striped and sunshine bass.
Historic production goals for the hatchery will be met.

Fisheries Management This bureau is responsible
for implementing sound fisheries management programs
using current scientific techniques to conserve and enhance
the state's freshwater fisheries and habitat. The bureau
comprises regional management, commercial fisheries and
aquatic plant management sections as well as a development
group and several independent projects.
The South Region Fisheries Management Project
implemented a slot-limit regulation on Saddle Creek Fish
Management Area in 1987 which has been accepted by
anglers and is showing a positive shift in the fish population
structure. A long-term fish population study was started on
Lake Tarpon to provide data for a SWIM plan.
The Northeast Region Fisheries Management
Project has completed a pilot urban fishing project, which

*The 1988-89 follow-up investigated 24 new sites, mostly rivers
and less eutrophic lakes, and revisited those sites with moderately
elevated mercury. This new data is alarming and led to Florida's
first health advisory on freshwater fish being issued by Health and
Rehabitative Services for bass and warmouth from the Everglades
Conservation Areas. An enhanced sampling program was
immediately initiated upon this discovery.

was coordinated with the Jacksonville Recreation
Department, to address demands of urban anglers. In 1987-
88, eight ponds, which totalled 114 acres, provided over
200,000 hours of recreational fishing opportunity in park-
like surroundings. Experiments with fish feeding, aeration
and supplemental stocking of channel catfish and sunshine
bass all contributed to the program's success.
The Northeast Regional crew has also been involved in
monitoring the Suwannee River and its tributaries. It has
demonstrated the value of diverse substrates and made
important contributions to the development of SWIM
plans for the Suwannee River Water Management District.
The Northwest Region Fisheries Management
Project has determined that fish and fishermen both find
the oyster shell fish attractors highly productive. These
attractors were installed experimentally in lakes Victor,
Karick and Hurricane. Sampling shows that 14 times more
harvestable sport fish utilize oyster shell substrates than
natural bottom, and that angler effort is significantly higher
around shell beds. In addition, a standard liming and
fertilizing program for Commission-managed
impoundments in this region increased total fish biomass
by as much as 300 percent. The number of harvestable bass
has also increased three-fold, as a result of this
The Northwest Regional crew also coordinated a
statewide study to determine if our private pond stocking
policy was productive and efficient. Results indicated this
activity provided little public benefit and the state's
aquaculture industry is now producing enough fish to meet
private needs. Consequently, the Commission decided we
would stop stocking private ponds after June 1989.
However, we will continue to provide technical
The Everglades Region Fisheries Management
Project conducted a study in the Everglades Water
Conservation Areas that monitored exotic fish population
expansions and angler success. Oscars, an exotic fish similar
to our native panfish, have developed an established

sportfishery in Conservation Area 2, and we are studying
their impact on native fishes.
The Central Region Fisheries Management Project
has noted favorable aquatic plant responses following
stocking of low numbers of triploid grass carp in Lake
Okahumpka. Hydrilla had topped out over nearly 90
percent of the lake prior to stocking of the fish. Half of the
lake is now accessible to sportsmen and healthy stands of
desirable native vegetation are becoming re-established.
The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Project determined
that five times as many harvestable largemouth bass were
found on reflooded muck removal sites as on control sites,
in this first year after successful completion of another
major drawdown of Lake Tohopekaliga (22,700 acres).
Lake-wide sampling in August 1988, showed the highest
number of young-of-the-year bass ever recorded. By 1991,
bass fishing on Lake Tohopekaliga should be the best in
Florida and possibly the nation.
Plans are being developed for a similar drawdown and
muck removal project on East Lake Tohopekaliga. This
13,500 acre lake is northeast of Lake Tohopekaliga, and
water levels have been artificially regulated since 1963. To
overcome problems caused by cultural eutrophication and
water-level control, approximately 375,000 cubic yards of
muck will be removed to restore six miles of shoreline.
The Lake Okeechobee Project determined that Lake
Okeechobee's bass are faster growing than previously
suspected. Creel surveys during 1987-88 documented
354,549 angler-hours of effort aimed at largemouth bass,
with a record catch of 139,406 fish. Anglers harvested
1,150,324 black crappie (speckled perch) and 149,500
bream. For black crappie, the creel showed a success rate of
2.74 fish/hour, the highest ever recorded. In addition, a
lakeside otter-trawl sampling study was initiated to
evaluate open-water areas. Black crappie comprised 43
percent by number, and 47 percent by weight of the fish
collected in trawls.
Commercial fishermen, using trotlines, wire catfish traps
and haul seines on Lake Okeechobee, harvested 4.5 million
pounds of fish. Catfish composed 67 percent by weight of
the harvest, while bream, and shad and gar comprised 13
percent and 14 percent of the commercial harvest,
The Fish Hatchery Project produced and stocked
nearly 4 million fish of eight species into 369 different
water bodies. Of those, 92 percent were striped bass and
sunshine bass. Public lakes and rivers received 87 percent
of all fish produced. Another four percent were delivered
to cooperating scientists for research, and nine percent
were stocked in private ponds.
A series of hatchery experiments provided further
evidence that triploid grass carp are functionally sterile.
This finding is important to safeguard aquatic habitat in
Florida, due to the importance of submergent vegetation to
fisheries, while allowing use of triploid grass carp as a tool
for economical aquatic plant management, in small water
The Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades
Resource Project completed a preliminary evaluation of
the Kissimmee River Restoration Demonstration Project on
fish and vegetation communities in Pool B. Fish
populations have responded favorably. Prolonged flooding
between June 1987 and June 1988 resulted in a doubling of
electrofishing catches of sportfish during this period.

