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Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075971/00017
 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: 1989
Frequency: annual
regular
 Subjects
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: UF00075971:00017
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Preceded by: Report - Florida, Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission

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,AI OFI I


Con itlnli- iom-1tI
WILLIAM G. BOSTICK JR.
Chairman
Auburndale
THOMAS L. HIRES SR.
Vice Chairman
Lake Wales

MRS. GILBERT W. HUMPHREY
Miccosukee

DON WRIGHT
Orlando

JOE MARLIN HILLIARD
Clewiston


o iini-IrII lioln
COL. ROBERT M. BRANTLY
Executive Director
620 South Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
(904) 488-1960
ALLAN L. EGBERT, Ph.D.
Assistant Executive Director

WILLIAM C. SUMNER, Director
Division of Administrative Services

SMOKIE HOLCOMB, Director
Division of Fisheries

FRANK MONTALBANO, Director
Division of Wildlife

BRADLEY H. HARTMAN, Director
Office of Environmental Services

DENNIS "DUKE" HAMMOND, Director
Office of Informational Services


itegional Office
Northwest Region
LT. COL. ROBERT W. ELLIS, Director
6938 Highway 2321
Panama City, FL 32409-9338
(904) 265-3676
Northeast Region
LT. COL. LARRY MARTIN, Director
RFD 7, Box 440
Lake City, FL 32055
(904) 758-0525

Central Region
LT. COL. BOB BUTLER, Director
1239 S.W. 10th Street
Ocala, FL 32674
(904) 732-1225
South Region
LT. COL. J.O. BROWN, Director
3900 Drane Field Road
Lakeland,FL 33811
(813) 648-3203
Everglades Region
LT. COL. DAN DUNFORD
551 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
(407) 640-6100


Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission


INTRODUCTION............................................ 2

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR................................... 3

DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ........... 4

DIVISION OF FISHERIES ............................. 7

DIVISION OF WILDLIFE .............................16

DIVISION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT .................. 28

OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES .......... 32

OFFICE OF INFORMATIONAL SERVICES ...........36


This agency and the Department of Interior prohibit discrimination by race, color,
nationality, age, sex or handicap. If you believe you have been discriminated against in
any program, activity or facility of this agency, write to: Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission, 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 or to: Office
for Human Relations, USFWS, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240


UNIV2il 3 OF FLORIDA LISRARIES





INTRDUCIO


WILLIAM G. BOSTICK JR.
Chairman, Aiiuurndale









THOMAS L. HIRES SR.
Vice Chairman, Lake Wales









MRS. GILBERT W. HI MPHREY
Miecosukee









DON WRIGHT
Orlando









JOE MARLIN HILLIARD
Clewiston


INTI' ODI CTIO'


Florida has undergone tremendous changes since the Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission was created as a constitutional agency in 1943. That
year, the state's population was less than 2 million; today it is 12.8 million.
The resulting impacts on wildlife from a human population increase of
more than six times in only four decades have been dramatic.
When the Commission's first "conservation officers" patrolled the state's
backwoods, the Florida panther was so common it was unprotected. Since
then much of its preferred habitat has been put to other uses, and now, it
is more endangered than China's great panda. Another species, the ivory-
billed woodpecker, once lived in many of our hardwood bottomlands. It
was still found in Florida as recently as 1969, but it has since become
extinct here and elsewhere in the mainland of North America. In more
recent years, other wildlife species also have been adversely affected by our
human population growth such as the significant decline in the numbers
of many favorite songbirds.
However, the past 47 years have also seen successful restoration of the
white-tailed deer, wild turkey, brown pelican, American alligator and the
colorful wood duck in Florida. Because of the Commission's decades of
efforts to manage Florida's living resources scientifically, we now have
sustainable populations of these species living on public and private lands
throughout the state.
Similar strides have been made in freshwater fisheries management. An
example which is important to the public today is our long-term program
for providing public access to Florida's best freshwater fishing areas.
Another success has been the Commission's program to rear and release
millions of hybrid sunshine bass into a multitude of public lakes and
streams.
The Commission's fish and wildlife management programs have always
benefitted nongame species as well as game species, but in 1984, the Florida
Legislature funded the Nongame Wildlife Program to further specific
conservation efforts for nongame wildlife. Today, this program is making it
possible to conserve and manage a much broader range of wildlife and
their habitats.
Since its inception, the agency has been governed by a body of five
commissioners who are appointed by the governor to serve staggered terms
of five years. Commissioners draw no salaries for their services.
This agency's efforts and accomplishments during 1989-90 are
summarized in this report.


















From Left to Right: Regional Offices 'orthuest Region. Panama City:
Northeast Region. Lake City: Central Region. Ocala:
South Region, Lakeland; Ererglades Region. Rest Palm Beach





EIUll ID DIRECTOR


OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


COLONEL
ROBERT M. BRANTLY
Executive Director


The executive director of the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
serves as the Commission's chief administrator with responsibility for all
functions of the agency as well as serving as the 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 its 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 is responsible for drafting, reviewing and
publishing Commission rules in the Wildlife Code of the State of Florida.
The staff conducts comprehensive internal audits and coordinates
preparation of strategic and operational plans.

Regional Offices

The complexity of Florida's biological, topographical and sociological
features requires that the Commission maintain a network of regional
offices, headed by regional directors, to administer programs.
These offices, in Panama City, Lake City, Ocala, Lakeland and West Palm
Beach, are staffed with representatives from the agency's divisions.
Through its regional presence, the agency stays in touch with local
conditions while carrying out the Commission's programs and policies. The
regional offices make the agency's administration accessible to sportsmen
and the general public.
The five regional directors serve as representatives of the executive
director and Commission. Regional directors provide continuous review of
the operation, current status and direction of all ongoing programs,
projects and activities; coordinate programs and serve as liaisons with other
public entities, elected officials and the public; and administer the office
operations and personnel functions of the regional offices.
Also, regional offices man the Wildlife Alert toll-free telephone lines 24
hours per day to receive reports of wildlife law violations and to dispatch
officers to the scene.
In addition, each office makes available to the public printed materials
published by the agency, including hunt maps, brochures and handbooks.
Information specialists promote awareness of Commission activities within
the region and maintain a working relationship with area news media.
Regional biologists assist sportsmen and landowners needing
management assistance with local fisheries or wildlife matters. Regional
personnel also support the agency's special programs such as the youth
camps and urban pond programs.




























































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






Budgeting For a state agency to operate from year
to year, it must be able to project revenues and
expenditures. Those projections are consolidated into
the legislative budget process for both operations and
fixed capital outlay. During FY 89-90, legislative
budgets were prepared for the 1991-93 biennium.
The 1991-93 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
in the plans.

Accounting The Accounting Office 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 equipment purchases.
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. This agency also maintains
restricted trust funds to pay rewards for the arrests
and convictions of endangered and threatened species
law violators, to finance the acquisition of land for
wildlife habitat, and to finance Florida panther
research and conservation efforts.

Data Processing system Support The Office of
Information Resource Management (OIRM) supports
all Commission personnel in the use of technology and
information management systems. The Commission's
reliance on and sophistication with all computer and
records technology has continued to grow, increasing
the need for continued support and training.
This fiscal year the Commission's records analyst
compiled multiple indexes for location and cross-
referencing of older agency files. In addition, more
than 573 cubic feet of old records that's 373 standard
file drawers were purged, freeing valuable office
space. The division now has an agency-wide
information resource in the records management
section.
Major computer programming efforts during this
past year were aimed at making administrative use of
the Local Area Networks (LANs) throughout the
Commission. Such things as purchase orders are now
automatically transmitted from regional offices to the
payment sections in Tallahassee, reducing keypunch
time and errors.


Personnel The Personnel Office provides support
services for employment, recruitment, equal
employment opportunity/affirmative action, pay
administration, classification, training, insurance,
leave maintenance, recruitment processing,
disciplinary and promotional coordination, counseling,
and union contract administration, and serves as a
conduit between employees and managers.

Office Operations The functions of the Bureau of
Office Operations include running 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, 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 has the responsibility of
assisting Commission personnel in procuring
commodities and services in the most efficient and
economical manner. There were 5,530 purchase orders,
320 contracts and 136 legal and formal bids processed
during the year. The new statewide automated
purchasing system has increased the efficiency of field
purchasing.
Office Services converted to an automated system to
produce a record of the revenue received in each day's
mail. The new system is more efficient and accurate.








NONGAME WILDLIFE TRUST FUND
FINANCIAL STATEMENT
July 1, 1989 June 30, 1990


Available Fund Balance July 1, 1989
Revenue Received
Fees and contributions
Intergovernmental Revenue
Interest
Other Revenue
Reversions
Total Funds Available
Expenditures and Commitments
Wildlife Management
Informational Services
Environmental Services
Administrative
Fixed Capital Outlay Appropriations
Non-operating Transfers
Total Expenditures and Commitments
Available Fund Balance June 30, 1990


$2,053,266

2,167,948
286,048
229,990
16,467
65,470
$4,819,189

$2,045,109
244,470
488,902
27,845
124,000
224,384
$3,154,710
$1,664,479





FIS"L Y4 1989-90


TOTAL FUNDING FOR OPERATIONS: $46,730.278


APPROPRIATIONS BY DIVISION


Division


Percent
Amount of Total


1. Executive Director &
Administrative Services
2. Law Enforcement
3. Wildlife
4. Fisheries
Total \ppropridtion-


S 7,487,739
20,646,127
10,271,443
8,324,969
S46.7"0. 278


16.02%
44.18%
21.98%
17.82%
100.00U'


APPROPRIATIONS BY CATEGORY

Category Amount

Salaries $28,738,913
Expenses/O&M 10,224,901
OCO/A&R 4,003,924
OPS 2,631,985
Landowner Payments 700,000
Salary Incentive 247,116
Data Processing 178,439
Payment of Rewards 5,000
Total S4 .73U.278


GENERAL OPERATING FUNDS*
FINANCIAL STATEMENT
July 1, 1989 June 30, 1990


Available Fund Balance July 1, 1989
Revenue Received
General Revenue Fund (Operations)
Licenses and Stamps
Intergovernmental Revenue
Other Revenue
Re versions
Total Funds Available
Expenditures and Commitments
Law Enforcement
Wildlife Management
Fisheries Management
Administration
Informational Services
Environmental Services
Fixed Capital Outlay Appropriations
Non-operating Transfers
Total Expenditures and Commitments
Available Fund Balance June 30, 1990


REVENUE SOURCES


,.E
$ 4,444,992
2.
19,407,105
14,776,596 m
7,257,183 3.
2,152,939 F-
133,567 4.
$48,172,382

$20,894,823
7,092,212
8,367,585
3,775,773
1,884,917
756,816
815,757
648,471
$44,236,354
$ 3,936,028


Source

1. General Revenue
2. License and Stamp Revenue
3. Intergovernmental Revenue
4. Other Revenue
Total


Percent
Amount of Total


$19,407,105
14,776,596
7,543,231
4,766,381
S 16.4 43.313


41.74%
31.78%
16.23%
10.25%
10 .i00 ,


* ( general Revenue Fund and State ( [- Frust Fund


1.

2.

3.

4.Z


1.E

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7. D

8.1






















A primary goal 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 of more than 12 million
individuals. To fisheries resources that means
increased fishing pressure and more degraded fisheries
habitats. Finding cost-effective ways, within the scope
of its responsibility, to manage those problems is the
challenge facing the Division of Fisheries.






There are three principal avenues to address the goal
of providing optimum sustained use of freshwater fish.
First, habitat can be improved by focusing on water
quality, quantity and fluctuation, aquatic vegetation
communities, bottom substrates, or structure. Second,
people can be educated about their impacts on
fisheries resources and recruited for their voluntary
support, or when necessary, made to comply through
legal means. Third, fish populations can be enhanced
by supplementally stocking more fish of the types
already found in a water body, or by enhancement
stockings using some types of fish not naturally found
there.
During FY 89-90 the division actively pursued all
three of these avenues. In regard to habitat, Fisheries'
staff provided the water management districts with
continuing support to ensure Surface Water
Improvement and Management (SWIM) plans were
developed to address needs of aquatic animal life and
their habitats. In addition, major expansion of the
Lake Restoration Section began with several positions
added. As a result of local concerns about the Merritt's
Mill Pond fishery, a drawdown and revegetation
project was conducted from start to finish almost
entirely during this fiscal year. Many individual
projects also put tremendous emphasis on protecting
and enhancing habitat the most important key to
quality fisheries in Florida.
Efforts to educate the public also received renewed
emphasis this year with development of a video on
largemouth bass, distribution of several informational
bulletins on catch-and-release and a slide series for
local elected officials about aquatic resource
management. The division also worked closely with the
Division of Law Enforcement's new Environmental
Section to point out illegal dredge-and-fill, dumping,
aquatic plant herbicide operations, and other illegal
activities that are detrimental to fisheries resources. In
addition, several new fish management regulations
were implemented on important public resources and
are being evaluated carefully.
Finally, fish stocking continued where appropriate
to enhance the angler's recreational enjoyment. Species
stocked included sunshine bass, striped bass,
largemouth bass, bluegill, redear and channel catfish.
In addition, Fisheries' staff stocked threadfin shad as
forage for sport fish and triploid grass carp to help
manage aquatic plants. In all these activities, the
division takes a conservative approach to ensure that
natural genetic resources are protected.
Unfortunately, competition from the new saltwater
fishing license and possible concern over mercury
levels in largemouth bass adversely affected freshwater
fishing license sales. This led to significantly less
money than anticipated being available from the State
Game Trust Fund. A similar revenue shortfall at the
state level in the General Revenue Fund compounded
the problem and resulted in budget cuts, hiring
freezes, travel restrictions and the loss of one position.
Consequently, there were some setbacks during the
year, but overall objectives were met.
The division continues to rely heavily on Federal
Aid in Sport Fish Restoration monies. These funds are
derived from national excise taxes on fishing tackle
and boats, import duties on pleasure boats and tackle,
and a motor boat fuel tax. Monies then are returned to


the states based on the size of the state and the
number of licensed anglers. This user-pays legislation
further requires that every dollar spent on hunting
and fishing licenses in the state must be used by fish
and wildlife agencies, and cannot be diverted for other
purposes.
The following projects receive 75 percent of their
funding from Sport Fish Restoration money, with the
remainder coming from license fees:

*North Florida Streams Research Project
*St. Johns River Fishery Resource Project
*Ochlockonee River Watershed Project
*Lower Oklawaha River Basin Project
*Upper Oklawaha River Basin Project
*Apalachicola River Project
*Largemouth Bass Investigation Project
*Fisheries Genetics Project
*Jacksonville Urban Pond Project
*Commission-Managed Impoundment Project
*Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades
Resource Project
*Boat Ramp Project

The following projects are funded at less than 75
percent by Sport Fish Restoration money and license
fees due to their close involvement with state-funded
projects:
*Sport Fish Introduction/Fisheries Education
Project
*Eustis Chemistry Laboratory
*Fisheries Statistics Team
*Everglades Region Fisheries Management Project

The 1990 Legislature authorized expansion of the
Urban Fishing Program into the Tampa/St. Petersburg
and Orlando areas beginning in FY 90-91. It also
provided for future expansion of the Chemistry
Project to further evaluate mercury in freshwater
fishes, and to continue developing the Lake
Restoration Section. Although next year will be fiscally
tight, enhancement of these programs will eventually
provide clear benefits to the state.

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, water quality indices, user-group
attitudes and desires, and angler success.
The North Florida Streams Research Project
implemented a 13-inch minimum size limit for the
Escambia River last year. The size limit was intended
to increase the average size of bass over the next
several years and improve fishing quality in this
popular area. This year creel surveys revealed nearly 79
percent of bass caught were released. Sampling
indicated that bass hatched in spring 1989 survived to
the fall at nearly twice the rate as in previous years. As
this year class recruits into the fishery and is protected
by the minimum size limit, the quality of bass fishing
in the Escambia River should improve.
Biologists also determined that when sunshine bass
are stocked at a larger size (6-8 inches), about seven


Your purchase
of fishing equipment
and motor boat fuels supports
Sport Fish Restoration and
boating access facilities




























Studies at Tenoroc State Reserve Fish Management Area provide a wealth of information on the effects of various fishing regulations.


times as many survive as when stocked as fingerlings (1-
2 inches). Although both groups grow at comparable
rates and are similarly robust, stocking larger fish can
produce a better sport fishery. Efforts to re-establish
the Gulf Coast strain of striped bass also continued in
Gulf Coast rivers.
An attempt in Bear Lake to establish a sunshine bass
fishery was not successful due to poor survival.
However, threadfin shad were re-introduced
successfully, which should help improve the
largemouth bass fishery in the lake.
Over the past three years, the St. Johns Riher
Fishery Resource I projectt has successfully established a
sunshine bass fishery in Lake Poinsett. The angler
catch rate is still extremely good, and the program is
well received by local anglers. As a result of tagging
studies, stocking locations were refined, making for a
more successful program.
Tag returns for largemouth bass in the St. Johns
River between Palatka and Jacksonville indicate only
nine percent of the bass are being harvested. This is an
extremely low percentage and quite rare for public
waters in Florida, with its burgeoning human
population. However, it allows for a high quality bass
fishery due to limited fishing mortality.
The Ochlockone.' River Watershed Project
completed a study, in cooperation with the U.S.
Geological Survey and the Commission's Nongame
Wildlife Program, on the importance of the upper
Ochlockonee River's floodplain to fisheries
production. It documented various habitat types and
associated species composition, which further
emphasizes the importance of fluctuating water levels
and diverse, shallow-water habitats to fisheries.
In Lake Talquin the 14-inch minimum length limit
for largemouth bass has been well received. Studies
documented the 1984 year class of bass still
represented 19 percent of the bass harvested in the
lake during 1989-90. These fish were produced the year
following the 1983 drawdown. Unfortunately, the
vegetation community is still declining and needs to be
revitalized. Consequently a drawdown has been
approved to begin in November 1990, and a two-stage
refill will be completed in July 1991. There was
overwhelming support for this project expressed at a
public hearing.


