Annual report - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075971/00010
 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: 1982
Frequency: annual
Subjects / Keywords: Wildlife management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Fishery management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000349325
oclc - 05513917
notis - ABY7045
lccn - 79644252
issn - 0195-6256
System ID: UF00075971:00010
 Related Items
Preceded by: Report - Florida, Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission

Full Text

Florida Game & Fresh
IVIW TW,"% 0 1 Al-



Front cover: Fishing in Hillsborough River State Park.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Florida Division of Tourism Photograph

i. Fiscal Year 1983-1984 14. Office of Environmental Services
1. Introduction 17. Division of Wildlife
2. Executive Director 22. Office of Informational Services
3. Division of Administrative Services 25. Commissioners
5. Division of Fisheries Administrative Staff
11. Division of Law Enforcement Regional Offices


Total Funding $25,648,857

Appropriations by Division

Division Amount of Total
Law Enforcement $12,143,794 47.3%
Fisheries 3,884,141 15.1%
Executive Director &
Administrative Services 4,889,632 19.1%
Wildlife 4,731,290 18.5%

Appropriations by Catergory

Category Amount
Salaries $16,381,590
Expenses 5,947,739
OCO 1,828,511
Other Personal Services 608,002
Landowner Payments 450,000
Salary Incentive 192,744
Data Processing 235,271
Payment of Rewards 5,000

Revenue Sources

Source Amount of Total
General Revenue $10,940,554 42.4%
License & Permit Revenue 9,539,330 37.0%
Federal Aid 3,042,145 11.8%
Other Revenue 2,268,243 8.8%

Thomas L. Hires. ST.

The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission is governed by a board of five
members, appointed by the Governor and
confirmed by the Senate, who serve five-
year terms on a staggered basis. The
Executive Director is selected by the
Commissioners and serves at their pleasure.
The organizational structure of the
Commission includes the Office of the
Executive Director, Division of Law En-
forcement, Division of Wildlife, Division
of Fisheries, Division of Administrative
Services, Office of Environmental Services
and Office of Informational Services. The
Executive Director is aided in administra-
tion through five regional offices in Panama
City, Lake City, Ocala, Lakeland and West
Palm Beach. Each office is staffed in such a
manner as to resemble the central office in
Tallahassee on a smaller scale. The regional
offices serve the grassroots needs of the
public and provide the capability to admin-
ister and follow through with the programs
and policies of the Commission. Other
field stations are located throughout the
state, including the Wildlife Research
Laboratory in Gainesville and the Fisheries
Research Laboratory in Eustis.
The Commission was created as a con-
stitutional agency on January 1, 1943, and
for three decades carried out its programs
with revenue from the sale of hunting and
fishing licenses. During the early years, this
was appropriate because the programs of
the agency were primarily directed to
benefit hunters and fishermen. However,
the Commission has become increasingly in-
volved in matters affecting and benefiting
not only the hunter and fisherman but also
the general citizenry: protection, research
and management of nongame species of
wildlife; boating safety; civil emergencies
and other general police actions; pollution
control and ecological systems; and devel-
opment of outdoor recreational programs.
As the agency's involvement in the
outdoor world expanded to benefit the
general public rather than exclusively hun-
ters and fishermen, the Legislature approp-
riated General Revenue funds to assist in

the Commission's overall program. The
funds were first appropriated in 1973 and
have been followed by other appropriations
each year. The 1983 Legislature approp-
riated almost $11,000,000 for the conti-
nuation and expansion of outdoor pro-
grams that would benefit all citizens in
present and future years. The funds have
been put to good use, as can be ascertained
by a review of various programs and
accomplishments set forth in this report.
In general, the Commission accelerated
its management of the state's wildlife and
freshwater fisheries resources to ensure
optimum wildlife and fish populations for
the recreational and aesthetic benefit of the
public. Such management encompasses the
promulagation of codes and regulations for
the protection of the resource; enforcement
of these codes and regulations and those
provided by Florida Statutes; habitat im-
provement; development of an endangered
species program; research directed toward
solving resource problems; regulation and
inspection of wildlife importation and
commercialization; regulation and inspec-
tion of wildlife exhibitors; abatement of
problems of nuisance wildlife; use of fish as
a biological control of aquatic vegetation;
biological inspection and reporting of con-
struction and development projects which
could affect fish and wildlife resources and
their habitat; acquisition and development
of public recreation areas; and a
conservation/information and education
Florida's annually increasing human
population, with attendant development
activities, results in increasing pressures
upon fish and wildlife resources, and neces-
sitates restrictions both to conserve the
resources and to manage the growing
numbers of outdoor users who are forced
to share diminishing suitable areas. Conse-
quently, many of the rules are for regulat-
ing user activity rather than direct man-
agement of the resources. Care must be
exercised to ensure that such restrictions
are kept to a minimum to prevent aliena-
tion of users by overregulation.

J. H. Baroco


C. Tom Raine,. D.V.M.

William G. Bostuk Ir.