During late summer 1988 some of these benefits were lost
due to a fish kill associated with low dissolved oxygen
concentrations following a rapid decrease in water levels
caused by manipulating the flood gates. The project
subsequently reached an agreement with the South Florida
Water Management District to provide essential minimal
sustained flows to prevent rapid changes in water levels, in
all except emergency situations.
In addition, improvements to the vegetation community
have been noted and a major invertebrate study is in its
second year. Currently, the overall invertebrate community
within Lake Okeechobee is reasonably healthy and typical
of invertebrate populations from moderately eutrophic
systems elsewhere in the south.
The Boat Ramp Project was expanded from one to
two, three-man crews. During 1987-88 they repaired 18
ramps throughout the state. New equipment and
techniques, more experienced work crews and a somewhat
streamlined process for acquiring permits from numerous
agencies should allow more ramps to be repaired on an
annual basis in the future.
The Fish Attractor Crew refurbished or created 40
structures this year. Although brush is still the
predominant material used, experiments were conducted to
determine if tires, or commercially available artificial
"trees" would be more economical, since brush piles break
down in two to four years. Preliminary findings indicated
artificial trees did not provide an acceptable alternative to
brush or tires. This continues to be a very popular program
with anglers across the state.
The Lake Restoration Project developed a lake
management program for Lake Istokpoga (27,700 acres),
the fifth largest lake in the state. Lake Istokpoga is
experiencing severe problems with nuisance aquatic
vegetation and artificially low water levels. A habitat
enhancement program was also designed and implemented
for Lake Monroe, a 9,406-acre lake in Seminole and
Volusia counties. Fisheries and wildlife habitat will be
improved by reintroducing native vegetation to 700 acres
of lake, at strategic locations.
The Commercial Aquaculture Project made
significant progress toward development of techniques for
culturing native panfish and their hybrids. This is
important to provide the aquaculture industry an
economically valuable alternative to importing and
culturing exotic fishes, which could be detrimental to
native fish and wildlife resources if they escaped. Results to
date indicate cage culture is an important technique to
prevent spawning and improve growth. During the year,
3,400 requests from the public for aquaculture information
were answered. The new Aquaculture Game Fish License
program is underway, with 20,000 tags and five licenses
sold so far.
Unfortunately, our efforts to gain legislative support for
this program were unsuccessful last year. However, the
needs and justification have been strengthened and
resubmitted to the Legislature, so we can adequately
develop and transfer necessary technology to the industry
to ensure safeguarding of native resources while assisting
growth of the freshwater aquaculture industry.
The Commercial Fisheries Project documented that
over 2.3 million pounds (rough weight) of wild, native
catfish worth $1.2 million in ex-vessel value were harvested
from Lake Apopka in 1987-88. The St. Johns River

commercial fishery recorded similar values for 1987-88.
Studies of gillnet catches at shoreline and off-shoreline sites
during the last two years led to recommendations that
gillnets be set at least 100 yards from vegetation to reduce
sportfish by-catch.
A study of the American shad gillnet fishery estimated
200,000 pounds of American shad were harvested between
Green Cove Spring and Palatka by 20 fishermen. Reports
from fishermen indicated this was a good year.
The Aquatic Plant Management Section is
responsible for reviewing permits statewide for aquatic
plant management to ensure a balanced approach to
providing recreational access without adverse impacts to
critical fish and wildlife habitat. Approximately 700
triploid grass carp permits were issued and 400 herbicide
permits were reviewed. The Commission spent $220,439
to purchase 55,971 triploid grass carp and barriers to keep
them on site to help in the aquatic plant management
Follow-up monitoring of private waters stocked with
triploid grass carp indicated greater than 95 percent success
in controlling target species and an improved perception of
the Commission's role and professionalism in dealing with
environmental issues. Another study evaluated various
methods for removing grass carp after they complete their
work. Four haul seine pulls in Lake Miona yielded 561
triploid grass carp weighing a total of approximately 7,000
pounds. In addition, we believe anglers harvested an equal
number of triploid grass carp by fishing around automatic
feeders used to congregate the triploid grass carp for haul
seiners. An effective technique that can be used in a variety
of situations to remove grass carp is being researched to
enhance the utility of this fish as a biological management


The Office of Informational Services is the central source of
information from the Commission to the public. Its mission is to
ensure a high level of public understanding of this agency's
programs and goals.
In addition to its overall public information responsibilities,
OIS coordinates several specific programs including Aquatic
Resources Education, Hunter Education, Project WILD,
Nongame and Endangered Species Education, Wildlife Alert,
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine, the Coryi Newsletter,
numerous educational and informational brochures and
news media relations.