A 13- to 17-inch slot limit has been implemented for
Lake Jackson to help revitalize the lake's quality bass
fishery. Both bass and bream fishing were excellent on
Lake Jackson, in 1989-90, with regard to the number of
fish caught. Fisheries staff continued to work with the
Northwest Florida Water Management District on
SWIM plans to restore Megginnis Arm and protect the
remainder of the lake from urban impacts. The
drought has lowered the water level to its lowest point
since 1982, making timing for the proposed dredge
work very opportune.
The Lower (klawaha River Basin Project, based at
the University of Florida in Gainesville, has
established good working relations with the
university's Fisheries Department. The project has
developed a fisheries management plan for Rodman
Reservoir which includes an extreme drawdown for
fisheries revitalization and seasonal water fluctuations
for fisheries and habitat maintenance. Discussions are
still taking place about whether the resource and
public would be better served by removing the dam
and locks and returning it to a natural flow regime.
The Commission has not yet determined which
alternative is preferable.
Data continues to accumulate demonstrating that
strong year classes of bass and improved fishing success
rates are produced when hydrilla coverage is
increasing. During declining periods of hydrilla
coverage black crappie fisheries improve, with more
fishing pressure and overall harvest. Fluctuating plant
coverage (either hydrilla or native submersed plants)
helps produce dynamic fisheries by alternating
opportunities for adults to spawn, and for young fish
to have optimal growth and survival conditions, with
opportunities for anglers to enjoy the results.
The I paper Oklawaha Ri\er Basin Project has
documented fish population shifts in Lake Griffin that
indicate it may be time to consider another drawdown
around 1991-92. The last one in 1984 was plagued by
problems; however, a number of lessons were learned
to improve future drawdowns. Even so, the Griffin
fishery was substantially improved by that drawdown,
especially the crappie fishery. Establishment of
vegetation in this hypereutrophic lake substantially
increased the production of young-of-the-year sport
fishes and improved recreational fishing, until the






vegetation was chemically controlled.
The project is working cooperatively with the St.
Johns River Water Management District on studies in
lakes Denham and Apopka to determine if harvesting
gizzard shad by haul seine, pound net or other
methods will result in increased zooplankton
populations, which graze upon and reduce algal
communities. If so, this technique could be used as
part of the SWIM project for restoring Lake Apopka
and other hypereutrophic lakes with excessive algal
growth. Other research on Lake Apopka has shown an
increase in harvestable bass to 7.5 bass per acre in
shallow-water areas, up from 0.6 in 1988. In addition,
more than one million fingerling bass were stocked
into Lake Apopka, in the hope that as benefits accrue
from reduced muck-farm discharges and the marsh
restoration program, these fish will form the founder
stock for a future fishery.
The Apalachicola River Project continued to
provide a quality sunshine bass fishery and to compare
sunshine bass to striped bass stocking success in the
river. This year recovery of hybrids by anglers was
seven-fold higher than for striped bass. More than
15,000 hours of recreational fishing were targeted at
these species last year in the Apalachicola, all resulting
from Commission stocking programs. In addition,
nearly 21,000 recreational hours were targeted at
bream species, with a phenomenal success rate of 2.47
fish per hour.
Studies continue to document improvements to fish
communities and natural resources resulting from
removal of Dead Lakes Dam, at the urging of the
Commission and other interested parties. Water
quality has improved. When the drought ends and
water flows increase, substantial benefits to the fishery
are anticipated. In Lake Seminole, studies verified the
critical need for adequate discharges of water from the
Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam. The state of Florida is
enjoined in a lawsuit, for which the division is
providing data, to ensure that too much water is not
diverted from Lake Lanier in Georgia, which would
compromise aquatic communities in the river and
estuary.
The Largemouth Bass Investigation Project
continued to study fish-vegetation interactions in Lake
Rowell and again correlated short-term, high angler
harvest with declining coverage of submergent plants.
It also showed reduced production of young sport fish
with inadequate plant coverage, which prevented long-
term maintenance of the improved harvest, thus
reiterating the point that aquatic plant management is
absolutely critical to fisheries management.
Age analyses of trophy bass from taxidermy shops
documented a 16-year-old bass from Washington
County-the oldest bass found to date in Florida. The
study also verified that 47 percent of the trophy bass
(greater than 10 pounds) from Lake Tohopekaliga were
spawned in 1978, one year after the second
Commission-sponsored drawdown of the lake.
Similarly, 60 percent of Lake Kissimmee trophy bass
were from the 1980 year class, which were produced
one year after its drawdown. Other findings were that
trophy bass grow faster in the southern portion of the
state and live longer in the northern portion.
The Sport Fish Introduction/Fisheries Education
Project continues research at the Tenoroc State


Reserve Fish Management Area, providing a wealth of
information on impacts of various fishing regulations
on the fishery and anglers' reactions to them. It also
coordinated interactions with the tournament industry
and provided a publication (written with a Bass
Research Institute grant) for bass clubs and
tournament sponsors to use to enhance survival of fish
released after tournaments.
The second of a series of educational bulletins was
printed and very favorably received by the angling
public. The first dealt with striped bass and the second
("Recycle Your Bass") with catch-and-release
techniques for the individual bass angler. Next in the
series will be one on largemouth bass. Future topics
may include fish pond management, pan fishes, and
the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program.
A video on largemouth bass research in Florida was
produced and released to various television stations,
bass clubs and public groups. It is available, on a loan
basis, from the division in Tallahassee. A narrated
slide series dealing with aquatic resource management
was produced and is being presented by staff biologists
to county commissions, regional planning councils and
city commissions of large municipalities. Its purpose is
to explain the tremendous value of fisheries to local
communities and what can be done to help protect and
enhance these resources. These projects were
completed in close cooperation with the Office of
Informational Services.
The Big Catch program, which now includes 31
species of fish, is being revamped. This program, which
is primarily for angler recognition, also helps to
document the harvest or catch-and-release, of
especially large fishes. It will be more widely
advertised in the future to help demonstrate the
quality and diversity of the state's freshwater fisheries
to anglers and to provide anglers some recognition for
their successes.
The Non-Native Fish Research Project determined
butterfly peacock bass populations are doing well in
the Black Creek canal system and have not expanded
outside the predicted range. This exciting urban
fishery is expected to continue to prosper and to
remain localized due to the fish's intolerance of cool
water. This year more than 10,000 hours were spent
specifically fishing for peacock bass in the 11 miles of
primary study canal. An hour of fishing is worth a
minimum of $4.69 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1985
National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife
Associated Recreation) in unadjusted 1985 dollars.
Consequently, this fishery which is now self-sustaining
generates approximately $46,900 per year in the
primary area and up to 25 times that value over the
entire Miami area where the fish exists.
The Herbivorous Fish Project tracked radio-tagged
triploid grass carp stocked in Lake Harris and found
they did not move into other, connected lakes. They
did move into dead-end and obstructed waterways
occasionally. A readily available food source, good
water quality and slight water flow may account for
triploid grass carp being attracted to these areas.
In Lake Yale, radio-tagged triploid grass carp were
found in areas with hydrilla 70 percent of the time.
Stomach analyses showed that 75 percent of the grass
carps' diet was hydrilla. After numerous complications
with obtaining and stocking healthy trjploid grass






carp, there now is approximately the target level of
three fish per acre in the lake. Unfortunately, some of
these fish already may have grown to larger sizes at
which their feeding rate is reduced. Staff will
determine next year if the fish control hydrilla's
regrowth and expansion and prevent it from topping
out in the lake, thus delaying the need for costly
chemical applications.
The Eustis (Ch' nistrv Laboratory focused its
operation on mercury in aquatic fauna, as well as
monitoring water quality in major lake and river
systems. Elevated concentrations of mercury found in
fillets of fish and alligator tissue from a number of
aquatic systems resulted in additional health advisories
by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative
Services. The problem appears to be state-wide.
Burning of refuse, coal-fired generating plants, latex
house paints and other man-made sources are part of
the problem. The natural accumulation of mercury in
plants and its deposition in peat is another source
being studied. It appears acidic waters leach mercury
out of the soil making it available to be taken up and
biomagnified through the food chain.
Bass, being top-level predators, are the primary
concern. However, most advisories indicate it is safe
for adults to eat up to one meal (one-half pound) per
week of fillets containing elevated mercury. The
exceptions are that pregnant or lactating women and
children should not consume more than one meal per
month. Bass from Everglades Conservation Area II
should not be eaten by anyone. In any event, bass are
fun to catch, and anglers who choose not to enjoy them
as table fare are encouraged to release them for other
anglers to catch.
The Fisheries Statistics Team has continued to
expand the state-wide data base and to standardize
sampling methodologies where appropriate. An
electronic bulletin board facilitates communication
within the division and with the public. The bulletin
board, known as Fishline, can be accessed by anyone
with a computer modem by dialing (904) 488-3773. It
contains information on the Big Catch/Record Fish
Program, recent news releases, a question-and-answer
forum, and other items that anglers may find
interesting.


This year's angler attitude survey from the back of
the free publication Florida Freshwater Sport Fishing
Guide & Regulations Summary was responded to by
almost 4,000 anglers. Of the respondents, 26 percent
indicated they were very satisfied with recent
freshwater fishing in Florida, 45 percent were
somewhat satisfied, 17 percent were somewhat
dissatisfied, and 11 percent were very dissatisfied.
Similarly, 30 percent indicated they were very satisfied
with the division's efforts to provide quality fishing, 47
percent were somewhat satisfied, 14 percent were
somewhat dissatisfied, and 9 percent reported being
very dissatisfied.
In addition a telephone survey of licensed anglers
was conducted to determine their attitude toward a
possible largemouth bass stamp. Such a stamp would
impose an additional fee on bass fishermen, with the
proceeds going to bass management (including habitat)
and research. Two-thirds of the respondents were in
favor of such a stamp.
The Fisheries Genetics Project contracted work that
determined DNA fingerprinting can identify
differences between historic Gulf Coast stocks of
striped bass and Atlantic Coast stocks. This technique
should help evaluate survival and growth of different
striped bass stocks under various environmental
conditions and help to restore the native population of
striped bass to the Gulf Coast.
Unfortunately the division's only staff geneticist
resigned early in the year and a qualified replacement
could not be found at the salary available.
Subsequently, during the budget cutting process the
vacant position was deleted. Due to the importance of
fish genetics in conserving and enhancing the state's
fisheries, the Commission hopes to create a two-
geneticist team next year to continue this work.
The Blackwater Fisheries Research Center back-
crossed female sunshine bass with male striped bass to
produce a fish that may be very valuable for
aquaculture. This fish is easily produced and has good
growth and survival characteristics. It will be evaluated
during the next two years before considering
marketing. The back-cross should be a boon to the
industry, but genetic concerns over impacts to wild fish
stocks must be considered. If these fish escaped into


Workers from the Division of Fisheries constructed four new boat ramps and repaired 26.






the wild and spawned with striped or white bass, they
could have deleterious impacts on native fish
populations.
Monies appropriated by the 1989 Legislature were
used to upgrade this 50-year-old facility. Of primary
importance was digging a well deep enough to provide
an adequate quantity of water. The well water has a
higher mineral content than the water previously
available, which should increase hatching success and
fry survival substantially at the hatchery.

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, aquatic
plant management, lake restoration and fish hatchery
sections.
There are five regional fisheries management
projects that provide a wealth of services to the public.
These projects are responsible for determining where
boat ramps and fish attractors should be placed, for
much of the SWIM coordination with water
management districts, for fish kill investigations, for
providing technical assistance with fish pond
management, and a variety of other public services.
The South Region Fisheries Management Project
continued to document benefits from the slot limit
regulation for largemouth bass at Saddle Creek Fish
Management Area. Since inception of the rule the
number of largemouth bass per acre has increased
from 11 to 21 per acre. In addition, the percentage of
bass within the slot limit has increased from 35 to 67
percent. Thus both the quantity and quality of bass
have improved. Surveys indicate that 74 percent of the
anglers approve of the rule in spite of the fact they
must release all bass between 13 and 20 inches.
Webb Lake continues to support a sub-quality bass
fishery, and plans are being made in conjunction with
the Lake Restoration Section to remedy habitat
problems. Unlike most Florida lakes the problem is
low productivity. Therefore, plans include a
drawdown, seeding, and possible fertilizer program.
With a catch-and-release rule for bass, this should
produce a very strong year class and provide a quality
fishery from late 1993 to around 1997 or 1998.
The Northeast Region Fisheries Management Project
continued the Jacksonville Urban Pond Project. This
project includes working with the Duval County
Recreational Department to teach kids in summer
camp about the importance of aquatic habitat and how
to fish safely. Intensive management in the nine ponds
that are part of the program provided more than
220,000 hours of recreational fishing. Improvements in
the management program resulted in an increase of
harvestable bream per acre from 755 to 1,117, and the
robustness of these fish also increased.
Based on the conservative figure of an hour's fishing
being worth $4.69, the Jacksonville Urban Pond
Project generated a benefit of $1,032,000 for the local
community. The costs to this agency were only $52,000,
for a benefit-to-cost ratio of 20 to 1.
Newnan's Lake continues to be an important
resource in need of assistance. During FY 89-90
bulrush was planted by project personnel and hydrilla
naturally expanded to form a fringe. However, it is


apparent true restoration of the lake will require a
more substantial effort. Plans are underway, in
conjunction with the Lake Restoration Section, to
determine if a pump-down of the lake is feasible.
The Northwest Region Fisheries Management
Project has continued to provide outstanding
recreational fisheries through the Commission-
managed Impoundment Project by fertilizing and
otherwise intensively managing five lakes. For
example, the number of harvested sport fish from
Lake Hurricane increased four fold in the last two
years, and more than twice as many hours are now
spent by fishermen on the lake. Lake Victor, another
Commission-managed impoundment, had the highest
panfish catch rate in the state an outstanding 4.41
fish per hour.
Using the $4.69 per fishing hour value from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, this project generated a
value of $1,328,000. The benefit-to-cost ratio was
approximately 7 to 1.
Merritt's Mill Pond, internationally known as
perhaps the best redear sunfish fishery in the world,
had suffered over the past few years from the natural
accumulation of an inorganic sediment from spring
water. This unconsolidated muck layer became so deep
over time that submergent plants could no longer
thrive in the lake, resulting in detrimental impacts to
the fishery. The regional project coordinated with the
Lake Restoration Section and local government
officials to conduct a drawdown that was facilitated by
the innovative use of siphons in its final stages. While
the pond was down from April to September, fishing
was not allowed, as requested by the public. When it
refilled, a control program was initiated for invasive
willow trees, and native plants were transplanted from
the spring run to speed recovery of a healthy vegetative
community. The project was conceived and initiated
during FY 89-90, with some wrap-up work required in
early FY 90-91.
The Everglades Region Fisheries Management
Project again documented high success rates for
anglers fishing canals bordering Water Conservation
Area II. Dry conditions in the interior marsh continue
to concentrate fish in canals where bass fishermen
enjoyed a catch rate of 1.0 bass per hour, of which 78
percent were released (harvest success rate was 0.22
bass per hour). A continuing drought has caused
several poor fish spawns, which may jeopardize quality
fishing for the next few years in this area.
An Urban Fishing Project is planned for the
Everglades Region under proposed agreements with
Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The first
lakes to be included are the northern portion of
Tropical Lake (12 acres), Delevoe Lake (18 acres),
Caloosa Lake (4 acres) and Plantation Heritage Lake (7
acres).
The Central Region Fisheries Management Project
completed the second year of a study to compare fish
attractors constructed of various materials. Attractors
made from tree-cuttings are already beginning to
deteriorate naturally; whereas, artificial attractors
have been disturbed by people. In another effort to
find a more suitable material/design for fish
attractors, a PVC frame was created to support Geo
Web (a plastic material that forms a honeycomb effect
with cells about four inches deep and five or six inches





t~~-5- a= -

.r-5
;e~ ~.- ---


The Fish Attractor Crew worked on 46 quarter-acre structures, of which


across). Initial observations indicate this may be a
productive design, but observations over a number of
years will be required to determine effectiveness,
durability and acceptance by the public.
Fish population studies were initiated on Rainbow
River, Crystal River and Lake Panasoffkee. Findings
will be used by Southwest Florida Water Management
District to develop restoration and management plans
under SWIM.
The Kissimmee Chai i of Lakes Project documented
positive responses to the drawdown project
coordinated in 1988 in production of sport fish, forage
fish and macroinvertebrates on muck removal sites in
Lake Tohopekaliga. More diverse vegetation
communities with less overall plant density were found
on scraped sites where muck over-burden had been
removed. This resulted in four times more harvestable
largemouth bass on scraped sites than in unrestored
areas.
An extreme drawdown of East Lake Tohopekaliga
was conducted using funds from the Commission's new
Lake Restoration Section, which was funded by the
increased fishing license fee. Other monies, personnel
and equipment were donated by the South Florida
Water Management District, the Department of
Environmental Regulation's Pollution Recovery Trust
Fund, the City of St. Cloud and Osceola County. This
project restored seven miles of shoreline, removed
400,000 cubic yards of muck, and exposed 3,000 acres of
lake bottom for 45 days allowing the muck to dry out
and consolidate. In addition, 240 acres were burned
with assistance from the Division of Forestry.
The Lake Okeechoh .- Project determined using an
otter trawl that threadfin shad were extremely
abundant during the winter of 1989-90 and may have
contributed to a somewhat improved growth rate for
black crappie this year. The creel survey also
documented the continuing high quality of the sport
fisheries of Lake Okeechobee. Anglers expended
approximately 950,000 hours of effort during the
winter-spring survey period a 22-percent increase
over FY 88-89. In 291,000 hours of bass fishing, anglers
caught 132,000 largemouth bass for a success rate of


18 were in new locations.