Audio-Visual The public's perception and knowledge
of the Commission and its activities usually revolves
around some form of audio or visual communication. This
might be a television news program or a slide presentation.
It may take the form of a radio public service
announcement (PSA) or a photograph in a magazine.
The Audio-Visual Section worked with numerous
television stations that produced news stories and
documentaries concerning Commission activities during
this fiscal year. Video tape footage and information were
supplied to 12 stations that produced stories about Florida
panthers. Television productions on numerous other
subjects such as alligators, Hunter Education, nongame
wildlife, fisheries, law enforcement and wildlife
management, were assisted by the Audio-Visual Section.
These stories were featured on local television stations and
international networks as well as National Geographic.

Providing this assistance and coordination is an important
factor in maintaining the working relationship between the
Commission and electronic media.
The radio media continue to receive considerable
attention in our efforts to disseminate information. Radio
PSAs were distributed statewide on a variety of subjects.
Topics included: nongame wildlife, alligators, Wildlife
Alert, fishing, Hunter Education and steel shot regulations.
These 23 radio spots reached 235 radio stations in Florida.
A new instructional video tape, titled "Alligator Hunting
Methods," was produced this fiscal year. This video tape
and one titled "Skinning and Processing an Alligator," were
intended to be used in training sessions conducted by the
Division of Wildlife to train alligator trappers.
Slide series on 30 subjects were maintained and made
available for Commission personnel throughout the state.
Two new series were started on aquatic plant management
and aquatic resources. Also, revisions were begun on the
popular panther series.
The Audio-Visual Section was instrumental in updating
the sound system in the newly renovated auditorium in the
Bryant Building. Working with sound technicians, audio-
visual personnel selected equipment that would provide
optimum sound quality during Commission meetings and
other public functions. Portable components of this system
also are used to conduct Commission meetings and
workshops in other parts of the state.
An exhibit was designed especially for a meeting of the
Outdoor Writers Association of America. This exhibit
featured photographs and information about the
Commission's activities in law enforcement, fisheries,

----------~~ ----- ------I~--------s~-- -------..---------- ---

nongame wildlife and wildlife management. Nearly 1,000
writers and film makers attended this meeting at Marco
A substantial amount of time was spent providing audio-
visual assistance to Commission personnel. This included
production of slides and materials for staff presentations
and photographs for FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine, Coryi
newsletter and Commission news releases.
Considerable efforts also were made to assist
newspapers, book publishers, teachers and state agencies
with photographic and related assistance.

News and Information Services This section is
responsible for communicating information about wildlife,
hunting and fishing through news media and through
personalized responses to requests for information.
During fiscal year 1987-88, the News and Information
Services Section, from the Tallahassee headquarters and
five regional offices, continued to provide information to
the general public and to news media throughout the
Through the addition of computers in Tallahassee and
regional offices, this section has greatly enhanced its ability
to maintain the pace of fast-breaking news involving the
Commission. News releases, which previously required
several days to reach media via mail, now are transmitted
electronically to editors and news directors within 20
minutes when necessary. In addition, news releases and
other information is transmitted from regional offices to
the Tallahassee headquarters through computer modems
when speed is an important factor in dealing with news
media or the public.
On occasions when swiftness is not a requirement, news
releases are mailed to roughly 800 newspapers, magazines,
wire services, television stations, radio stations, free-lance
writers, conservation clubs and certain retailers.
During this fiscal year, the Tallahassee headquarters
prepared 92 written news releases of statewide, national or
international interest. Another 200 news releases of
regional interest were produced and distributed locally by
information officers in Panama City, Lake City, Ocala,
Lakeland and West Palm Beach. Also, regional information
personnel continued monthly publication of "Conservation
Notes," a collection of localized conservation news briefs
which are popular filler items among print and electronic
news media.
This section also assisted reporters and editors in
preparing outdoor-related stories on hundreds of occasions
this year. Because of international news media interest in
such Commission activities as the commercial alligator
harvest and supervised youth hunts, information staff
devoted an extraordinary amount of time and effort to
answering inquiries from news media and the general public
about these activities during this fiscal year.
Special and regular public relations projects concerning
Florida panthers, spring and summer fishing, youth
conservation camps, the Wildlife Alert Program, alligators,
hunting regulations and Commission meetings were
The News and Information Services Section also
continued publication of the newsletter Coryi. This tabloid
newspaper-type publication is produced by the
Commission for the Florida Panther Interagency
Committee, and is devoted to information concerning

efforts to save the Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) from
the threat of extinction.
All six offices responded to thousands of telephone
inquiries, many of which required follow-up activities or
resulted in mailing information. In response to written
requests for information, the Tallahassee office sent out
634 written responses and packets containing pamphlets
and brochures.
In addition, regional information personnel delivered
269 speeches and presentations concerning a variety of
outdoor topics. Regional personnel prepared and manned
25 exhibits at fairs and similar events. The exhibits were
viewed by nearly 1 million individuals.
OIS logged more than 345 television and radio
appearances during fiscal year 1987-88.
Other activities which this section undertook or
emphasized this fiscal year included conducting news media
relations workshops for regional personnel at West Palm
Beach and for law enforcement officers at the training
facility at Quincy. OIS also took an active part in preparing
commercial alligator trappers and participants in the
supervised youth hunts to cope with the attention of news
media from throughout the United States, England, Chile,
Scotland, France, Italy, Australia, Japan and other
This section provides editing services for Commission
personnel who plan to have their works published in
popular or technical magazines.
The News and Information Services Section produces the
agency's annual report.