0.44 fish per hour. This is extremely good fishing
compared to the assumed statewide average of 0.25 bass
per hour, and is even better than last year's excellent
success rate in Okeechobee of 0.39 bass per hour.
Catch-and-release is catching hold on the "Big O" with
the percentage of bass released increasing over the last
three years from 34 to 41 to 56 percent.
New records for effort (601,000 hours), harvest
(1,864,000 fish) and success (3.11 fish per hour) were
recorded for black crappie. However, the average size
of black crappie continues to be relatively small. Prior
to allowing any commercial harvest of black crappie,
they averaged 7.8 inches in January of their second
year. During the three years commercial harvest was
allowed (1976-1979), two-year old fish in January
averaged 9.2 inches, as a result of reduced competition.
Since the commercial harvest of crappie has been
prohibited again, the average size in January of two-
year-old fish has diminished to 5.6 inches.
Commercial fishermen harvested 4,301,000 pounds of
fish from Lake Okeechobee during FY 89-90 a very
slight increase over the previous year. Trotlines
accounted for 55 percent of the harvest; haul seines
and wire traps were responsible for the rest. White
catfish again dominated the commercial catch,
representing 47 percent of the harvest.
A substantial effort was made to quantitatively
compare the value of various vegetation communities
to both large and small fish. Bulrush was utilized by
larger fish, which require more space to forage
efficiently. Whereas, young fish and small forage
species were more prevalent in pondweed, eel-grass,
hydrilla or yellow water-lily.
The continuing drought throughout south Florida
and the near historical low elevation of Lake
Okeechobee presented the opportunity for additional
management of dense stands of cat-tails and torpedo
grass. Prescribed burning of 15,000 acres of this overly
dense vegetation in February was accomplished in a
four-hour period using the aerial-ignition technique
favored by the Division of Wildlife. As less dense
native plants re-invade this area it should become
available again for sport fish spawning and as a nursery
for young fishes.






The Fish Hatchery Project produced more than 3
million fish of seven species and three types of hybrid
at the main production facility at Richloam. In
addition, nearly half a million fish were contributed
by the Blackwater state hatchery and a million from
the Welaka federal hatchery for stocking in Florida. In
all, 130 public water bodies were stocked with 4.5
million fish. The majority of fish produced were
striped bass and sunshine bass. Many fish were
provided to other state or federal agencies, or
universities for research purposes. This is the first year
that private waters have not been stocked by the
Commission since the commercial aquaculture
industry in Florida is large enough now to handle this
demand.
The hatchery provided on-site logistical and
technical support services for 10 research
investigations. The studies are:

1. Developing aquacultural technology for bream
hybrids and black crappie as food fish (with the
Commission Aquaculture Project);
2. Evaluating merits of a native crawfish
(Procambarus alleni) as an aquacultural
alternative to non-native crawfish (with the
Commission Aquaculture Project);
3. Evaluating merits of a native crawfish (P.
paeninsulanus) as an aquacultural alternative to
non-native crawfish (with the Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida);
4. Developing aquacultural technology for intensive
culture of black crappie (with Commission
Commercial Fisheries personnel);
5. Experimenting with effectiveness and non-target
effects of fish pellets laced with fish toxicant
designed to selectively remove triploid grass carp
(with the Commission South-Everglades Aquatic
Plant Management Project).
6. Surgically implanting radio-transmitters in
hatchery-reared triploid grass carp (with the
Commission South-Everglades Aquatic Plant
Management and Lower Oklawaha Basin projects);

\11hl -


7. Investigating differential mortality rates
associated with hauling triploid grass carp under
different circumstances, from various hatcheries
(with the Commission Herbivorous Fish Project);
8. Studying genetic composition of various striped
bass and white bass stocks and hybrids (with
Southern Illinois University);
9. Determining effective hydrostatic pressure
treatments to create triploid sunshine bass (with
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and University of
Maryland); and
10. Exploring methods to produce triploid blue
tilapia and to find out if triploids have
aquacultural advantages over normal diploid
tilapia.
The Ki-imnmee Ri\er-Lake ()ketchobee-E ergladc-
Resource Project continued to monitor effects of the
Kissimmee River Restoration Demonstration Project
on fish communities. In addition, the project leader
traveled to California to participate in developing a
hydrological model of the system to evaluate future
restoration strategies. Input was provided that
indicated the Total Backfill Plan for a major portion
of the C-38 canal, which had essentially replaced the
historic Kissimmee River, is the best alternative. In
what may be a wonderful precedent, the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers is considering doing the actual
work to undo the canal and restore the river.
Otter trawl and blocknet samples were conducted to
determine species composition and relative abundance
of fish in shoreline and open-water areas of Lake
Okeechobee. Game fish constituted more than 50
percent of the weight of fish collected in both areas.
Blue tilapia, an invasive exotic species, were first found
in the lake in 1984 and blocknet samples document
their continued expansion, with abundant small tilapia
demonstrating the fish are successfully spawning in
Lake Okeechobee.
Results from the third year of the Lake Okeechobee
aquatic invertebrate study documented the presence of
several invertebrate community types in the lake. The
study promises to be a classic comparison of
invertebrate populations from various substrates and
relating them to degree of pollution and their ability
to sustain healthy fisheries. It will be important not
only in evaluating future environmental conditions in
Lake Okeechobee, but also as a cross-reference to
similar studies throughout Florida.
The Boat Ramp Project had its best year to date by
constructing four new ramps and repairing 26.
Construction techniques continue to be improved,
making the project more cost-efficient and producing a
higher-quality ramp. As part of the division's active
participation in the State Organization for Boating
Access, all of the ramps are designed to be accessible to
the handicapped.
The Fi-h Attractor Crew worked on 46 quarter-acre
structures throughout the state, of which 18 were in
new locations. Most of these attractors were made of
brush. On a few occasions, a combination of brush and
tires was installed because brush breaks down after a
few years. This approach provides desirable
characteristics from both materials, such as longevity
from the tires and surface area from the brush. A
significant problem using electrician's vinyl tie-straps
Drawing down a lake and removing muck from the bottom is a
proven method ofimprovingfish habitat.






with floating tire arrays was identified and corrected.
In addition, two one-acre attractors were created using
felled trees and logs in rivers.
The Lake Monroe pilot project has been completed
by the Lake Restoration Project, working with the St.
Johns River Project, to improve fisheries habitat by
planting native vegetation in 800 acres of this 9,500-
acre lake. Giant bulrush and eel-grass transplants have
established and are expanding rapidly in areas where
they were eliminated and have been absent for 20
years. More planting work is anticipated for FY 90-91.
The project worked closely with the Northwest
Region Fisheries Management Project on designing
and implementing the Merritt's Mill Pond drawdown,
and with the division's engineer in designing new
structures for Lake Miccosukee to allow future
management of the lake. Coordination also was
accomplished with the Kissimmee project on the East
Lake Tohopekaliga drawdown and with the
Ochlockonee River Project on the proposed Talquin
Drawdown.
During the next fiscal year it is hoped that plans will
be developed and implemented to help restore Crystal
Lake and to improve fishing areas in the Corbett
Wildlife Management Area. Depending on availability
of funds some work may also be accomplished in lakes
Parker, Hollingsworth and Hunter.
Development of a long-term management program
for Lake Istokpoga has continued to progress. The
South Florida Water Management District, at the
Commission's urging, adopted a new water regulation
schedule to improve fisheries and wildlife habitat on
this 27,700-acre lake. A long-term restoration plan is
being developed for Lake Hancock also, and the Lake
Restoration Project is working with the Northeast
Regional Project on Newnan's Lake.
According to the Commercial Fisheries Project,
catfish harvest from Lake Apopka continued to decline
in FY 89-90. Lake Apopka dealers purchased 765,000
pounds of catfish valued at $431,000 in FY 89-90
compared to 2,247,000 pounds harvested in FY 87-88.
Declines were also noted in commercial harvest from
the St. Johns River. Commercial dealers purchased
4,217,000 pounds of catfish, blue crabs and American
eels from commercial fishermen on the St. Johns River
worth an exvessel value of $2,368,000. These figures
represent a nine percent decrease in total pounds
harvested and a four percent decrease in total exvessel
value when compared to harvest and value figures for
FY 88-89. Tilapia harvest from the Lakeland area
increased 60 percent from FY 89-90. Most of the
1,874,000-pound increase (to 4,799,000 pounds) was
attributed to better reporting.
Black crappie were successfully spawned, trained to
accept commercial foods and stocked into 500-gallon
tanks for grow-out. After four months, cultured fish
were about 19-25 percent heavier than fish of similar
lengths collected by trawl from the St. Johns River.
The Commercial Aquaculture Project completed the
third year of research on bluegill and bluegill-redear
hybrids as part of an assessment of their aquaculture
potential. Similar research is being conducted on
native crawfish in a cooperative effort with the
Division of Wildlife to integrate crawfish culture with
rice production and waterfowl enhancement.
In FY 89-90, the aquaculture game fish program


expanded to 20 approved culture facilities and
reported sales totaling 24,000 pounds of approved
game fish. This is an increase of 452 percent by weight
over the previous year. Less than half as many non-
native restricted fish permits were issued this year (33)
as last year (69) due to removing blue tilapia from the
list of restricted fish in the Central, South and
Everglades regions.
This work reflects the Commission's commitment to
increase research in solving aquaculture problems as
outlined in the Florida Aquaculture Plan and the
Memorandum of Understanding between the
Commission and the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services. As a result of
permitting delays, expansion of the Richloam Hatchery
still has not taken place. The project is still severely
understaffed; however, staff continue to try to provide
more assistance to the rapidly expanding aquaculture
industry each year.
The Aquatic Plant Management Section issued 860
triploid grass carp permits in FY 89-90, and reviewed
547 Department of Natural Resources herbicide work
plans and permits. Section personnel documented that
use of triploid grass carp on a sample of 36 public
lakes, which were monitored quarterly from 1986 to
1988, saved an estimated $1 million in herbicides.
Stocking rates ranged from one to five fish per surface
acre.
Radio-transmitters were implanted into triploid
grass carp released in Lake Istokpoga. Tagged fish have
not left the lake in spite of the fact that no barriers are
in place. This is important background information
for considering the possibility of working with the
Department of Natural Resources to do a major Sonar
(fluridone) herbicide treatment in the winter of 1991,
followed by stocking a low rate of triploid grass carp in
early spring 1992. The intent of such a program would
be to increase the amount of time it takes hydrilla to
reach problematic levels, without eliminating desirable
native plants. If successful, it could save the state
several million dollars worth of herbicide and still
provide quality fisheries.
Additional work was conducted, under a
Department of Agriculture permit, to develop a
method of removing triploid grass carp following
control of target plant species. This technique includes
incorporating a fish toxicant into edible formulations
of fish pellets. The toxicant is not released into the
water and is used in such low concentrations that it is
safe from a human perspective, and should not
significantly impact other fish or wildlife resources. If
successful this will help make the triploid grass carp a
better management tool, since the greatest concern
currently is inability to remove the fish if they over
control aquatic plants.


















































The Dirision of IT wildlife is responsible for the
application of scientific information and principles in
the management of uwildlije populations and habitats
for the benefit of the people of Florida. It conducts
applied research to develop biologically based
S management strategies and techniques, and applies
technical information in pursuit of defined
management strategic. on public and private lands for
resident and migrator) wildlife. Specific programs and
activities include urldlije surveys and inventories, land
acquisition and management, development of wildlife-
oriented recreational opportunities and facilities,
formulation of hardest regulations, and participation
in a variety' of land and wildlife resource management
policy committees at the state, national and
international level. The dirtsion administers the
largest public hunting area system in the United States.


*' *.'**


AB a ~ **'






BUREAU OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT In a
continuing effort to provide public hunting, the
Bureau of Wildlife Management administers type I
and type II wildlife management areas (WMAs). In FY
89-90, the type I program comprised 4,087,696 acres in
62 areas. A $25 permit was 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 privately owned
lands included in the management area system.
The bureau cooperates with nine landowners in the
1.7 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 135,573 acres of land were made
available for public hunting in the wildlife and
environmental area (WEA) program. Wildlife and
environmental areas included were the Santa Fe
Swamp, L. Kirk Edwards, Apalachicola WEA, Dupuis
and East Everglades tracts.
During the 1989-90 season, hunters spent 420,780
man-days hunting on the type I system. A total of
$700,000 in lease payments ranging from less than one
cent per acre to $2.89 per acre was distributed to 14
private landowners who made 987,524 acres available
under this program. Approximately one-fourth of the
type I lands is in private ownership, with the balance
being state and federal property.
Habitat management programs completed this year
on wildlife management areas included control
burning 113,301 acres, planting 538 mast-producing
tree seedlings, 4,000 bicolor lespedeza seedlings and
428 acres of wildlife food plots. A total of 2,000 acres
was roller chopped and 175 acres were mowed to
provide improved habitat conditions for early
successional wildlife species. The Hickory Mound
Impoundment at the Aucilla WMA was maintained
and managed for public hunting and fishing. The
Occidental and IMC WMAs (comprising 3,320 acres in
Hamilton and Polk counties) were managed for public
waterfowl hunting. A total of 350 quail feeders was
maintained. Twenty-eight wood duck nesting boxes
were erected and some 408 were maintained and
checked for hatchling production.
Work was completed on the replacement of water
control structures on the Lake Ponte Vedra Dam on
the Guana River WMA. The new structure will enable
the Commission once again to control water levels in
Lake Ponte Vedra to encourage favorable habitat
conditions for waterfowl and wading birds.
Work continued this year on an interpretive nature
trail/boardwalk for the J.W. Corbett WMA, an
interpretive drive for the Bull Creek WMA and an
interpretive nature trail with boardwalks and
observation towers on the Guana River WMA.
Bird dog field trials were conducted on Cecil M.
Webb, Citrus and Blackwater WMAs as part of a
continuing program to provide field trial facilities and
opportunities around the state.


The issuance of antlerless deer permits and the
establishment of harvest quotas for antlerless or
antlered deer are population management tools used
on type I wildlife management areas.
Deer herd management regulations establish
controls on the legal harvest of antlerless deer from
selected wildlife management areas to ensure that an
overharvest does not occur. Benefits of 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 FY 89-90, there were
47,845 nine-day and 14,986 special hunt quota permits
available to the public. All special hunt quota permits
and all (100 percent) of the nine-day quota permits
were issued.
Antlerless deer permits were issued as part of the
quota hunt program during this year. There were 1,105
antlerless deer permits issued for eight type I wildlife
management areas by random drawing.
Quota hunt permits again were 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, mobility-impaired person
hunts and youth 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 areas.
The total deer harvest for Florida in FY 89-90, on
both private property and public hunting areas, was
estimated at 85,753.

Everglades Recreation Project Everglades
Recreation Project personnel assisted with the
operation of managed hunts on the Everglades WMA
by manning check stations to collect biological data
from harvested deer. A prescribed burning plan for
sawgrass marsh in the Everglades WMA was
implemented during this fiscal year. 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.
Surveys were conducted of wading bird rookery sites.
Wildlife Extension Services White-tailed deer are
the most popular big game animals in Florida. The
state's deer population is estimated to be in excess of
700,000. The division assists private landowners and


























Wildlife biologists inspect nest boxes to survey wood duck populations.
lease holders by providing guidelines on sound deer
management.
Approximately 544 private landowners controlling
2,855,478 acres were issued 12,499 tags for antlerless
deer harvest. Reported antlerless deer harvest was
4,712 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,
1,454 bucks have been scored. Of those, 1,331 have
scored 100 or more inches, which qualified them for
the registry. The largest typical deer scored thus far
was 168 inches and was taken in Gadsden County in
1977. The largest non-typical rack, which scored 2013/
inches, was taken in Wakulla County in the 1940s.