WILDLIFE magazine always has been the pride of OIS.
This year, the magazine was honored by the Association for
Conservation Information as one of the 10 best state
conservation magazines in the nation. This new citation,
coupled with many other media awards, reflects the
publication's invaluable contribution to promotion of
FLORIDA WILDLIFE has published important
information concerning regulations, status of threatened
and endangered species and conservation of natural
resources for more than 40 years.
Factual articles about game wildlife help inform hunters
of regulation changes and the Commission's management
mission. Articles on nongame and endangered species help
make Floridians aware of complex conservation issues
facing our state. Through educational articles about habitat
restoration, land management practices, changing wildlife
populations and distributions, and ongoing biological
research and planning, the magazine informs the public
about the "delicate balance" of human and wildlife
interaction and the Commission's role and mission.
At the subscription rate of $7 per year, the bimonthly
magazine continues to be a popular, effective and
appropriate vehicle to educate Floridians about ethical use
of our natural resources. The magazine's circulation
increased by 2,000 during this fiscal year, and currently
stands at approximately 28,000.
During this fiscal year, the magazine staff polled readers
to learn more about them and their likes and dislikes
concerning the publication. Among other things, the poll
revealed that 62 percent of the readers consider FLORIDA
WILDLIFE to be excellent, and an additional 29 percent

I --i --I -- I I--------------------------- ~

classified it as "very good." Half the readers are hunters
and more than 80 percent of them enjoy fishing. The poll
also indicated the magazine appeals to a broad range of
readers, but the "typical reader" is a 50-year-old male who
has attended college and lives in a city rather than in a rural

Publications Each year the Publications Section
produces fishing and hunting handbooks, fish and wildlife
management area maps, and other regulatory information
that thousands of Florida sportsmen rely on to guide them
in the legal and ethical use of Florida's wildlife resources.
Beyond fishing and hunting regulations, the Publications
Section also produces scores of pamphlets, brochures,
booklets, and posters that bring the wonders of native
wildlife to the general public. This year's new publications
included Kids Fishing, an activity book that acquaints urban
children with the pleasures of fishing, as well as Living With
Alligators, a brochure that educates Floridians on how to
handle encounters with the state's most famous reptile.
The Publications Section also produces many in-house
documents, providing art and layout for such things as the
Commission newsletter, training materials, and policy
manuals. The Publications Section assists all divisions and
offices at every stage in the creation and production of
printed materials.

Wildlife Alert A key to the success of any agency's
law enforcement efforts is citizen support. The Wildlife
Alert Reward Program was established in 1979 to enlist the
aid of Florida's sportsmen in enforcing Florida's hunting
and fishing regulations. The program offers cash rewards to
citizens whose reports of violations result in arrests. Callers
are not required to give their names or testify in court.
During this fiscal year, 70,000 Wildlife Alert bumper
stickers were printed and distributed. These bumper
stickers bear the message, "REWARD REPORT
FROM YOU!" and list the Commission's toll-free
telephone numbers. Since the program began, 310,000
stickers have been printed.
Five public service announcements for radio were
produced and distributed statewide during this period.
Seventeen news releases concerning Wildlife Alert were
issued by the OIS from either the Tallahassee office or the
regional offices. In addition, regional public information
specialists promoted Wildlife Alert through 141 group
appearances, 25 radio appearances, 19 exhibits, six
television appearances and three newspaper interviews.
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine promoted Wildlife
Alert with public service messages in each issue.
The Division of Law Enforcement and OIS worked
together to maintain an accurate record of citizen reports,
arrests and reward amounts. During the fiscal year, rewards
totalling $13,900 were paid to 85 individuals whose
reports of violations resulted in 224 arrests. In addition,
540 arrests resulted from callers who declined rewards.
The Wildlife Alert Reward Association, a 13-member
panel appointed by the executive director, met twice during
this year to oversee the program with OIS handling
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 $19,784.11
during this fiscal year.

Education 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, The
Aquatic Resources Education Program, Project WILD and
Aquatic Project WILD.
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 resources.
During this year, the two camps drew a total attendance
of 1,777 youngsters. Hundreds more were on the waiting
list when the last vacancies were reserved. The eighth week
of camp at the Everglades site is reserved for children
sponsored through the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida Inc.
A survey of parents of campers attending the first, third
and seventh weeks of camp indicated that, on a scale of 1
to 10, parents rated the overall effectiveness of the program
at 8.8. Of the parents who responded to the survey, 97
percent said they would send their children again.
Respondents total slightly more than half the parents who
received the surveys.
During the off-season, youth camp facilities are available
for use by a number of conservation 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 recreational ethics.
During this fiscal year, 8,032 (a 15 percent increase over
last year) individuals, including residents and visitors, men
and women, children and senior citizens, participated in
300 (a nine percent increase) hunter education classes
statewide. Although some classes are taught by the

Commission's regional hunter education officers, an active
corps of more than 400 certified volunteers is responsible
for the bulk of the instruction. In fact, volunteer
instructors logged 18,735.5 hours during this year. This
time had a value to the State of Florida of $193,265 in
federal reimbursement.
The 16-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 licenses.
Requests from the public for information about
threatened and endangered species, especially from children
and teachers, come into the OIS on a steady basis.
Presentations about endangered and threatened species,
often in combination with other conservation education
programs, are staged for schools, youth camps, colleges,
civic organizations and conservation-minded groups.
Programs typically include multi-image slide shows
combined with original music about Florida's wildlife.
This section conducted numerous programs for the
public. These programs served to introduce audiences to
the 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 hundreds of pieces of literature
concerning threatened, endangered and other wildlife.
In addition to group presentations, radio and television
programs were used, further advancing the cause of
educating the public about this state's wildlife habitats and
environmental issues.
Project WILD is an activity-centered education program
which emphasizes wildlife and habitat themes. 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
42 states offering this award-winning program to educators.
A total of 49 Project WILD workshops were conducted
in Florida this year. Approximately 1,233 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.
A new Aquatic Project WILD activity guide became
available late in the fiscal year. Fifty-three teachers attended
a special aquatic training workshop for this series of about
40 new activities which focus on fresh water, estuarine and
marine ecosystems.
In addition to the one-day Project WILD workshops,
148 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.

The Project WILD/Outdoor Adventure Workshops
have become so popular that an advanced program was
established for those teachers who attended a previous
weekend workshop. About 40 teachers participated in one
of two advanced programs offered this year.
The annual workshop leaders (facilitators) workshop was
held in December. Twenty-eight educators were trained to
lead Project WILD workshops for their colleagues.
Educators and others who are interested in Project WILD
are kept up to date through "Florida's Wild Side," a
regular column in The Skimmer.

Nongame Wildlife
Education Program The Nongame Wildlife
Education Program is one part of the total Nongame
Wildlife Program, and is housed in OIS. The program was
funded in 1984 to ensure conservation of Florida wildlife
that is not classified as game, threatened, or endangered.
Nongame animals represent 85 percent of all Florida
The purpose of this educational effort is to create
programs and campaigns that prepare or involve various
segments of the public in accomplishing the nongame
program goal, i.e., to maintain and restore the richness and
natural diversity of Florida's native nongame wildlife.
During this fiscal year, the "educational and marketing
strategies study" was completed, providing the Nongame
Program a scientific and comprehensive approach to
educational planning. Objectives of the study were: to
identify and rank major segments within the Florida
population, identify and recommend specific actions the
targeted groups should take on behalf of wildlife, develop
messages addressing wildlife related issues and actions the
targeted groups should take, identify the appropriate
communication mechanisms and develop cost effective
evaluation methods.
The study involved quantitative and qualitative research
to segment and rank Floridians and probe into each
subgroup's attitudes and perceptions about wildlife issues
and conservation in Florida. Research also revealed
preferred communication methods, actions citizens are
taking and what actions citizens are willing to take on
behalf of wildlife.
This valuable research combined with the Commission's
strategic plan, the Cooperative Urban Wildlife Program's
strategic plan, and input from many of Florida's top
biologists, educators and planners, made it possible to
produce the 1988-89 operational or foundation plan for
the Commission's five-year education plan.
Nongame Wildlife Program staff made 176 presentations
to a total of 9,975 people on subjects ranging from bats
and snakes to public opinion about wildlife. Many staff
members were also guest lecturers at universities, sharing
new knowledge on subjects ranging from developing
informal education programs and public opinion to satellite
imagery and habitat mapping. Twenty-three exhibits and
booths were installed at conferences, fairs and festivals
reaching 84,075 people. A special nongame exhibit was
installed at the Florida State Fair featuring ways citizens can

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attract wildlife to their homes. It was viewed by over
600,000 people.
Nongame Education staff also assisted with the
Commission's Project WILD Program, Youth
Conservation Camps, designed and taught a senior citizen's
program, developed and taught a model community college
course and initiated a burrowing owl education/recovery
project. Nongame Education staff conducted 28 Project
WILD and Aquatic Project WILD workshops and assisted
with the advanced programs and leadership training. In
addition, two motivational workshops for existing Project
WILD facilitators were conducted.
Newspaper, television and radio news reporters depend
on NGP biologists and educators to keep them informed.
Nongame staff was involved in more than 53 TV and radio
interviews and appearances and frequently were called
upon for technical information. The Office of
Informational Services introduced the Conservation Notes
series, and 20 nongame wildlife segments were produced
and sent to local newspapers, television and radio news
programs. Fifteen nongame news releases were also written
and distributed on subjects ranging from burrowing owls to
vultures. Conservation notes are distributed regionally to
news media. News releases are distributed statewide to
roughly 1,000 news media and free-lance writers.
Four issues of The Skimmer, a newsletter about Florida's
nongame and endangered wildlife, were produced and
circulated to over 15,000 subscribers. Each issue of The
Skimmer contains a popular children's feature titled, "The
Emerging Naturalist." Other new informational and
educational items produced this fiscal year include a 4-
color burrowing owl brochure, a new poster featuring the
black skimmer, the 1988 nongame wildlife calendar and a
checklist of Florida mammals. A total of 88,870 calendars,
40,000 Anamated Alphabet coloring books, 10,000
posters, 35,000 Planting a Refuge for Wildlife booklets and
15,000 mammal checklists were distributed. Nongame staff
also provided instructional design guidance to Florida
Defenders of the Environment and the Florida Federation
of Women's Clubs in producing a scrub jay instructional
brochure for 4th graders. Also, Nongame Education staff
assisted the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs and the
Governor's Energy Office in producing a Florida
environmental lesson for kindergarten students.