Nuisance Wildlife controll Bureau biologists
investigated and made corrective management
recommendations regarding 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, 114
permits were issued outside the established deer
hunting season to remove 1,391 deer causing significant
crop depredation. Division staff also handled a
constant flow of requests and complaints from the
public concerning blackbirds, tree frog choruses,
woodpeckers on houses, snakes, raccoons, foxes and
others. The majority of the complaints originated in
the Everglades and South regions.

Forest Stewardship Program A new technical
assistance program was initiated in 1990 as a joint
effort by the division, the U.S. Soil Conservation
Service and the Division of Forestry. The Forest
Stewardship Program is designed to provide a multi-
disciplined approach to technical guidance for the
private forest landowner interested in managing his
land for all natural resources, including wildlife.
This interagency approach to providing private non-
industrial landowners with technical assistance has met
with wide appeal. The program began in the late
spring and by the end of June, 13 landowners,


representing 33,000 acres, had committed to it. The
division's role is to provide the necessary technical
guidance and written input for Forest Stewardship
management plans to ensure that wildlife (both game
and nongame) is being properly managed.

STATEWIDE PROGRAMS

Deer Management The Commission recently
initiated a Deer Management Program which will
develop a statewide, conceptual plan to coordinate,
review and direct white-tailed deer management for
the conservation and wise use of the species. Its goal is
to formulate habitat, harvest and population
management practices and strategies that enhance
hunting opportunities, contribute to hunter
satisfaction, and increase opportunities for non-
consumptive appreciation of white-tailed deer. The
program coordinator will provide a continuing review
of emerging information and concepts on white-tailed
deer ecology and management and provide timely
revision of the statewide management plan to ensure
that Florida's deer management program remains up
to date.
The coordinator will serve as the Commission's
representative for white-tailed deer related activities.
This person will review and suggest revisions for
annual wildlife management area work plans
concerning white-tailed deer and provide technical
recommendations for use in assistance to private
landowners.
The program also will review and approve all
Commission-sponsored wildlife research and data
collection efforts pertaining to white-tailed deer. This
will include standardizing data collection techniques
statewide and compiling collected information in a
central, accessible data base. In addition, the
coordinator, in cooperation with the appropriate
division personnel, will review archival data on white-
tailed deer, complete data analyses and prepare results
of analyses to improve deer management capabilities
in the state.

Alligator Management The Commission's Alligator
Management Program has developed around the
premise that the economic value derived from wise use
of Florida's alligator resource can provide economic
incentives to conserve alligators and preserve their
wetland habitat. The expansion of management
programs and growth of an industry dependent on the






alligator resource provides a new constituency group to
serve as advocates for wetland conservation.
Fifty-three alligator farms were permitted in FY 89-
90, 30 of which were granted authority to receive
alligator hatchlings taken from the wild. Alligator
hatchling collections were continued in September and
October 1989. A total of 4,959 hatchlings was taken by
20 of the 30 eligible farms. Alligator egg collections
were implemented on five collection areas under
revised rules. Twenty-nine of 30 eligible farms
participated in two collection groups, resulting in the
harvest of 7,885 eggs from 296 nests, and yielding 6,374
hatchlings for rearing on farms. Alligator farms
processed 16,482 farm-reared alligators.
An application and procedures for permitting the
harvest of alligator eggs, hatchlings and adults on
private wetlands were revised. In response, 35
applications for private wetlands management
programs were submitted and 35 permits,
encompassing more than 175,000 acres of wetlands,
were issued. Participation in this program has grown
five fold since its inception in 1988. Its continued
growth is expected to provide economic rewards to
Florida landowners who preserve wetlands in a natural
and productive state for alligators and all wetland
wildlife.
Two hundred twenty-nine alligator trappers,
permitted to harvest alligators on 29 established
management units, filled 87 percent of the tags issued
by harvesting 3,031 alligators. These alligators averaged
7.7 feet in length and yielded an estimated 91,000
pounds of meat. The overall male-to-female sex ratio of
the alligators harvested was 68:32, indicating that these
harvests were successful in adequately protecting the
female segment of the population.
Important components of all harvest programs were
strict documentation and tagging requirements which
ensured that harvests were tightly controlled. As a
result of tag fees paid by program participants,
$400,000 was generated to support administration of
the program. Program expenditures totaled
approximately $333,000.
A total of 7,870 alligator hides taken from the wild
(including nuisance alligators and alligators harvested
on public waters and private lands) was validated with
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) tags to identify them as legally taken
hides for the international market. The gross value of
hides and meat from all alligators taken from the wild
was estimated to exceed $5 million annually, while
farm-reared alligator sales were estimated near $3.7
million.
Extensive surveys were conducted to establish
harvest quotas that could be achieved without negative
impacts on the alligator populations. Population
monitoring was continued statewide to document
trends in alligator numbers.
The continued growth of the alligator management
program, coupled with its high economic return to
users, should provide landowners, trappers, farmers
and processors with economic incentives to support
preservation of wetland areas vital to wild alligator
populations.

Waterfowl Management House Bill 898, passed by
the Florida Legislature in FY 78-79, 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. Eighty-nine
entries from 71 artists were received for the 90-91
design.
During this fiscal year, 16,429 stamps were sold,
generating $49,287 in revenue. Expenditures during
the reporting period totaled approximately $263,515.
The difference between revenues and expenditures was
derived from Commission operating funds ($187,984), a
specific legislative appropriation ($13,122), and Ducks
Unlimited matching aid ($13,122).
Most activities of the Waterfowl Management
Program (WMP) can be described as either population
and harvest management or habitat protection and
enhancement. Efforts to monitor the population status
of Florida's resident waterfowl species (wood duck,
mottled duck and fulvous whistling-duck) continue to
be a high priority in the program. Survey techniques
using nest boxes were implemented to monitor the
wood duck population status. In March WMP staff
conducted the annual helicopter survey to estimate
numbers of breeding mottled ducks. On-going banding
studies provide estimates of harvest rates and annual
mortality for all three resident species. Resulting band
recovery information is essential to resident waterfowl
management efforts and to evaluate and continue the
experimental September duck season.
Sport harvest of migratory waterfowl is managed in
conjunction with the Atlantic Flyway Council and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The WMP contributes
personnel and fiscal resources to national programs
that benefit Florida such as the mid-winter waterfowl
inventory, which is conducted throughout the Atlantic
Flyway each year in early January. Extensive
modifications have been made to this aerial survey in
Florida to provide more accurate estimates of the
winter duck numbers and distribution. The WMP also
provides technical representation from Florida during
the waterfowl hunting regulations development
process.
Protecting the quality of waterfowl habitat also
remains a high priority. Technical input on aquatic
plant management programs for public waters is a
critical component of this effort. WMP staff worked
with Water Management Districts to implement the
Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM)
Act. An interagency Lake Okeechobee Waterfowl
Management Plan Committee also was established.
Implementation of the Ducks Unlimited MARSH
(Matching Aid to Restore States' Habitat) program
continued during FY 89-90. The MARSH program
provides money to state fish and wildlife agencies for
wetland acquisition and enhancement. The state
legislature must provide dollar-for-dollar matching
funds to acquire MARSH money. Through this
program, water management capabilities were further
improved at the Lake Harbor Public Waterfowl Area
in Palm Beach County. Final approval and legislative
authorization were received for the fifth and largest
MARSH project in the state, the T.M. Goodwin
Waterfowl Management Area. This project will provide
3,870 acres of high quality waterfowl habitat and
associated public recreation.

Endangered Species Coordination All studies
and other aspects of Florida's Endangered Wildlife
Program (funded through the federal Endangered






Species Act at a federal/state ratio of 3:1) were
monitored and overseen, and various activities
pertaining to the project were participated in,
facilitated and/or supervised. A number of
presentations on endangered species were made for
schools, conservation groups and other state agencies.
Commission representation and participation on the
Governor's Save the Manatee Committee, Red Wolf
Recovery Team and the Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services' Endangered Species Task
Force were 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, were prepared and
submitted to the governor, cabinet and appropriate
members of the legislature and distributed to
interested persons.
Coordination continued on an interstate and
intergovernmental cooperative bald eagle re-
establishment project designed to use Florida's eagle
population as a donor source to re-establish the species
throughout the Southeast. This project involves
removing eggs from Florida nests, transporting the
eggs to the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center in
Oklahoma, hatching them, and rearing the young to
seven to eight weeks of age. Then the young are
distributed among different southeastern states. The
parent birds typically renest.
Consultation and technical assistance in endangered
species matters were provided to a number of state and
federal agencies, consulting firms and local regulatory
entities. Numerous requests for information about
endangered species were processed.

Wild Turkey Management The Florida Wild
Turkey Stamp Act of 1986 requires persons hunting
wild turkeys to possess a $5 wild turkey stamp. Passage
of the act was intended to generate funds that would
assist in the expansion of wild turkey research and
management and to increase wild turkey populations
in the state without detracting from other Commission
programs.
A contest open to the public provides the artwork
for the stamp. Nineteen entries from 16 artists were
received for the 1990-91 design. Revenues generated
during FY 89-90 from the sale of 19,640 turkey stamps,
sportsman's licenses and art print stamps of current
and earlier years totaled $179,677.13. Expenditures of
turkey stamp funds totaled $105,396.49 and included
$5,937.79 for administration, $42,466.23 for salaries,
and $56,992.47 for management and research.
Expenditures of other Commission funds totaled
$18,814.43.
Program planning emphasized the coordination of
turkey management practices on wildlife management
areas and expansion of the wild turkey population
across the state. To facilitate coordination of statewide
management activities, a Conceptual Plan for Florida's
Wild Turkey Management Program was completed and
submitted for agency approval. Two new program
positions were staffed: a Wild Turkey Management
Program coordinator and an administrative secretary.
Habitat improvement was emphasized on type I
wildlife management areas where this agency has
primary land management authority. Field inspections
related to wild turkey management were conducted on


20


29 type I wildlife management areas. One hundred five
miles of road right-of-way were mechanically mowed
on two wildlife management areas. Fifty acres of
permanent openings were mowed to improve turkey
brood rearing habitat, and 22 acres of chufas were
planted on four wildlife management areas. Controlled
burning using the turkey management program's aerial
ignition device was conducted on five type I wildlife
management areas; gross acreage burned totaled 45,200
acres. A mobile drip torch was purchased to directly
increase prescribed burning capabilities in the
Northwest Region.
Habitat management and improvement projects are
continuing on two national forests operated as type I
wildlife management areas. On the Osceola National
Forest WMA, approximately 10 miles of roads were
closed and managed as turkey brood rearing habitat. A
total of 244 miles of roads is scheduled for closure
during the next 10 to 15 years, thereby providing 244
acres of permanent openings that will be managed
specifically to benefit wild turkeys. Wild Turkey
Management Program staff also worked with the USDA
Forest Service to expand an existing project on the
Apalachicola National Forest WMA; power-line rights-
of-way and roads within a designated closed area were
actively managed for wild turkeys through planting
and mowing. Both national forest projects are
cooperative efforts between the Commission, the
National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the
USDA Forest Service.
Acquisition of supplemental funding for operation
of check stations on 10 wildlife management areas
during the 1990 spring turkey season was coordinated
by Wild Turkey Management Program staff. Funding
provided by the Florida Chapter of the NWTF allowed
for 3,230 man-hours of check station operation that
otherwise would have been unavailable due to a state
budget shortfall. Check station operators recorded
hunter pressure and collected biological data on
harvested turkeys.
Wild turkey population surveys were conducted on
six selected wildlife management areas to provide data
for the establishment of harvest and hunter quotas.
Field inspections were conducted on four wildlife
management areas to determine the potential for
expanded turkey hunting and management
opportunities. A workshop for Commission biologists
was held to review survey techniques currently used to
collect turkey census data on management areas. At the
workshop, three techniques were identified that would
provide pertinent population dynamics data.
Establishment of standardized criteria for conducting
each of these techniques was initiated.
A draft prospectus for research to test and refine
turkey census techniques was completed. This study
will evaluate the three survey techniques currently
being used by Commission biologists. Study results will
be used to calibrate these techniques to density
estimators. Interactive effects of habitat quality and
turkey behavior will also be evaluated. Harvest data
collection on wildlife management areas with check
stations and controlled access was standardized across
the state beginning with the 1990 spring turkey season,
and a centralized database for wildlife management
area harvest data was established within the Wild
Turkey Management Program.






A statewide hunter survey designed to collect
information on hunter satisfaction and spring season
harvest was mailed to a sample of Florida turkey stamp
and sportsman's license purchasers. The survey was
designed to retrieve information about spring turkey
harvest on private and public lands. Survey
information will allow the Wild Turkey Management
Program to evaluate regional harvest trends and
establish turkey hunter satisfaction objectives.
Review and comments were provided on the NWTF's
new wild turkey publication. Several popular articles
on wild turkeys were reviewed prior to publication in
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine. Several other
popular articles were drafted and will be submitted for
publication during the upcoming year. A manuscript
on turkey hunter satisfaction was drafted from
excerpts of a previous mail survey and will be
presented at the Forty-fourth Annual Conference of
the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife
Agencies and published in the conference proceedings.
Technical assistance, educational materials and
turkey management rules and regulations were
provided to interested citizens on a daily basis by the
turkey program coordinator and staff. Field
inspections and habitat improvement
recommendations were provided to private hunt clubs
and private landowners interested in benefiting
turkeys on local areas.

Surface Water Improvement
and Management Program In 1987, the Florida
Legislature enacted the Surface Water Improvement
and Management (SWIM) Act. This legislation
identified the need to improve and manage surface
waters and natural systems associated with water
bodies throughout the state. It requires the water
management districts, in cooperation with the
Commission, other state agencies and local
governments, to make priority lists of water bodies in
need of attention and to develop management plans to
protect and restore these water bodies.
Implicit in this legislation is the need to restore and
enhance habitats for wildlife. Coordination of this
component of the SWIM Act is required to facilitate
the transfer of technical information and management
recommendations among Commission personnel, the
water management districts, and other agencies; to
provide a single contact and representative for
wildlife-related SWIM matters; to ensure that requests
for data related to SWIM programs are addressed
efficiently and effectively; and to be responsive to
requests for consultation or information about the
SWIM program from local, state and private
organizations, and the public.
In FY 89-90 the division's SWIM Program
coordinator monitored and accomplished all aspects of
division activities associated with SWIM Act mandated
responsibilities. Consultation and technical assistance
in wildlife-related matters was provided to all water
management districts and SWIM technical advisory
committees at 45 planning meetings. Participation by
division personnel in SWIM advisory committees was
monitored and coordinated.
SWIM plans for 12 priority water bodies were
reviewed. Specific recommendations and comments
regarding the effects of these plans on wildlife and
their habitats were provided to the water management


districts. As a result of this input, the plans were
modified or refined as necessary to provide additional
wildlife habitat protection or enhancement. Public
hearings on all SWIM plans were attended.
An agreement was coordinated for the Commission
to conduct wildlife assessments in five SWIM priority
water body watersheds located within the Southwest
Florida Water Management District. Inventories of
birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals will be
undertaken within each of the major habitat types in
these watersheds for 12 months. To support this
cooperative project, the water management district
will provide the Commission $110,000 to purchase
supplies and to employ five part-time staff members to
assist in completion of the project.
Several presentations on wildlife habitats,
populations and distribution relating to the SWIM
priority water bodies were made for technical advisory
committees, state agencies and the public. Requests for
specific information from the public, water
management districts and other state agencies were
processed and provided as necessary.
Additional technical assistance and input in wildlife-
related matters were provided on other aquatic habitat
restoration and preservation projects. This included
the Florida Rivers Assessment, Lake Hancock
restoration, South Lake restoration, Lake Parker
restoration, Cross Florida Barge Canal/Lake
Ocklawaha restoration, and Division of Fisheries Lake
Restoration Section projects.

WILDLIFE RESEARCH

The Bureau of Wildlife Research addresses
problems associated with management of Florida's
wildlife, with special emphasis on life history studies
of nongame and endangered species. The research
provides knowledge that is essential for the
development of effective management programs.
Bureau staff are based at the Wildlife Research
Laboratory in Gainesville and the Big Cypress Wildlife
Field Office in Naples.
Black Bear The status of the black bear was
monitored through two studies: one involving the
documentation and necropsy of road-killed and
illegally killed bears, and the other, an analysis of data
from managed hunts. Forty-five road-kills and three
illegally killed bears were documented. The highest
number of road-kills were in Lake, Collier and Gulf
counties. Most road-kills occurred during September
through December. Data collected from these animals
provide information about the distribution,
population dynamics and health of black bears.
Managed hunts on the Apalachicola National Forest
and in Columbia and Baker counties were monitored
to ensure that harvest levels are not excessive. Data on
the total checked kill, the ages of bears killed, and the
sex ratio of the harvest were used in this analysis. The
results indicate that harvests, particularly among
females, on the Osceola National Forest should be
reduced. Harvest levels on the other managed hunts
appear to be sustainable.
Fox Enclosures Because of increasing
urbanization, there are few wild areas left in Florida
where fox hunters can practice their sport. Recently
fox enclosures have become popular alternatives for






fox hunters in Florida. These enclosures are fenced
areas, stocked with foxes or coyotes, where hounds are
released to chase the animals.
A study was designed to gather information about
this relatively new phenomenon and to identify any
management or regulation needs. Forty-three
enclosures were documented. The size of the
enclosures ranged from 75 to 900 acres. The average
cost of construction was reported at $100 per acre.
Most of the enclosures operate commercially, charging
between $3 and $5 per hound released. The enclosures
were stocked with red foxes, gray foxes and coyotes
obtained from states in the Southeast and Midwest. A
final report outlining recommendations was prepared.
Fox Squirrel A study was completed on the status
and distribution of fox squirrels in Florida. Fox
squirrels are widely distributed, but except for
scattered areas of local abundance, the species is rare
to absent. The quantity of fox squirrel habitat has
declined drastically in the past 50 years further losses
are inevitable as the state's human population
continues to swell.

Coyote The first phase of this project, completed in
FY 89-90, documented the current distribution of
coyotes in Florida. Using that information and
published literature, a brochure on coyotes was
prepared. The brochure includes sections on the life
history of coyotes, status in Florida, reported damage
problems and recommended control techniques.

Panther North Florida Pantherr Studies During
this reporting period, the Florida Panther Record
Clearinghouse received, classified and filed 349
panther records. The total number of records filed
since the start of the clearinghouse in 1976 is 4,620.
Thirty-five of this year's reports were investigated
either through evidence submitted to the
clearinghouse or by field investigation.
Based on the sign present and other information
gained during the investigations, eight of these records
were determined to have been made by dogs, seven by
bobcats, one by a fox, one by a bear, and one by a


panther (in Flagler County). In 17 cases, no sign could
be found to identify the animal in question. This
brings the total number of reports investigated since
1976 to 476. Of these, 91 (19 percent) consisted of
conclusive evidence of panthers.
Field searches for panther sign were continued along
the St. Johns River drainage. The actual on-the-ground
surveys took 248.5 man-hours and covered 608 miles of
woods, roads and trails. No panther sign was found.
A Florida panther male and female and three male
and three female Texas mountain lions were
maintained at the captive breeding facilities at White
Oak Plantation. No kittens were produced.
Assistance was given in the development of a Florida
Panther Population Viability Analysis and Species
Survival Plan. This is a working document designed to
compile and analyze information on the Florida
panther population, determine its viability through
the use of computer models, and to make
recommendations to prevent its extinction. The most
significant recommendation of this plan was to
establish a captive population of Florida panthers.
Construction was begun on quarantine/breeding pens
at the Wildlife Research Laboratory, Jacksonville Zoo,
Tampa Zoo and Miami Zoo based on the
recommendations of this plan. The recommendation to
remove Florida panthers from the wild for use in
establishing a captive population is presently under
review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Florida Panther Biomedical Investigation -
Eighteen Florida panthers were captured and
immobilized 20 times for the purposes of radio-
collaring and collection of biomedical information
and/or for the removal from the wild for
rehabilitation. This group includes 10 panthers not
captured in previous years.
Blood tests indicate that panthers have been exposed
to or are infected with several viruses: feline
panleukopenia virus (65 percent), feline calicivirus (43
percent), feline enteric corona virus/feline infectious
peritonitis virus (23 percent), feline immunodeficiency
virus (25.6 percent), rabies virus (26 percent), feline
syncytia-forming virus (FeSFV)(33.3 percent),


Proceeds from the i.mlef f wildllif mnionrfement I rea sltamiis on tnowfrdl hrbhitrt mian ngemw nt.


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22






Toxoplasma gondii (8 percent) and Brucella sp.(2.4
percent). A potential disease producing parasite,
Cytauxzoon fells, was identified this year that infects
both free-ranging panthers and bobcats. The
significance of many of these agents in free-ranging
panthers is yet to be determined, but an unvaccinated
panther died of a raccoon rabies virus last November.
It is believed that this is the first documented case of
rabies in a wild cougar.
Mercury was identified as a significant contaminant
in free-ranging panthers, particularly those living in
the Everglades National Park and the Fakahatchee
Strand State Park. Mercury was strongly implicated in
the death of one female panther in the Everglades
National Park. It is hypothesized that mercury-
contaminated raccoons and alligators are the primary
source of mercury in the panthers' diet.
A genetic study analyzing mitochondrial DNA has
revealed a partitioning of the Florida panther into two
populations with differing maternal evolutionary
histories. The Big Cypress Swamp population is largely
descended from North American animals, but the
Everglades National Park population shows evidence
of a Central American or South American influence. It
is possible that this is the result of exotic cougar
releases which occurred in the Everglades National
Park between 1957-1967.
Six panthers have died since July 1, 1989: two from
bacterial infections, one road-killed, one killed by
another panther, one from rabies virus, and one from
probable mercury poisoning. Overall, human activity
continues to be responsible for the majority of all
documented panther deaths (road killed, 46.5 percent;
illegally killed, 16.3 percent). Other important causes
of mortality are aggression between panthers (11.6
percent) and disease (9.2 percent).
South Florida Panther Studies From January 1985
through June 1990 more than 7,000 locations of 24
radio-collared panthers were collected. Florida
panthers prefer native upland cover, especially
hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods. Daytime rest
sites and female dens were usually found in dense
thickets of saw palmetto. Home range size varied from
20 to 457 square miles and averaged 74 square miles for
adult females and 215 square miles for adult males.
Females shifted home ranges in response to removal of
a resident female in 1987 and associated with dispersal
of a sub-adult female. All other resident adults
maintained stable home ranges.
Florida panthers exhibit mortality patterns typical
of unhunted mountain lion populations. Turnover in
resident adults is extremely low while mortality in
subadult males is relatively high. The lack of frequent
home range vacancies makes the likelihood of male
recruitment low.
Thirteen natal dens of six female panthers were
documented. Litter size after two months ranged from
one to four. Birth months ranged from January to
July. No births to radio-collared females occurred in
February while four were documented in March.
According to interactions with females, at least six
adult males sired litters. Age at first reproduction was
18.5 months for females and 36 months for males.
Dispersal distance was 32 miles for males and 10
miles for a female. Activity of Florida panthers peaks
around sunrise and sunset; lowest activity occurs


during the day. Female panthers at natal dens follow a
similar pattern with less difference between high and
low activity periods. Although some travel occurs
during the day, panthers are mostly nocturnal.
From a demographic and behavioral perspective,
panthers in southwest Florida exhibit characteristics
typical of healthy mountain lion populations. Reduced
habitat availability has resulted in limited recruitment
opportunities for subadult males. Continued loss and
fragmentation of native landscapes in southwest
Florida will reduce the ability of panthers to function
normally and will exacerbate problems associated with
low numbers. Habitat conservation through land
acquisition and intensive management of existing
public lands should be a priority in the recovery of the
Florida panther.
A study of white-tailed deer, a primary prey species
for the panther, continued this year. Sixty-four white-
tailed deer were captured in the Bear Island Unit of
the Big Cypress National Preserve, 57 of which were
radio-instrumented. Of the 22 marked deer that have
died, six were taken by bobcats and four by Florida
panthers. Three died of other natural causes, four were
harvested (two legally, two illegally), and five died of
unknown causes. There was no evidence that deer
survivorship patterns changed during hunting season,
and poaching losses were small. Adult survivorship
ranged from 72-89 percent per year and fawn (less than
6 weeks of age) mortality varied from 36-64 percent.
Fawn production may be dependent upon spring water
levels with 50 percent of does successfully raising fawns
beyond 6 weeks of age during wet springs and 83
percent during dry springs. Average doe home range
size was 591 acres and two bucks ranged from 1,122-
3,855 acres.

Snail Kite The distribution and abundance of the
snail kite is surveyed annually to monitor the status of
this endangered species. A total of 464 snail kites
observed during the mid-winter survey represents a 7.2
percent decrease from the number of kites observed
last year. Significant decreases in the number of kites
were found at East Lake Tohopekaliga, big Lake
Tohopekaliga, Lake Kissimmee, and Conservation Area
2A, whereas, notable decreases occurred at Lake
Okeechobee and Conservation Areas 2B and 3B. These
distributional changes probably were the result of the
continued drought conditions at Lake Okeechobee and
the Everglades.
The 1990 snail kite nesting season was below average
in both number of nests and reproductive success. For
the second year in a row, no nesting occurred in
Conservation Areas 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, and the East
Everglades due to drought conditions in these
wetlands. A significant decrease in nesting attempts
and unproductive success occurred at Lake
Okeechobee. Lake Kissimmee exhibited greater nest
numbers and average reproductive success. Probably as
a result of drought-induced dispersal, kites nested in
low numbers at two new locations (Tiger Lake in Polk
County and the Able Canal marshes in Lee County)
and recolonized the St. Johns marshes (in Indian River
County) with a large number of nests. However, water
withdrawals interrupted the nesting cycles and caused
nesting failure at East Lake Tohopekaliga and St.
Johns marshes.






Wading Bird
Buffer Zone Requirements Nine species of
colonial waterbirds nesting at six colonies were
exposed to two different human disturbance variables
(HDV) in order to determine effective buffer zones for
protecting these avian species. Both within species and
between species variation was observed in the flushing
response distance to the same HDV. Brown pelicans
exhibited the shortest average flush distance
(approximately 27 yards), whereas, other species
possessed average flush distances ranging from
approximately 30 to 36 yards in response to
approaching humans. In general, wading birds showed
greater flush distances in reaction to outboard motor
boats. Further, adult least terns, black skimmers and
brown pelicans flush at greater distances than do their
nestlings.

Bald Eagle Monitoring of the state's bald eagle
population continued this year. During the 1989-90
bald eagle nesting season, 535 active territories were
located. Of these, 366 successfully fledged 585 young at
a rate of 1.09 young per active territory and 1.6 young
per successful nest. These rates are representative of a
healthy population that from north central to south
central Florida still appears to be increasing. Based on
the results from the 1989-90 nesting season, the
statewide bald eagle population is estimated to have
ranged between 1,425 (adults and subadults prior to
nesting) and 2,010 (adults and subadults and juveniles
after all young have left the nest).
Brown Pelican This was the off-year of a biennial
monitoring schedule, therefore no systematic surveys
of brown pelican nesting were conducted this year.
However, inspection was made of the pelicans nesting
in Port Orange, near the new A1A bridge. The colony
continued to produce normally in spite of the
construction and disturbance associated with the new
bridge. There was a new, small colony which developed
just north of and within 547 yards of the west end of
the bridge. No die-offs were reported during the past
year.

Sandhill/Whooping Cranes The conservation
strategy for whooping cranes calls for the
establishment of an additional population in Florida.
Preparation for the first release of whooping cranes in
the state continued during the past year. Soft release
pens were designed and sites were selected for pen
construction to begin during fall 1990. The first release
of captive-reared sandhill cranes will be made early in
1991. The first release of whooping cranes is expected
in early 1992.
A manuscript on individual productivity of Florida
and greater sandhill cranes was prepared during the
year. It was determined that cranes begin successfully
reproducing during their third year. On average,
cranes succeed in producing one young every three
years. A significant segment, between 25 and 40 percent
of the 3-years-and-older population, never succeed in
reproducing.

Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Studies Field
work began on a study to determine the distribution
and abundance of the endangered Florida grasshopper
sparrow. The bird was added to the federal list of
endangered species in 1986 based on a status survey


conducted by the Commission. The sparrow inhabits
the treeless, low scrub prairies of south central
Florida. Habitat loss due to intensive pasture
management for cattle is the greatest threat to the
subspecies.
Satellite photographs that depict the dry prairie
plant community were used to locate potential habitat
in Manatee, Hardee, Polk, Okeechobee, Desoto and
Highlands counties. Field assessments confirmed some
areas of suitable habitat; however, most sites were
unsuitable for grasshopper sparrows because they
contained scattered pines or had recently been
converted to improved pasture.
Surveys during the year located 14 grasshopper
sparrows on the Audubon Society's Kissimmee Prairie
Sanctuary in Okeechobee County and two on the
Bright Hour Ranch in Desoto County. No grasshopper
sparrows were found during searches of the Prairie
Lakes Unit of the Three Lakes WMA and Myakka
River State Park.
Where Florida grasshopper sparrows were found,
information was obtained on location, habitat use and
land management practices. Information from this
study may justify the continued listing of the Florida
grasshopper sparrow, with specific populations
identified for protection and management. An article
about this study was written for the Florida Cattleman
and Livestock Journal to increase rancher awareness of
this little-known bird.
A study to determine Florida grasshopper sparrow
movements and habitat use relative to land
management activities continued. Eleven grasshopper
sparrows were captured and color-marked on the Avon
Park U.S. Air Force Range in Highlands and Polk
counties. The birds were observed throughout the
breeding season. Individual activity spaces ranged
from 3.3 to 9.1 acres and averaged 5.8 acres. Features of
the vegetation were measured within each activity
space. Study results will be examined in light of
pasture management history and provide a basis for
management activities to benefit the Florida
grasshopper sparrow.

American Alligator An experimental harvest of
alligators continued for the ninth year on Orange,
Lochloosa and Newnans lakes to determine the effects
of sustained hunting on alligator populations. An
estimated 12.8 percent of the 4-foot and larger
population was harvested annually on those lakes from
1981-89. Population trends were monitored on harvest
lakes and a control area, Lake Woodruff, using night-
light surveys. No trends were detected in the
population of 4-foot and larger alligators on hunted
lakes but a significant increase was observed on Lake
Woodruff. Annual nest surveys indicated that nest
production was not affected on harvest areas, in spite
of a substantial harvest of adult females. Apparently,
recruitment into the adult size class was adequate to
sustain nest production under the applied harvest rate.
Stable clutch size and fertility rates observed from
1983-89 suggest that the size structure of the female
nesting population has not changed appreciably.
Growth rate studies on Orange and Newnans lakes
indicate female alligators attain maturity at about 13-
14 years of age.
Night-light surveys were conducted on 22 areas
throughout Florida as a continuing study, begun in






1974, to monitor statewide population trends. Counts
of adult (6-foot or longer) alligators increased
significantly during the mid to late 1970s as the result
of protection in the early 1970s. Since 1980, an
increasing trend was detected in the 1-foot or longer
size class but not the 4-foot or longer and 6-foot or
longer size classes. Increases were primarily in the
younger size classes, and probably represent
production resulting from the increasing adult
alligator population observed during the late 1970s.
Population densities of 1-foot or longer, 4-foot or
longer, and 6-foot or longer alligators, on
representative wetlands sampled throughout the state,
increased annually by 4.2, 3.5 and 7.5 percent,
respectively, over the 15-year period, 1974-89. In 1989,
mean densities of 1-foot or longer and 4-foot or longer
alligators on 17 permanent routes established in 1983
were 17.5 and 7.7 alligators per mile of shoreline,
respectively. These densities were well above minimum
thresholds of 7.9 and 3.7 alligators per mile established
by the 1984 Commission strategic plan.
Investigations continue into alligator population
estimation and inventory techniques through a
cooperative study by the Florida Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit (FCFWRU) and the
Commission's alligator research staff. Night-light
surveys traditionally have been used to monitor
population trends, but account for an uncertain
portion of the actual population. A technique whereby
alligators are captured and marked with paint then
"recaptured" by resighting from a helicopter appears
to provide a good population estimator with minimal
bias.
Population estimates using this technique were
compared to night-light counts to determine the
proportion of the population counted during a night
survey. Percentage of alligators observed during night-
light counts was 23-27 percent on Orange Lake and 15-
17 percent on Lake Woodruff. Multiple nest surveys
with different observers were conducted on lakes
Griffin, Jessup and Orange to estimate the proportion
of nests sighted during a normal nest survey.
Observability was 73 percent on Lake Griffin, 72
percent on Lake Jessup and 60 percent on Orange
Lake. As expected, observability appears to be
negatively affected by tree cover.
Researchers from the University of Florida
Department of Zoology are working in cooperation
with this agency and the FCFWRU to describe the
reproductive cycle of female alligators. Forty adult
female alligators were captured from May 1989 to June
1990. Blood samples were taken and the alligators were
sacrificed to provide reproductive tracts and plasma
samples for describing the reproductive cycle. Gross
morphological changes as well as microscopic cellular
changes of the reproductive tract were described and
correlated with blood plasma chemistry. Results from
this study will allow biologists to determine
reproductive status of female alligators from spring
blood samples and from reproductive tracts obtained
during annual hunts in September.
Twenty-four femurs from known-age American
alligators, dosed with oxytetracycline at pre-
determined intervals, were sectioned and processed for
examination of annual bone growth zones. This work is
designed to validate the use of bone growth zones as an


age determination technique. Femurs from 72 known-
age alligators ranging in age from five to 12 years were
sectioned and prepared as histological slides for
examination of erosion rates of medullary bone. As
alligators grow, calcium from the center of the shaft of
long bones is gradually eroded, mobilized in the
circulatory system and redeposited in other bones,
muscle or tissue. In the case of adult female alligators,
calcium from long bones is used to shell eggs.
Therefore, early bone tissue gradually disappears over
time. On Orange Lake, the rate of bone loss was one
zone per six years up to 12 years. Bone erosion rates
during pre-adult years can provide a coefficient with
which to adjust the number of observed growth zones
in femurs to determine actual age. At maturity, the
erosion rate increases and becomes erratic.
Alligator egg viability rates have been monitored by
the FCFWRU, in cooperation with the Commission, on
lakes Apopka, Griffin, Jessup, Okeechobee and
George, and on the Everglades Conservation Areas
since 1988. In 1989, 297 clutches of eggs were collected
yielding 12,954 eggs. The overall viability rate for all
areas was 45 percent in 1989 and was slightly higher
than in 1988. Lake Apopka had a significantly lower
viability rate (10 percent) than other areas.
Conservation Areas 3A and 2A had the highest viability
rate (67 percent). The viability rate on Lake George in
1989 was significantly lower than in 1988. Viability
rates of all other areas were relatively stable. Alligator
farmers participating in the study received
approximately 5,800 hatchlings resulting from the
study.