One article about the senior citizen program was
published in FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine and the
magazine also featured "The Emerging Naturalist" in four
issues. Ten additional technical papers were published by
nongame staff in professional journals and newsletters.
Four specialty workshops were conducted with a total of
420 participants. Workshop topics included: barrier
islands, native plants, attracting and planting for wildlife
and bird identification.
Two education grants were awarded and monitored
throughout the year. Dr. Peter Feinsinger, of the University
of Florida, began work developing a guide to schoolyard
flora and fauna and the Tropical Audubon Society was
funded to bring wildlife education programs to the
culturally and economically deprived inner city schools of
Miami. Both will be completed in FY 88-89.
Two new regional education specialists positions were
approved by the legislature. One new education specialist
position was filled in the Panama City regional office, one
education specialist was hired to fill a vacancy in West
Palm Beach and one part-time secretary was hired to assist
the nongame education coordinator. One new position
remained vacant to be filled in FY 88-89.

Aquatic Resources
Education Program The Commission's aquatic
education project conducted a pilot urban fishing program
at the Oceanway Fish Management Area in Jacksonville.
Approximately 1,000 children, ages 8-13, participated in
the four-hour clinics during the seven-week period
beginning June 20. Children were introduced to outdoor
ethics and safety as well as provided hands-on fishing
instruction to generate appreciation, awareness and wise
use of Florida's aquatic resources. The clinics were a joint
effort between the Commission and the Jacksonville Parks
and Recreation Department.
During this fiscal year, a comprehensive three-year
aquatic education project was developed for Florida. the
plan was developed after review and evaluation of aquatic
education programs of other states and input from within
the Commission. The plan addresses four major
components which include: urban clinics, aquatic resource
manager education, school classroom education and
materials development.


The Office of Environmental Services is responsible for
implementing and coordinating habitat protection activities,
especially those relating to the regulatory, land-use planning, and
land acquisition programs of federal and state agencies and
local governments.


Habitat Impact Assessment This program is
designed 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
The Office of Environmental Services continued to
emphasize the review of Developments of Regional Impact
(DRIs) with a view toward protecting sensitive upland
habitats harboring concentrations of endangered,

threatened or other rare species, particularly the gopher
tortoise and other species that occur with it. Our
comments generally recommended setting aside a
percentage of each development site where these species
were known to exist, or providing for the preservation of
adequate similar habitat off site so these species would not
be extirpated from the area. In addition, many times
recommendations were made concerning management of
preserved areas to maintain the habitat values for a
particular species of interest. Examples of DRIs reviewed
by the Office of Environmental Services in which our
recommendations were incorporated into the development
order include: the Gadsden Station DRI in Gadsden
County which required perpetual preservation of 190 acres
of Ochlockonee River floodplain and the off-site purchase
of 50 acres of sandhill habitat to reduce harmful effects on
the gopher tortoise; the Sharlin Robaina DRI in Orange
County where land uses surrounding a gopher tortoise
preserve were changed from residential to park land and
upland buffers along a major wetland system were set aside;
and the Palmetto Bay DRI in Martin County where a 41-
acre scrub jay preserve and habitat management plan were
In order to guarantee the long-term protection of fish
and wildlife habitats being set aside through regulatory
programs, OES biologists recommended, in many cases,
that conservation easements be established and conveyed to

appropriate conservation agencies. Because such easements
may prohibit particular activities such as mining, timber
harvest or construction of structures on an area designated
for wildlife habitat, and such restrictions become a part of
the deed for the property, the habitat is legally protected
forever. This year a number of conservation easements
were established as a direct result of OES
recommendations, including an easement to protect
hardwood hammocks supporting the endangered Key Largo
woodrat in Monroe County, an easement protecting the
habitat for gopher tortoises on the Palmer Ranch DRI in
Sarasota County, easements to protect upland habitats at
the Yulee Woods DRI in Nassau County and the Progress
Center DRI in Alachua County, and an easement to
preserve a wooded buffer area around an impoundment on
the Avalon Plantation in Jefferson County.
Other habitat assessment activities requiring considerable
time this year included the continued review of navigation
maintenance problems on the Apalachicola River through
our commenting on the request by the Corps of Engineers
for a 25-year dredging permit from the Florida Department
of Environmental Regulation; review of several highway
projects that could adversely affect listed species or
fragment large, remote habitat areas such as Forest Highway
13 through the Apalachicola National Forest; and review of
a number of sewage disposal proposals that could adversely
affect water resources including plans for Ocala and
Okaloosa County/Ft. Walton Beach. Additionally, habitat
assessments were conducted for a superconducting super
collider (atom smasher) proposed to be situated in Nassau
County, a power transmission line in Martin County, a
proposal to establish and maintain an inlet connecting Lake
Powell to the Gulf of Mexico in Bay County, and 72 public
works projects under review for inclusion in Florida's
funding request to Congress.