American Crocodile Several crocodiles are known
to have died in Florida Bay during the severe freeze
experienced in December 1989. Also, sightings of
crocodiles in Estero Bay (Lee County) were reduced by
about two thirds following the freeze. It may be several
years before the full effect of the freeze on Florida's
crocodile population can be assessed. Whereas the
number of crocodile nests recorded annually in
Florida had risen to about 30 in recent years, only 22
nests were recorded in 1990. It is too early to tell
whether this may have resulted from cold-associated
mortality of adult females.
On Key Largo, five crocodile nests were located in
1990, down only slightly from last year's six. However,
once again nest success was very poor. Although three
nests were found to have hatched during preliminary
surveys, only seven hatchlings were located. This marks
the fifth consecutive year in which hatching success on
Key Largo has been very low.

Reptiles and Amphibians Fifty-seven museums
were contacted and requested to provide inventories of
their holdings of Florida reptiles and amphibians.
Thirty-eight institutions have responded. Thus far, the
records from 24 museums have been reviewed and
entered into the database, which currently includes
7,431 records representing 20,340 specimens. These
data will be used to generate documented distribution
maps for each species of reptile and amphibian known
to occur in Florida. Preliminary occurrence
information was provided upon request from three
other agencies.
An audio-visual program was produced to provide
basic information on Florida's diverse reptile wildlife.






This program will be made available to the public
through the Office of Informational Services and the
regional offices.

Gopher Tortoise In response to an increasing
number of gopher tortoise/development conflicts,
considerable time during FY 89-90 was spent reviewing
tortoise relocation requests and assisting in the
preparation of a tortoise incidental take rule.
Additionally, one current and three proposed gopher
tortoise restocking sites on the rapidly urbanizing
southeast coast were visited in March 1990. Site
suitability was judged based on habitat type and size,
forage availability, current tortoise abundance,
security from development and long-term management
feasibility. Biological, financial and political factors
have compromised the potential of these sites.
Securing suitable gopher tortoise restocking sites is
becoming increasingly difficult.

NONGAME WILDLIFE
The Nongame Wildlife Program (NGWP) was
initiated in 1984 by the Florida Legislature to ensure
the conservation and management of all Florida
wildlife and their habitats. Nongame wildlife includes
those animals classified as neither game nor threatened
or endangered an estimated 570 species of wild
mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, plus
many times that number of invertebrates and plants.
These animals comprise 85 percent of the wildlife
found in the state and include herons, hawks, bats,
salamanders, songbirds, snakes, owls, and many more.
During FY 89-90, the Nongame Wildlife Section
(NGWS) conservation efforts were focused in seven
areas: research and education grants, survey and
population monitoring, urban wildlife management,
technical assistance, wildlife and habitat management,
data management, and "watchable wildlife" activities.
Research and Education Grants The Commission
depends on the expertise of scientists, educators and
resource managers outside the agency to help it achieve
its research, education and conservation goals. NGWS
grants provide an avenue by which outside experts can
seek support for significant projects that involve
nongame wildlife.
Since its inception, Florida's NGWS has sponsored 67
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
promote better understanding, appreciation and
preservation of Florida's unique wildlife heritage.
Fifty-five grant proposals and two requests for
additional funds for ongoing studies were received in
January 1989 for funding consideration by the
Nongame Wildlife Grants Program. 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. Four new projects were selected for
funding: the study of alligator snapping turtles,
southeastern kestrels, the Florida torreya (a rare
understory tree found only along the Apalachicola
River) and school campuses as wildlife habitats. In
addition, supplemental funds were approved for
ongoing studies of white-crowned pigeons and
Suwannee cooters.


26


Two projects were solicited through a Request for
Proposals (RFP) process to address specific needs
identified by NGWP staff. One project is a
compilation, review and synthesis of information
available on the biology and management of the
Florida apple snail. The synthesis will identify areas
where further research is needed, and help guide the
Commission in developing management plans for this
snail kite and limpkin prey species. The other project
is a study to determine if and how numbers of wildlife
species decrease in hardwood hammocks as a function
of hammock size. Development and agriculture often
result in formerly extensive forests being broken up
into smaller blocks. It is important to know how this
affects wildlife diversity and to consider these effects
in the process of regulating development.
Funding for the four new unsolicited and two new
solicited projects for FY 89-90 totalled $118,138. An
additional $368,539 was spent to support ongoing
grants. Total support for research for FY 89-90
amounted to $486,677.
In addition to coordinating the selection of new
projects, NGWS staff reviewed progress reports and
conducted site inspections for 22 ongoing research
projects.

Survey and Monitoring Progress continued toward
the NGWS goal of implementing a survey program for
poorly known nongame species in Florida. A pilot
survey aimed at developing an efficient, thorough and
standardized method for inventorying ground-dwelling
reptiles, amphibians and small mammals on localized
areas continued this fiscal year. Several trap designs
are being tested on six Commission wildlife
management areas. Data from these pilot surveys have
provided valuable occurrence records for several rare
reptiles. NGWS staff have been coordinating with
other state agencies to expand these surveys.
NGWS staff in the Commission's Northeast Region
initiated a study of Suwannee cooter populations on
the Suwannee River. The objective of this project is to
develop an effective method for tracking trends in
this, and potentially other, river turtle populations.
NGWS staff have been able to coordinate survey
needs with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
information needs. In cooperation with the USFWS,
staff initiated surveys for the rare Florida long-tailed
weasel in spring 1990.
Surveys for several rare and declining birds
continued in FY 89-90, including surveys for wintering
and breeding short-tailed hawks and counts of
American swallow-tailed kites at communal summer
roosts. A fourth year of data was collected on
development impacts on burrowing owl populations in
Lee County. The Commission coordinated a thorough
survey of least tern and black skimmer nesting sites in
northwest Florida in June 1990.
NGWS staff continued analysis and distribution of
data generated by the statewide survey of wading bird
colonies. An atlas of wading bird colony locations will
be published in FY 90-91. Staff continued its
involvement with the expanded annual Breeding Bird
Survey and significantly increased involvement in the
Breeding Bird Atlas project. These projects will
enhance greatly the ability to monitor trends in avian
populations at a statewide level.






Urban Wildlife Management The Cooperative
Urban Wildlife Management Program (CUWP) 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. At present, three full-
time wildlife extension specialists (urban wildlife
specialists) have offices in Gainesville, Largo and
Miami.
The CUWP was awarded The Wildlife Society's
prestigious Group Achievement Award in 1990. This
international award recognizes the group or
organization that has, in the eyes of wildlife
management professionals, made the most significant
contribution to wildlife conservation during the given
year.
In FY 89-90, CUWP staff worked primarily on the
first installment of the Wildlife Resources Handbook.
The handbook is designed to provide a compilation of
wildlife-related information to help county extension
office and Commission personnel effectively answer
the wide range of wildlife questions received from the
public.
Two 30-minute video tapes on butterfly gardening
and squirrels were produced by CUWP staff. These
videos are played by government access channels to a
potential audience of 6.5 million Floridians.
Other networking capabilities of IFAS information
services also were used on a regular basis. The urban
specialist was interviewed for 10 IFAS radio news spots
that are available to all stations in the state through a
free WATS line service. Five articles were written for
distribution to more than 300 media sources
(newspapers, radio and television stations) on topics
such as critters of the night, raccoons and squirrels.
On a local basis, CUWP staff were interviewed for
more than 30 news stories, responded to approximately
1,600 public and county agent requests for wildlife
information, wrote monthly articles in extension
service newsletters, and presented more than 50
programs to various groups on wildlife-related topics.
CUWP extension specialists conducted research on
the nesting success of least terns on rooftops, butterfly
use of an urban wildflower garden, use of bat houses
by Florida bats, bird use of aquatic vegetation in
urban lakes, and wildlife species diversity in hardwood
hammock fragments.

Technical Assistance NGWS staff provided
considerable technical assistance to regional and local
governments and private citizens on a variety of
nongame wildlife protection issues, such as the effects
of development on nongame wildlife and nongame
wildlife habitat needs.
Staff provided more than 390 man-days of technical
assistance in response to approximately 7,500 requests
on a wide variety of topics including general
information needs, legal questions regarding wildlife,
endangered species permit requests, bald eagle and
burrowing owl nest disturbance, and nuisance animal
complaints about snakes, bats, squirrels, armadillos
and others.

Wildlife and Habitat Management The
Commission has designated as Critical Wildlife Areas


(CWAs) 19 important wildlife nesting, feeding or
roosting sites that are susceptible to disturbance by
humans. In FY 89-90, three new sites were designated:
shorebird nesting colonies on the St. George Causeway
in Franklin County and on Pelican Shoal in Monroe
County, and a shorebird wintering area in Dade
County. The regional nongame wildlife biologists
helped post each CWA against trespass and monitored
wildlife use of the areas. The regional nongame
biologists also worked with local wildlife officers,
Commission reservists and volunteers to post many
shorebird and wading bird nesting sites that have not
been designated as CWAs.
Several management projects were conducted locally
to improve habitat for certain species. For example, in
the Northwest Region the regional nongame biologist
worked with the Department of Natural Resources and
the Department of Transportation to create nesting
habitat for shorebirds along the causeway leading to
St. George Island. NGWS biologists contributed to
management of several Commission 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.
In FY 89-90 the Commission adopted rules that
required commercial dealers of native Florida
amphibians and reptiles to file reports of their
transactions with the Commission. Commercial trade
in Florida reptiles and amphibians is extensive but
unregulated, leading to concern that some species may
be overexploited. NGWS staff worked with the
Commission, industry and private conservation groups
to develop the rule, and will compile and evaluate the
data generated.

Data Management FY 89-90 was a busy one for
NGWS data management efforts. A concerted effort
was made to incorporate all NGWS survey and
monitoring data into the wildlife observation data
base. At the end of this fiscal year, this data base
contained information on more than 7,000 important
wildlife locations statewide, and a companion set of
maps showing the position of each site.
Management efforts also were increased for the
nongame wildlife library data base. This data base
contains citations for more than 7,500 publications
relating to the management and conservation of
nongame resources that are in Commission libraries
statewide. Staff currently are increasing this data base
by 1,400 entries annually.

Watchable WildlifeNGWS staff continued to assist
other division staff with watchable wildlife projects on
the Corbett, Guana River and Bull Creek WMAs.
These projects will provide enhanced wildlife viewing
opportunities for the public on these management
areas. As in prior years, NGWS personnel made
numerous presentations to public groups on wildlife
issues and recreational opportunities. In FY 89-90,
more than 160 man-days were invested in these kinds
of activities.

















































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 agencies.
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
some of the activities enjoyed on these lands by
Floridians and tourists. Environmentally endangered
land- are patrolled to protect the state's most delicate
antd vulnerable flora and Inlina The division also
nsit.s other public agenCrie, concerned with
con er at ion and t hte enforcement of Florida's
enr rolnmental lawo






Uniformed Law
Enforcement Patrol Wildlife officers provide
conservation patrol for Florida's 37 million acres. The
traditional wildlife officer's role continues to expand.
As Florida grows in population, more manpower and
resources must be devoted to environmental law
enforcement and boating safety.
There are more than 700,000 boats registered in the
state. The increasing number of outdoor enthusiasts
using the state's waterways has had a significant impact
on the division's boating safety program. Higher use
demands an increased law enforcement presence. This
fiscal year, the legislature responded by funding 14
additional law enforcement positions for boating
safety law enforcement. The division acquired seven
high-profile boats to intensify water patrol efforts.
Wildlife officers issued 5,666 boating-related citations
and 7,037 warnings in FY 89-90.
Environmental law enforcement became one of the
top priorities this period. The division created
environmental law enforcement teams consisting of a
lieutenant and seven investigators in each of the five
regions. The division filled these positions without
hiring any additional personnel by taking the 40
existing sergeants out of line supervision and assigning
them the primary responsibility of enforcing
environmental regulations.
Environmental law violations may pose the most
serious threat to the survival of native fish and wildlife
resources. The workload in this area is staggering. In
the past year, officers made 1,850 arrests for
environmental law offenses, including 230 for felony
violations, issued 710 warnings and answered 1,150
complaints.
On May 8,1990, the Governor and Cabinet officially
recognized this agency's environmental efforts. The
Cabinet issued a proclamation recognizing the
Commission as the lead agency for criminal
enforcement of the state's environmental laws. 29
Other new programs included a pilot project to test
the uses of canines in wildlife law enforcement with an
emphasis on wildlife detection and human tracking. By
training canines to detect wildlife, they can locate
game in vehicles and vessels much faster than an
officer can. They also can be helpful in recovering
illegally taken game left in hunting areas.
A canine trained to track people is an asset in
checking suspicious vehicles, apprehending suspects
who flee a crime scene, and assisting in search and
rescue missions.
The division selected two officers with prior
experience in training and handling canines to begin
this year's project. Public interest and acceptance has
been outstanding. Seven additional canines and
handlers will be added to the program. The new teams
will attend a 12-week training school organized and
coordinated by the two original handlers.
This year, the division placed a high priority on
protecting endangered and threatened species. The
unprecedented population growth and habitat
destruction in the state is pressuring all wildlife, but it
is especially threatening to rare species. Many of the
division's specialized enforcement programs target
protection for endangered wildlife. For example, the
"panther speed zones" maintained on Alligator Alley
continue to help protect this vulnerable species. In FY






The division's 2-way communications system is the lifeline
for wildlife officers in the field. Technicians maintain 3,900
pieces of equipment.


89-90, officers devoted 5,285 hours to protection of
endangered and threatened species and made 282
related arrests.
The Uniformed Law Enforcement Patrol responded
to a total of 8,953 complaints and issued 20,174
citations and 13,315 written warnings this fiscal year.
They worked more than 578,208 hours and checked
607,728 outdoor users.

In lestigationil This section conducts overt and
covert criminal and administrative investigations. The
investigators who serve in the covert section act as the
agency's undercover team. The division uses
undercover tactics when uniformed officers are unable
to deal effectively with wildlife crime situations.
The remaining investigators serve in the overt unit.
These plainclothes investigators' primary
responsibility is to support the uniformed patrol
officer. They aid officers by performing wildlife blood
analyses, interviewing witnesses, taking statements
from defendants and processing evidence.
One investigator in each region now serves as the
regional intelligence officer, developing and compiling
intelligence information for distribution to patrol
officers. This approach allows field personnel to
concentrate equipment and manpower in problem
areas.

Aviation Section Airborne law enforcement
coverage of rural and wilderness areas provides patrol,
surveillance and search and rescue capabilities.
Aircraft allow officers to patrol a vast area in a short
time and maintain constant contact with ground law
enforcement units. Pilots then can direct officers to
problem areas via the most expedient route.
The Aviation Section has eight full-time pilots who
operate eight aircraft, including four Cessna 172s, one
Cessna 182, two Bell JetRanger III helicopters and a
Partenavia P-68. This fiscal year pilots participated in
checking more than 14,000 wildlife resource users and
aided in 471 arrests and 237 warnings. Division pilots
logged more than 3,200 hours of total flight time.
This section also aided other divisions in conducting
studies and surveys. Data collection on endangered and
threatened species continued through aerial tracking
of Florida panthers and black bears. Pilots helped in
population studies of bald eagles, sandhill cranes and
colonial nesting birds. The Aviation Section also aided
the Office of Environmental Services in the LANDSAT
Satellite Mapping Project.
Commission aircraft continued to support domestic
marijuana eradication and search-and-rescue missions
for lost or overdue outdoor users.
The Aviation Section replaced two fixed-wing
aircraft this year. A 1985 Cessna 182 replaced the 1970
Cessna 182 aircraft, and a 1983 Partenavia P-68
replaced a 1980 Piper Aerostar aircraft. The Partenavia
is a twin-engine, high-wing, fixed landing gear aircraft
especially suited for conservation law enforcement and
wildlife missions. The aircraft has excellent
observation features, a seven-hour patrol range and
slow flight characteristics.
Pilots are available around the clock, scheduled
according to seasonal needs.
This year the Aviation Section equipped the
Everglades Region helicopter with a Spectrolab
Nightsun (30 million candle power) spotlight. This






spotlight gives the helicopter increased capability for
law enforcement and search and rescue missions. In
addition, the Aviation Section added dual flight
controls to the South Region helicopter, allowing for
in-house helicopter flight training for increased pilot
safety.