Technical Assistance It is the intent of this program
to enhance habitat protection and restoration by providing
technical fish and wildlife input to other state agencies,
developers, consultants, regional planning councils, water
management districts, county commissions and zoning
boards. By providing information on such topics as the
impact of certain land uses on wildlife, techniques to
mitigate habitat losses, or project designs which would
avoid or minimize adverse effects on fish and wildlife
resources at the early stages of project planning, impacts to
fish and wildlife resources can be prevented or minimized
before project plans become final.
OES continued to promote the concept of establishing
regional wildlife resources mitigation parks as an
additional option for wildlife habitat mitigation in the DRI
process this year. Work continued on finding a suitable
area to acquire for a mitigation park within the boundaries
of the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council, and
considerable progress was made in founding this program
in the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council. As a
result of the issuance of five development orders in these
two regions, a total of $516,000 was earmarked for
acquisition of off-site mitigation lands through the
establishment of parks. Despite these cash payments
by developers in these regions, no actual land was acquired
this year although significant effort was devoted to
identifying lands suitable for the establishment of
mitigation parks. The insistence by individual county

governments that mitigation lands be located within their
own jurisdictions has so far presented the major obstacle to
the selection of lands for acquisition.
The Office of Environmental Services increased its
efforts in local comprehensive planning by providing
technical assistance to regional and local planning agencies,
and by reviewing regional and county comprehensive plans
mandated by recently passed growth management
legislation. The publication and distribution of the model
conservation element by OES last year has aided some local
and regional jurisdictions in promulgating plans that are
sensitive to fish and wildlife resource protection. Other
technical assistance provided directly to local or regional
governments by the Office of Environmental Services
included participating on the Natural Systems Task Force
of the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council, reviewing
a variety of Franklin County development and land use
ordinances that affect the protection of resources in
Apalachicola Bay, providing assistance to local
governments in assessing the impacts of specific
development proposals on scrub habitats in the Treasure
Coast region, working with Hernando County to explore
the possibility of establishing wildlife habitat impact fees to
be assessed on small developments to acquire and protect
wildlife habitat in the county, and providing direct
assistance to Indian River County in developing a mining
Extensive technical assistance was provided this year to
the Wekiva River Task Force established by Governor
Martinez to evaluate the problems facing the Wekiva River
as a result of rampant growth in this area of Central
Florida. In addition to identifying issues of concern for the
task force, OES personnel contributed directly to the final
report to the Governor, and provided a report in
association with the Division of Wildlife titled "The

Wekiva River Bear Population: Development Threats and
Recommendations to Reduce Impacts," which defined one
of the central issues addressed by the task force. In a
related issue, OES personnel served on the
Orlando/Orange County Expressway Authority
Environmental Advisory Committee for the Orlando
Beltway which will extend through the Wekiva Task Force
study area and increase the likelihood and intensity of
development in the area.
As a direct result of our efforts to protect habitat on
development sites undergoing review through the DRI
process, the Wildlife Task Force was established by the
Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to provide
developers with greater predictability regarding their
responsibility for mitigating impacts to wildlife. In addition
to addressing various issues related to listed species
occurrence on development sites, the task force activities
addressed a variety of wildlife issues of regional significance
but did not involve listed species. Recommendations of the
group centered on establishment of a minimum set of
conditions that would not result in the appeal of a
development order by the DCA based on impacts to
vegetation and wildlife.
Technical assistance was provided to various other
committees and programs this year. Environmental Services
personnel provided input to the Coastal Zone Interagency
Management Committee, the Spoil Site Advisory
Committee, the Environmental Efficiency Study
Commission, the St. Andrew Bay Environmental Studies
Team, the Managed Marshes Subcommittee of the Florida
Coordinating Council on Mosquito Control, the Land

Acquisition Selection Committee, the Lake Okeechobee
Littoral Zone Technical Group, and the Agency for Bay
Management organized by the Tampa Bay Regional
Planning Council. Technical assistance also was provided in
association with the development of SWIM plans through
our participation in local planning efforts such as the
Indian River Technical Advisory Committee for SWIM
Plan Development and by providing input to the Division
of Fisheries in evaluating SWIM proposals.