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 a day, seven days a week.
Duty officers are available to handle incoming toll-free
telephone calls for citizens reporting violations and
wildlife-related problems.
After several years of preparing for a multi-agency
800 MHz radio communications system, a pilot project
is in the implementation stage in Dade, Monroe and
Broward counties. This system will enhance radio
reliability and provide state officers with the
capability of interagency communications.
As the agency's mission grows, maintenance
responsibilities increase. With additional equipment
obtained to equip new positions, the 10 technicians
must maintain 3,900 items of equipment. They
performed 3,100 repair services and 510 new
equipment installations this fiscal year.

Wildlife Inspections Wildlife inspectors regulate
Florida's wildlife trade. They inspect zoos, game farms,
tropical fish farms, wildlife importers, alligator farms,
venomous reptile dealers, personal pet owners, pet
shops, private hunting preserves and falconers. The
inspectors' role is to be sure such facilities comply with
state and federal laws governing their operations.
Almost 8,000 entities or persons sell or possess wildlife
in Florida. Although there are only nine field
inspectors available to regulate these enterprises,
several areas showed an increase in productivity.
This fiscal year inspectors made 3,824 inspections of
commercial and private establishments. These
inspections included 426 wildlife exhibits (an increase
of 11 percent over FY 88-89), 484 pet shops and 428
personal pet owners. Inspectors investigated 535
wildlife-related complaints and made 763 arrests and
warnings an increase of 47 percent over last year.
Inspectors inventoried 93,960 alligators in captivity
at various farms and exhibits this year (a 25 percent
increase over last year's inventory).
Inspectors developed several new law enforcement
projects this year, including the checking of
botanicass" in south Florida. Botanicas specialize in
the sale of wildlife and animal products for the
Santeria religion. Inspectors made 126 arrests and
warnings and seized more than 1,000 parts of protected
wildlife in botanicas in FY 89-90.

Training and Records The Bureau of Training
and Records selects wildlife officer candidates and
conducts basic recruit and in-service training for the
division. The workload of the records section includes
storage, retrieval and analysis of the division's
citations, complaints, budget and correspondence. This
bureau also includes the Boating Safety and Wildlife
Reserve programs.
The top training task this year was the State Wildlife
Officer Training Academy's 20th basic recruit school.
The new 800-hour curriculum began in January, and 37


new officers graduated in May. The rookie officers
then entered eight weeks of field training to polish
their skills under the supervision of veteran officers.
After testing and evaluation, the division decided to
replace the standard issue revolver with the Smith &
Wesson, Model 5906, 9mm auto pistol. The change to
the auto pistol was optional, but the training was
mandatory. After the training, 100 percent of the
officers chose to switch to semi-automatics.
The division retired all old issue pump shotguns and
replaced them with new shoulder weapons that are
more versatile and effective. The division selected the
Beretta, Model 1200 F, semi-automatic, 12-gauge
shotgun. Outfitted with nylon slings, these weapons are
a welcome addition. According to the Beretta
company, this is the first state conservation agency in
the nation to select the auto shotgun for full duty use.
The division recertified 160 First Responders this
year and certified 25 additional officers in these
lifesaving skills.
To prevent accidents and injuries, the bureau
developed a refresher safety course for operating
three-wheel, off-road, all-terrain vehicles. Much has
been written about the inherent dangers of these
vehicles, and the problems associated with them are
usually operator error. All officers using these
machines received the training this year.
The training staff also conducted a sixth boating
accident investigators school this year. The division
now has 64 specially trained and equipped boating
accident investigators probably more than any state
in the nation. Recent boating accident statistics have
shown an increase over last year, requiring the training
of additional boating accident investigators.

Wildlife Reserve The Wildlife Reserve Program
provides volunteers to aid in all Commission projects.
This year, members of the Reserve donated 50,682
hours to the Commission equivalent to the hours
worked by nearly 28 full-time employees. There are 227
members statewide, 164 of whom are certified as law
enforcement officers.
Two reservists were recognized this year for having
been with the Commission's Wildlife Reserve for 21
years.

Boating Safety This year the division intensified its
efforts to take the boating safety message to the public
through a variety of methods. Officers used the
boating safety powerboat, Green Thunder, in static
displays throughout the state and in active water
patrol, reaching an audience of 1,500,000 individuals.
As a visual reminder, the division displayed its boating
safety poster on 100 billboards throughout Florida.
The poster emphasizes that safe boating is no accident.
The division's newest poster urges boaters always to
wear their life jackets.
The division printed the Florida Boater's Guide, a
comprehensive handbook on safety afloat. Public
service announcements, news releases and live
broadcasts were used extensively to urge boaters to
observe all safety precautions while enjoying the
outdoors.
Statewide, there were 1,045 boating accidents this
year, resulting in 488 injuries and 91 fatalities.



























































The mnlion oj the Office of Environmental Services
(OE1I i. tio aott irn the maintenance and enhancement
oI Ilih and wildlife habitat, because without adequate
habitat, Flortda diverse fish and wildlife resources
could not exist. By monitoring and reacting to a wide
range of development and resource management
problems, OES seeks to reduce unnecessary human
cultural impact to the fish and wildlife resources of
F lorida






Habitat Impact Assessment The purpose of this
program is to encourage the maximum consideration
of fish and wildlife factors in the review of
development activities by federal, state and local
regulatory or planning agencies. OES 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 sites. By
incorporating habitat considerations into the planning
and regulation of development activities, impacts to
fish and wildlife resources can be avoided or mitigated.
OES continued to devote considerable time to the
review of Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) this
year with a view toward protecting upland wildlife
resources that may not be adequately protected
through other regulatory programs. Where resources
could not be preserved within the context of the
proposed development, OES biologists attempted to
have off-site areas set aside as mitigation for the
particular species being impacted. An example of on-
site preservation gained through these efforts is the
Hunters Ridge DRI in Flagler County, where 340 acres
of upland habitat were preserved. Similarly, in Sumter
County 82 acres of modified sandhill habitat were
preserved and will be managed on site for burrowing
owls and southeastern kestrels on the Orange Blossom
Gardens-West DRI. Some 300 acres of golf courses
adjacent to the property will complement the preserve
areas by providing additional kestrel foraging habitat.
In cases where on-site wildlife habitat protection is
not possible, OES biologists attempt to negotiate for
the preservation of off-site habitat by having the
developer purchase additional lands for mitigation, or
contribute toward the acquisition of regional wildlife
mitigation parks. Examples include the River Club
DRI of Palm Coast, where 76 acres were purchased as
an addition to the Favor Dykes State Park; the Yulee
Woods DRI in Nassau County, which contributed to
the preservation of 42 acres of sandhill habitat within
the Northeast Mitigation Park; and the Holland
Springs DRI in Hernando County, which will preserve
almost 74 acres of sandhills within the Withlacoochee
Mitigation Park.
Other significant DRIs that required considerable
attention this year included the Orlando International
Airport Fourth Runway; the Viera DRI in Brevard
County (where the applicant has agreed to preserve 106
acres on site for scrub jays and gopher tortoises); and
the Fernandina International Tradeplex DRI in
Nassau County, which contributed toward the off-site
protection of 17 acres of sandhill habitat in the
Northeast Mitigation Park.
This year OES reviewed several large agricultural
projects for which water management district permits
were required. After the St. Johns River Water
Management District denied the original permit
application for the 2,830-acre Delta Farms Water
Control District in the Upper St. Johns River basin,
Delta Farms proposed constructing a storm water
retention-irrigation reservoir in wetlands on its
property. This modification was closer to OES
recommendations on the previous application but
required further revision to make the reservoir
shallower and much larger.


Vero Beach OES personnel conducted habitat
assessments of the Army Corps of Engineers Upper St.
Johns River Project in Indian River County. Although
the net effect of this project will be beneficial for fish
and wildlife resources, OES staff has observed massive
fish kills and snail kite nesting failure due to
construction activities combined with agricultural
irrigation withdrawals.
In addition, through review of agricultural
development permits in southwest Florida, OES
biologists negotiated habitat preserves for the Florida
panther in Hendry and Collier counties, burrowing owl
in Hendry County, Florida scrub jay in Collier County,
and red-cockaded woodpecker in Charlotte County.
Other significant habitat assessment work included
the Hardee Power Station and its associated
transmission line which will impact the Cecil Webb
Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County; the
Levee-Midway 500kv power line in southeast Florida;
the Magnetic Levitation Demonstration Project in
Orange County; the Army Corps of Engineers
navigation maintenance project on the Apalachicola
River (including Corps proposals to remove snags from
the Chipola River and to physically armor the bank of
the Apalachicola River at Browns Lake); the Miracle
Parkway road corridor in Cape Coral, where a habitat
preserve for burrowing owls was established; the
Homosassa Wastewater Treatment Plant Upland
Sprayfield Site, where 33 acres of sandhill habitat will
be preserved and managed for listed species; and the
West Volusia Beltway, where a 50-acre scrub preserve
was established adjacent to the highway as mitigation
for scrub jay impacts.
Nongame Habitat Protection The Nongame Habitat
Protection section of OES is supported solely by the
Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund. Its responsibility is to
plan and implement programs designed to protect the
habitats of nongame species of wildlife. This section is
currently active in five major program areas:
Habitat protection in the Florida Keys,
Development of habitat protection guidelines for
use on lands slated for development,
Designing a statewide land acquisition plan for
wildlife habitat,
Providing image processing and geographic
information system technical assistance to Commission
staff, the public, and other state and federal agencies,
and
Coordination with other sections of the Nongame
Wildlife Program.

The Nongame Habitat Protection section employs a
full-time biologist dedicated to protecting wildlife
habitat in the rapidly growing Florida Keys. Major
aspects of this job include reviewing state and federal
dredge and fill permit applications for impacts on fish
and wildlife resources and providing comments to
Monroe County on specific land development
proposals. During FY 89-90 the Keys biologist assisted
federal agencies administering the Coastal Barrier
Resources Act, served as a member of the North Key
Largo State Lands Management Plan Committee,
reviewed and commented on proposed revisions to the
Monroe County land use plan, and developed
recommendations concerning site selection of a series
of new radio towers in Monroe County.


33







The Keys biologist also participated in ad hoc citizen
conservation groups working on boating impacts in the
Florida Keys, water quality issues and protection of
Key deer habitat. Expert testimony on wildlife
resources in the Keys was provided on the Big Pine
Key Focal Point Plan, the North Key Largo Habitat
Conservation Plan, landfill site selection in Monroe
County, and at administrative hearings concerning
major development projects in the Keys. Assistance was
provided to other Commission staff and the Florida
Audubon Society regarding the designation of Pelican
Shoals as a Critical Wildlife Area and posting the
island to protect nesting roseate terns.
In order to provide better habitat protection
recommendations to regulatory agencies and local
governments charged with the review of large-scale
developments, particularly DRIs, the Nongame Habitat
Protection section has one full-time biologist devoted
to writing habitat protection guidelines for species
sensitive to development impacts. During FY 89-90,
guidelines for the protection of scrub jay habitat on
developing lands were nearing completion, and
publication is expected in FY 90-91. In addition, work
continued on drafting new guidelines for protection of
southeastern kestrel habitat.
Beginning in FY 87-88, the Nongame Habitat
Protection section embarked on a five-year project to
develop a habitat protection plan for meeting the long-
term conservation needs of all species of Florida
wildlife. The project involved the use of LANDSAT
satellite imagery to map wildlife habitats statewide
during the first three years. The final two years of the
project will be devoted to using habitat maps, maps of
public lands and wildlife data to identify specific tracts
of land that should be acquired.
During FY 89-90, LANDSAT-based habitat maps
were completed for the South Florida, North Central
Florida, Apalachee and West Florida regional planning
34 councils. These were the last areas of the state to be
mapped in the three-year mapping project. By the end
of the fiscal year the Commission had a complete set of
wildlife habitat maps for the entire state.
To determine which Florida habitats should be
protected, population viability analyses and habitat
searches were completed for gopher tortoises, sandhill
cranes, black bears, bobcats, fox squirrels, wild
turkeys, Florida panthers, scrub jays, snowy plovers
and red-cockaded woodpeckers in the southern half of
the peninsula. Digital maps of public lands in this area
were also prepared to determine which wildlife
habitats are already protected from development.
Preliminary project results were presented to a variety
of conservation and professional groups.
Another major program area for the Nongame
Habitat Protection staff is providing image processing
and geographic information system (GIS) technical
assistance to Commission employees, other public
agencies and private individuals. During FY 89-90 staff
responded to numerous data requests by providing
both hard copy and digital wildlife habitat maps to
various users. Staff also represented the Commission in
an advisory capacity to the Growth Management Data
Network Coordinating Council. New GIS software was
received and installed, and work began on developing
a statewide GIS data base to provide better technical
support for fish and wildlife resource management.


Finally, Nongame Habitat Protection staff
coordinated section operations with other Nongame
Wildlife Program staff and provided technical
assistance to Commission biologists, other agency staff
and the public on the habitat protection needs of
Florida wildlife. Major accomplishments in this
program area during FY 89-90 included participation
in the review and selection of research proposals
submitted for funding by the Nongame Wildlife
Program, attending Nongame Wildlife Advisory
Council meetings and keeping the council abreast of
section activities, giving talks designed to educate the
public on habitat protection needs of Florida wildlife,
and providing technical assistance to the public on a
variety of nongame wildlife issues.

Habitat Restoration
Technical Assistance This program is intended 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.
OES biologists provide input to the Department of
Natural Resources for its mine reclamation program.
Staff reviewed 153 mandatory reclamation applications
and 19 nonmandatory program applications this year
for phosphate mines in central Florida. A favorable
review by this agency and adherence to its
recommendations now are required for Bureau of
Mine Reclamation (BMR) approval of any
nonmandatory program application that targets fish
and wildlife habitat.
OES biologists also provided research assistance to
the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR)
serving on the Hydrology Advisory Committee. Work
involved oversight of eight research projects, review
and approval of reclamation-related grant requests,
and identification of research priorities. Assistance was
also provided to the University of Florida Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences and School of Forest
Resources and Conservation in two symposia in which
habitat reclamation papers were presented.
Assistance was given to the Central Florida Regional
Planning Council and the Audubon Society in their
Regional Study of Land Use Planning and
Reclamation. Because of this involvement, the final
report highlighted shortcomings in upland forest and
rangeland reclamation and pointed out the need for
improvement in regional and system-level planning.
Staff also developed and led a two-day workshop
covering wildlife habitat systems reclamation on
Florida phosphate lands which was jointly sponsored
by the Commission, BMR and FIPR and attracted
broad participation by the general public, the industry
and its regulators.
The scrub reclamation project being conducted in
association with the International Mineral and
Chemicals Corp. was continued this year. Activities
included monitoring the six vegetation study plots,
conducting a systematic plant species survey,
performing a topsoil depth survey, completing the
Xeric Habitat Restoration Demonstration Project







Annual Report, and developing a final report outline
and a work plan for the remainder of the project.
Work also continued on the Kissimmee River
Restoration Project aerial surveys for wading birds and
waterfowl. A final report titled Effects of the
Kissimmee River Pool B Restoration Demonstration
Project on Ciconiiformes and Anseriformes is currently
in preparation.
In addition, the third year of the Florida scrub jay
field studies were completed. Between 350 and 400
scrub jays in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Polk
counties were banded and color marked, and double
brooding, productivity, nest site characteristics and
other reproductive parameters were documented.

Technical Assistance It is the intent of this
program to enhance habitat protection and restoration
by providing technical input on fish and wildlife to
county planners, county administrators, developers,
consultants, other state agencies, regional planning
councils, water management districts and others. By
providing this information at the early stages of
project planning, impacts to fish and wildlife can be
prevented or minimized before project plans become
final.
The establishment and expansion of regional
wildlife mitigation parks continued to be a major
thrust of the technical assistance program this year.
More than $383,000 was directed toward the
acquisition of lands within the Northeast and
Withlacoochee mitigation parks from DRI
development orders in these regions. Also, the first
parcels within these parks were acquired and title
transferred to the Commission this year 250 acres of
listed species habitat within the Northeast Mitigation
Park and 140 acres within the Withlacoochee
Mitigation Park. OES personnel coordinated with the
East Central Florida and Tampa Bay regional planning
councils to initiate mitigation park programs in these
regions. In addition, technical assistance was provided
to Volusia County to help establish a county scrub
mitigation bank on a 400-acre tract near Deltona.
Reviewing local and regional comprehensive plans
and providing additional technical assistance to county
governments and regional planning councils consumed
considerable time again this year. Comprehensive plan
reviews were conducted for Jefferson, Wakulla, Leon,
Escambia, Duval, St. Johns, Levy, Dixie, Charlotte,
Martin, Volusia and Taylor counties' comprehensive
plans, as well as for the Withlacoochee Comprehensive
Regional Policy Plan Evaluation Report. Continued
emphasis was placed on Franklin County under its
designation as an Area of Critical State Concern, and a
number of specific ordinances were reviewed for
consistency with environmental standards established
by the Legislature. Ordinances receiving particular
scrutiny included one changing land use designations
on Dog Island, and another modifying the Franklin
County Comprehensive Plan to accommodate the
Green Point Development.
OES continued its active participation on the
Subcommittee on Managed Marshes of the Governor's
Working Group on Mosquito Control, which is the
primary advisory group on Department of
Environmental Regulation permits involving salt
marsh management. A variety of projects were
reviewed this year, and a pro-active program was


adopted for developing improved management of
mosquito control impoundments via SWIM funding
from the water management districts.
A variety of other technical assistance activities were
conducted this year. OES personnel reviewed the
Department of Community Affairs Upland Habitat
Rule and provided recommendations directed toward
enhancing its habitat protection provisions.
Regarding the Cross Florida Barge Canal, OES
reviewed and coordinated agency responses to Corps of
Engineers proposed management plans for lands
encompassed within the completed and uncompleted
sections of the barge canal, corrected inaccuracies and
supplied additional information on biological
resources and management alternatives, and provided
agency recommendations to the Florida Defenders of
the Environment for modifying proposed legislation
pertaining to the deauthorization of the federal
project and the disposition and management of the
barge canal lands.
OES biologists served on the Florida Rivers
Assessment Technical Advisory Committee
coordinating agency input and providing information
regarding significant biological resources associated
with rivers included in the Florida Research and
Environmental Analysis Center study. Technical
assistance was provided to the Technical Advisory
Committee for the Regional Citrus Study by the South
Florida Water Management District which will include
an analysis of the impacts of rapid citrus conversion in
south Florida on wildlife such as the Florida panther,
Florida black bear, Florida sandhill crane and
caracara. In addition, OES assisted the Hillsborough
County Parks and Recreation staff in identifying listed
species concerns and writing management plans for
wildlife on county-owned lands purchased under its
local environmental land acquisition program.
Environmental Services personnel also provided
input to a variety of committees including the
Commission on the Future of Florida's Environment,
the Myakka River Coordinating Council, the Charlotte
Harbor SWIM Committee, the Land Acquisition
Advisory Council, the Interagency Management
Committee, the Spoil Site Advisory Committee, the
Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Committee, the
Econlockhatchee River Task Force, the OrlandoOrange
County Expressway Authority Environmental Advisory
Group, the Reclamation Advisory Committee, the Lake
Jackson Action Team, the Apalachee Regional
Planning Council Technical Review Committee and the
Marine Advisory/Narrows Watershed Action
Committee for the Indian River Lagoon SWIM
Program.




















































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 Hunter Education, Project WILD,
Nongame Wildlife Education, FLORIDA WILDLIFE
magazine, numerous educational and informational
brochures, and news media relations.


,'ff






Audio-Visual The Audio-Visual Section strives to
utilize the latest technology to communicate the
Commission's messages to the public. The acquisition
this fiscal year of a desktop publishing system (a
Macintosh IIcx computer) provided the capability for
scanning and manipulating photographs and graphics,
printing on laser printers and plotters, and generating
color slides.
During FY 89-90, the A/V Section produced covers
for publications and technical reports, graphics and
color slides for presentations, and slide programs with
the new equipment. Other projects included captions
for exhibit photographs, logos, charts and headers for
newsletters.
The electronic media, specifically radio and
television, are effective means of communicating to
large audiences about Commission activities. A two-
minute news video featuring the Law Enforcement
division director discussing boating safety was
distributed to TV stations statewide.
The video Largemouth Bass Research in Florida was
completed and is being used extensively by
Commission personnel. Enough copies were made so
that these tapes can be loaned to the public
nationwide. The Sportfishing Institute Newsletter and
the American Fisheries Society Diary provided readers
with the Commission's address so copies could be
requested. To date, more than 30 copies have been
requested by scientists, fisheries biologists and
educators. Another video, titled Lake Restoration, was
produced and distributed to Commission staff. This
video covers restoration techniques and highlights
several of the Commission's lake restoration projects.
Film companies and national and local television
stations working on wildlife and conservation subjects
used raw footage of alligators and Florida panthers
produced by the A/V Section.
Radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs), both
live and recorded, were sent to 240 radio stations
throughout Florida on topics such as the mandatory
1991 hunter education certification requirement.
Other subjects included: Wildlife Alert -
Environmental Pollution, Hunter Education Hunter
Education Is For Everyone, boating safety Free
Boating Course and Life Preservers Save Lives, a
fishing promotion School's Out! and two PSAs aimed
at both resident and nonresident fishermen and
boaters about the need for a Florida fishing license
and proper boating safety equipment. Recorded and
live PSAs were produced on National Fishing Week
and the Commission's Free Fishing Weekend. More
than 40 live PSAs were sent to radio stations in various
locations in the state to announce hunter education
and bow hunting class schedules.
Slide programs on 33 subject areas are available for
Commission staff to use throughout the state. Two new
slide programs were completed during the year. The
Triploid Grass Carp was prepared to assist groups and
individuals with aquatic plant problems in their lakes
and ponds. To aid county commissioners around the
state in dealing with lake pollution, the A/V staff
produced a slide program titled Responsible Aquatic
Management.
The exhibit on the Florida panther, completed last
year, continues to be a very popular means of bringing
attention to plight of the state animal. Its popularity


has generated interest from other agencies, such as the
National Park Service and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, which have purchased several copies. The
boating safety exhibit, also produced last year by the
A/V Section, has been updated with new photographs
and captions to keep abreast of new boating safety
developments.
Photographs, both black-and-white prints and color
slides, were provided to Commission staff for
presentations and to accompany news releases sent to
statewide newspapers. FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine
used many A/V photographs for its stories. More than
150 publications are produced each year by the
Publications Section and many of the printed booklets,
pamphlets and other printed materials use A/V
photographs. As always, this section prides itself in
being able to assist other state agencies, schools, book
publishers and newspapers with photographs of fish,
wildlife and Commission activities.

News and
Information Services This section is responsible for
communicating information about Commission
programs and activities. Writers do so through news
media and through personalized responses to requests
for information.
During FY 89-90, 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
world.
Through the use of computers in Tallahassee and the
regional offices, this section has the ability to keep
pace with fast-breaking news involving the
Commission. News releases are transmitted
electronically to editors and news directors across
Florida 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.
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 71 written news releases of statewide,
national or international interest. Another 399 news
releases of regional interest were produced and
distributed locally by information specialists 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.
Special and regular public relations projects
concerning Florida panthers, spring and summer
fishing, the Commission's youth conservation camps,
the Wildlife Alert Program, alligators, hunting
regulations and Commission meetings continued.
All six offices responded to thousands of telephone


37







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 more than 300 written
responses and packets containing pamphlets and
brochures.
In addition, regional information personnel
delivered 207 speeches and presentations concerning a
variety of outdoor topics. Regional personnel prepared
and manned 36 exhibits at fairs and similar events.
Some of these exhibits were viewed by nearly 1 million
individuals.
OIS logged more than 369 television appearances and
radio interviews and programs during FY 89-90.
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.

FLORIDA WILDLIFE Magazine FLORIDA
WILDLIFE produced a thematic issue dedicated to
fishing this spring the magazine's first special issue.
The March-April 1990 magazine covered timely topics
such as mercury in fish and wildlife, lake drawdowns,
restoration efforts and other ongoing fisheries
projects, as well as articles on fishing techniques.
FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine was recognized this
year by the Association for Conservation Information
as one of the top 10 state conservation magazines in the
nation. "Responsible Wildlife Watching," an article on
ethical behavior, won the national Izaak Walton
League award for Best Print Feature Story. In
addition, the publication won awards in the state
magazine association competition.
The magazine provides factual articles about game
and freshwater fish to inform sportsmen of regulatory
changes and the Commission's management mission.
Articles on nongame and endangered species help
make Floridians aware of the timely, complex
conservation problems facing our state. Numerous
educational articles about water quality, boating
safety, habitat restoration, safe hunting practices, land
management, wildlife populations and research efforts
inform the public of the "delicate balance" of human
and wildlife interaction.
Recent features have included a catch-and-release
article that appeared in one issue and later was
reproduced as part of a series of educational fisheries
pamphlets. A two-part article on the basics of bird
watching also was first published in the magazine and
later reprinted as a brochure. The "What Have You
Done For Wildlife Lately?" nongame wildlife theme
was introduced in the magazine.
In an ongoing effort to provide current scientific
information about endangered species, "Delicate
Balance" columns and feature articles were published
about Florida's rare fish, Audubon's crested caracara,
the southeastern American kestrel, Key deer, Florida
black bear, gopher frog, red wolf and red-cockaded
woodpecker.

Publications Keeping the public up to date on rules
and regulations by means of printed materials is one of
the responsibilities of the Publications Section. This
section produces hunting and fishing regulations and
wildlife management area maps, aiding thousands of


sportsmen who participate in these activities.
The Publications Section also creates brochures,
posters and other materials of an informational nature
on a variety of subjects including how to identify the
tracks of various animals and laws protecting the
gopher tortoise. New publications produced this fiscal
year included an educational bulletin on catch-and-
release bass fishing and a poster warning of the perils
of releasing exotic species. This section assists the other
divisions at all stages in the production of materials -
from design, to soliciting bids for printing jobs, to
dealing with printers.
The section also produces many in-house
publications, such as forms, charts, training materials
and the employees' newsletter.

EDUCATION The Commission's education efforts
include operation of two youth conservation camps,
the Hunter Education Program, the Nongame Wildlife
Education Program and Project WILD.

Youth Conservation Camps The Commission's
youth conservation camps at Ocala and West Palm
Beach operate for eight, one-week sessions each
summer for boys and girls between the ages of eight
and 14. The camps and their instructional programs
are structured to promote increased awareness and
appreciation of wildlife, its management and
conservation, and to teach responsible use of natural
resources.
During this year, the two camps drew a total
attendance of 1,532 youngsters. Nearly 400 children
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, the overall effectiveness of the program
is 8.6 and the quality of the camp activities is 8.2. Of
the parents who responded to the survey, 96 percent
said they would send their children again. Respondents
totaled slightly less than half the parents who received
the surveys.
During the off-season, youth camp facilities are
available for use by Commission staff and a number of
conservation organizations for meetings, conferences
and workshops. Local schools utilize the camps as a day
field trip site and occasionally overnight programming.
Project WILD/Outdoor Adventure and Hunter
Education workshops, offered by the Commission, take
place regularly at the camps.

Nongame Wildlife Education The Nongame
Wildlife Program was established when the 1983
Florida Legislature passed a bill creating the Nongame
Wildlife Trust Fund and a nine-member Nongame
Wildlife Advisory Council. One of the primary
components of the program's first plan of operation
was education. OIS houses the education section of the
Nongame Wildlife Program. The overriding mission of
the program is two-fold. First, to maintain or restore
the richness and natural diversity of Florida's native
nongame wildlife. And second, to create a coordinated
and integrated approach to nongame conservation and
management. Education plays a key role in attainment
of both goals.






During FY 89-90, the nongame education staff was
involved in many aspects of informing and educating
the public about Florida's nongame wildlife resources.
The program began with a full staff, including the
coordinator, five regional education specialists, two
half-time graphics artists, a half-time secretary and the
Project WILD coordinator. By the end of the year,
after several personnel changes, three regional
education specialist positions remained vacant. One of
those positions was deleted by the legislature. The
other two positions will be filled in FY 90-91.
During this fiscal year, staff made 94 presentations
to more than 8,600 Floridians. Subjects included bats,
shorebirds, wood storks, kestrels, reptiles, endangered
species, Project WILD, Earth Day, wildlife habitat and
environmental education. In addition to these
presentations, nongame education personnel were
involved in 14 workshops for 560 educators, covering
topics such as Project WILD and how to build a
backyard habitat for wildlife.
Public exhibits are another important means of
interacting and distributing wildlife information. The
staff set up and maintained 18 exhibits statewide that
reached an estimated 6,810 persons. Additionally, the
"What Have You Done For Wildlife Lately?" exhibit
was viewed again this year by more than 600,000
individuals at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.
Nongame education staff also were involved in many
types of media presentations about wildlife.
Participation involved seven radio spots, eight
television spots, 10 newspaper articles and four
magazine articles. Topics covered included Florida
panthers, Earth Day 1990, wood storks, wildlife
habitat, the Nongame Wildlife Education program and
shorebirds.


Nongame education projects continue to produce
exciting materials used by many Floridians. Florida's
Animated Alphabet wildlife coloring book was
reprinted this year and more than 100,000 were
distributed. Three posters, the Animated Alphabet
poster, Burrowing Owl poster and Black Skimmer
poster, were requested by many people. The
Burrowing Owl and Black Skimmer posters are
displayed in many tax collectors' offices to advertise
the $1 donation citizens can make to the Nongame
Wildlife Trust Fund when renewing their vehicle
registrations.
Research shows that people who birdwatch tend to
be more knowledgeable and involved in wildlife
conservation. A publication titled Birdwatching Basics
was reprinted and will be distributed through Project
WILD, FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine and The
Skimmer to encourage Floridians interested in
learning more about Florida birds.
The Skimmer (the nongame program's newsletter)
was reduced to two issues this year because of staff
shortages in all areas of the Nongame Wildlife
Program. It was distributed to an estimated 18,000
subscribers. Each issue contained information about
nongame education projects as well as a children's
feature called "The Emerging Naturalist."
After determining which Florida communities were
most in need of protection efforts, the first issue of the
series called "Wild Florida" was published to educate
target audiences about scrub habitats. Subsequent
volumes will focus on other Florida habitats in need of
protection and conservation education.
Projects worked on but not completed in FY 89-90
included two nongame grant products: The Handbook
to Schoolyard Plants and Animals of North Central


Some 9,000 people participated in 320 free hunter education classes in FY 89-90.


39






Florida, and the "Schoolyard Wildlife Activity Guide."
The second volume of "Wild Florida," focusing on
tropical hardwood hammocks, also was initiated. Staff
began a kestrel education project designed to educate
forest managers about the need for standing dead trees
as natural nesting sites for kestrels, as well as many
other Florida wildlife species. Artwork, layout and text
were started on the booklet titled What Have You
Done For Wildlife Lately? A Handbook of Ways
You Can Help Florida's Wildlife. This publication will
provide Floridians with some definite things they can
do to benefit Florida wildlife.

Hunter Education The Hunter Education Program
teaches safe firearms handling, wildlife conservation
and management. The course places a strong emphasis
on responsible, ethical and safe use of the outdoors by
all sportsmen.
During this fiscal year, 9,000 individuals participated
in 320 hunter education classes statewide. The course
was taught by an active corps of more than 485
volunteer certified hunter education instructors. This
year the volunteer instructors donated 18,756 hours
with an in-kind value of $225,072. This amount far
exceeded the state's requirement for matching its
federal grant. Through the utilization of this donated
time, Florida's Hunter Education Program is virtually
100 percent federally funded.
The 15-hour course is free to all participants and
meets the requirements of all states and Canadian
provinces where hunter safety training is required. In
1989, legislation was enacted mandating that effective
June 1, 1991, hunters born on or after June 1, 1975
must have satisfactorily completed a hunter education
course prior to venturing afield with a firearm.

Project WILD Project WILD is an activity-centered
environmental education program which emphasizes
wildlife and habitat themes. The goal of Project WILD
is to assist learners of any age in developing awareness,
knowledge, skills and commitment to result in
informed decisions, responsible behavior, and
constructive actions concerning wildlife and the
environment upon which all life depends. Florida is
one of 49 states offering this award-winning program to
educators. This is the first year the Commission has
employed a full-time Project WILD program
coordinator.
A total of 120 one-day Project WILD workshops were
conducted this year, training approximately 2,623
educators to use the Project WILD Activity Guides.
This includes 33 Aquatic Project WILD workshops for
685 educators. The aquatic activity guide was first
introduced in 1987 and contains 40 activities written
specifically for fresh and saltwater environments.
Together, the three Project WILD guides (elementary,
secondary and aquatic) consist of approximately 120
learning activities incorporating wildlife and habitat
themes into subjects such as math, English and science.
Although most participants are classroom teachers, the
workshops also attract scout and 4-H leaders, nature
center staff, park naturalists, and other interested
educators. These workshops involve at least six hours
of instruction training and are taught by the
Commission's 140 volunteer Project WILD facilitators
(instructors). These facilitators donated nearly 2,000
hours of workshop instruction this year alone.


40


In addition to the one-day Project WILD workshops,
183 educators were trained in three weekend
workshops hosted by the Commission at the youth
conservation camps. These weekend programs combine
training in Project WILD with another segment,
Outdoor Adventure, which emphasizes outdoor skills.
These include canoeing, orienteering, survival,
shooting sports and aquatic biology. In Outdoor
Adventure workshops, instructors emphasize safety
and responsible use of the natural environment.
The Project WILD/Outdoor Adventure Workshops
are so popular that an advanced program was
established for those teachers who attended a previous
weekend workshop and desired more training and
information. A total of seventy-four teachers

participated in one of three advanced programs
offered this year with agendas including biological
survey techniques, advanced aquatics and plant
identification.
The annual leadership (facilitators) workshop took
place in December. Sixty educators were trained to
lead Project WILD workshops for their colleagues. In
addition to training new facilitators, the Commission
offered it's first annual "Call of the WILD" workshop,
designed to keep working facilitators up to date on the
latest program news and instructional techniques.
Thirty-three facilitators from all around the state took
this opportunity to share ideas and learn from each
other. Also, the first issue of the facilitator newsletter,
The WILD Times, was produced this fiscal year.
Since 1984, a total of 401 workshops have trained
10,016 educators in Project WILD. These educators in
turn are potentially reaching more than 700,000
Florida school children. 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, the Nongame Wildlife Program's newsletter.




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