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 Office of Environmental Services continued to
provide assistance in the efforts to restore the Kissimmee
River this year. Work was continued on biweekly aerial
surveys of wading birds and waterfowl in the Kissimmee
River floodplain and northern Lake Okeechobee to
ascertain the success of the Pool B Restoration
Demonstration Project. Avian species percent composition,
relative abundance, frequency of occurrence, diversity, and
species richness were analyzed and statistically compared
for restored and unrestored areas. In addition, comments

were submitted on the Taylor Creek/Nubbin Slough
Diversion Project which resulted in a realignment of the
project to avoid a large area of sand pine scrub and xeric
oak hammock.
Phosphate mining and reclamation continued to receive
significant attention by OES biologists in order to improve
fish and wildlife habitat values on reclaimed lands. A total
of 197 annual, special and conceptual reclamation plans
were reviewed this year, most of which were amendments
to previous plans. Technical assistance was provided to the
Department of Natural Resources and the Department of
Environmental Regulation (DER) on use of non-local
native vegetation and herbicides in reclamation. The Agrico
Swamp Reclamation Project, in association with the Ft.
Green Mine, was reviewed and a report was submitted to
the regional planning council. OES personnel also
continued work of the IMC scrub reclamation project
completing the second year of sampling, and prepared
technical presentations on mitigation for fish and wildlife
habitats on mined lands and enhancing wildlife utilization
of created and mitigated wetlands.
Because of our comments on a DRI in Martin County
which resulted in the establishment of a preserve to protect
the Florida scrub jay, the Vero Beach Office initiated a
small-scale scrub jay monitoring program to evaluate the
effectiveness of our recommendations in this particular
DRI as well as our recommendations for habitat protection
on scrub habitats in the Treasure Coast Regional Planning
Council. Sixty-six scrub jays were trapped, banded, and
color-coded, and will be studied to enhance our
understanding of nest site selection, annual productivity,
nesting success, dispersal patterns, habitat characteristics
and scrub jay response to development activities.
Work was also continued on monitoring the success of
our project titled "Establishment of Native Hammock
Vegetation on Spoil Sites Dominated by Australian Pine"
which involves revegetation of spoil islands in the Indian
River. A technical publication should be available on this
work next year.

Nongame Habitat Protection The Nongame
Habitat Protection Section is the technology transfer arm of
OES, providing up-to-date information on nongame and
endangered species and their habitats to regulatory
agencies, land use planning agencies and Commission
biologists reviewing large-scale developments. The
information provided is intended to enhance the
consideration of nongame wildlife in land use decisions
made by regulatory agencies.
A portion of this program effort is devoted to
publication of agency guidelines designed to protect
habitats of species of nongame wildlife that are sensitive to
development. In December 1987 the section published
Nongame Wildlife Program Technical Report No. 4,
Ecology and Habitat Protection Needs of Gopher Tortoise
(Gopherus polyphemus) Populations Found on Lands Slated
for Large-Scale Development in Florida. This document is
used by Commission biologists, land use planners and
developers and their consultants to mitigate the impacts of
development on gopher tortoises and their habitats, and by
land management agencies to better meet the needs of
gopher tortoises on publicly owned lands.
Work continued on a project to develop guidelines for a
nature preserve system aimed at protecting scrub habitats
in the Treasure Coast region. In addition, section staff

participated in drafting habitat protection guidelines for
scrub jays and Southeastern kestrels, and final publication
of these guidelines is expected late next fiscal year. Plans for
drafting and publishing habitat protection guidelines for
other species of wildlife sensitive to development also were
A particular area of focus for the section is the Florida
Keys where a full-time biologist provides habitat protection
assistance to state, regional and local land use planning and
regulatory agencies, and monitors the status of nongame
wildlife populations. During the past year,
recommendations were submitted to DER and the Corps of
Engineers on ways to mitigate the impacts of numerous
dredge and fill projects on fish and wildlife resources.
Technical assistance was provided to Monroe County
concerning proposed zoning changes that would adversely
affect nongame wildlife, and to DCA and Monroe County
regarding expected increases in Key deer mortality that
would result from paving a series of dirt roads on Big Pine
Key. In addition, osprey nesting success in the Keys was
monitored, a project to determine the status of the
burrowing owl population in the Marathon area was
initiated, and selected sites on North Key Largo were
surveyed for the presence of Key Largo woodrats (an
endangered species).
In implementation of plans developed over the last two
years, the section initiated a five-year project designed to
identify those Florida lands that should be protected to
meet the long-term habitat needs of Florida's wildlife. The
first step in this project was taken early in the fiscal year
when the Commission entered into a three-year contract
with the Florida Department of Transportation's remote
sensing group to use Landsat satellite imagery to classify
and map wildlife habitats statewide. During the first half of
the year, classification and ground-truthing techniques were
developed and refined, and, by the end of the year,
mapping of habitats in the counties served by the East
Central Florida and Northeast Florida regional planning
councils was nearing completion. The computerized
Landsat-based habitat maps are to be used to evaluate the
ability of specific areas of Florida to meet the habitat needs
of selected species of wildlife, and section staff evaluated
the methods available for this phase of the project. To this
end, the section contracted with a private firm to develop
new computer programs designed to automate the process
of locating quality wildlife habitats. In addition, budget and
planning documents for tasks to be accomplished in
upcoming fiscal years were written, computer hardware and
software needs were evaluated, and new project staff was

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