I q s/sy



Former Wildlife Officer Joe Atkins

The Executive Director is the primary
Commission representative on various pri-
vate, federal and state committees, councils
and boards.
Under the direction of this office, the
Commission completed the second year of
a three-year effort to develop and imple-
ment a comprehensive planning system.
The system consists of four phases: annual
inventory, five-year strategic plan, annual
operational plan, and annual evaluation.
During this report period, the inventory
and the five-year strategic plan, which
states objectives and strategies of Commis-
sion programs, was developed and adopted.
Operational planning was begun with the
development of the FY 1985-87 budget
input based on the strategic plan. A pro-
gram cost accounting system was developed
for implementation in FY 1984-85 that will
facilitate better evaluation of programs.
The Commission approved a revised
format for obtaining public input on pro-
posed regulation changes and distributing
these changes to the general public. Sched-

The Office of the Executive Director is
comprised of the Executive Director, Assis-
tant Executive Director, Senior Executive
Assistant, and support functions consisting
of Legal Counsel, Internal Inspections, In-
ternal Auditing, and Agency Planning.
Responsibilities include informing the
five-member Commission of the current
status and problems of the agency, and
carrying out the directives of the Commis-
sion. The office support assists the Execu-
tive Director in formulation of departmen-
tal policies, research on major issues, and
legal advice and representation. Also
included in the day-to-day activities of the
office is the supervision of regional mana-
gers and division and office directors. Sup-
port functions are responsible for the draft-
ing, reviewing and publication of
Commission rules in the Wildlife Code of
the State of Florida, conducting comprehen-
sive internal audits, and evaluating financial
systems and designs to increase the Com-
mission's internal control and promote
economy and efficiency.

uling, supervising and reviewing the process
involved in implementing the new format
are the responsibility of the Office of the
Executive Director. Actions to be accomp-
lished under the revised format are:

a. Provide opportunity for public input dur-
ing regularly scheduled Commission work-
shop meetings.
b. Schedule special meetings with appro-
priate interest groups regarding major fish
and wildlife issues.
c. Provide copies of proposed key regula-
tion changes to sportsmen clubs, media,
and various other groups and organiza-
tions throughout the State.
d. Publish key regulation changes to Florida
e. Invite designated representatives from spe-
cial interest on a regional basis to discuss
major fish and wildlife issues within a
given region.
f. Conduct public mail or telephone surveys
as needed.



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

For a state agency to operate from year
to year, it must be able to project revenues
and expenditures. These projections are
consolidated into the legislative budget
process for both operations and fixed capi-
tal outlay. During fiscal year 1983-84,
which was the second year of the 1983-85
biennium, no formal legislative budgets
were prepared. The Legislature appro-
priated funds based upon the 1984-85 por-
tion of the two-year budget prepared in
1982. A few new issues were presented to
our legislative subcommittees concerning
needs that did not exist when the biennial
budgets were prepared.
Progress: The new computerized Planning
and Budgeting System, which the Commis-
sion piloted for the Governor's office in
1982, was funded in fiscal year 1983-84
and is now the statewide system for all state
agencies. It was so well received by the
Legislature that it asked the Governor's
Office of Planning and Budgeting to modify
the system to become an integral part of
the Legislative Computer System. The new
integrated program produced an acronym
LAS/PBS, which stands for Legislative
Appropriation System/Planning and
Budgeting Subsystem.

*ji It The primary goal of the Purchasing
S office is to achieve the greatest return for
the dollar and provide the best equipment
S delivered in a timely manner. The office
has also been assigned the responsibility of
-i coordinating all fixed capital outlay pro-
jects, contracts and leases for the
Progress: This office issued 4,180 purchase
orders, prepared and processed 95 legal
-E and formal bids, and processed 234 mobile
Equipment requests.
Five projects were substantially com-
pleted during fiscal year 1983-84. Seven
new projects were authorized by the 1983
S Budgets of the projects completed and
1, ongoing work totaled more than $500,000.

Tallahassee, Florida, Circa 1880

The Personnel office provides support
and assistance in employment, recruitment,
equal opportunity/affirmative action, pay
administration, position classification,
training, employee insurance, leave main-
tenance, retirement processing, disciplinary
and promotional coordination, employee
counseling, union contract administration
and human relations.
Progress: COPES, the new state computer
employee system, has been implemented
and two terminals have been installed.
Although it is still in the information input
stage, the system is already producing time-
saving information and personnel func-
tions. This system will permit employees to
pinpoint personnel cost, leave accrual/use,
employee/payroll transactions, as well as
many other employment transactions.

The following offices are included in
the Bureau of Office Operations: property,
records management, word processing cen-
ter, office services (mailroom, supply room
and print shop) and maintenance. The
Bureau of Office Operations also adminis-
ters the Tallahassee motor pool and
switchboard functions, security and custo-
dial contracts for the Tallahassee office,
and the Bureau Chief acts as the coordina-
tor for inter-agency programs such as
energy and safety.
Progress: A revised equipment operational
cost and use reporting system was designed
and is now in the implementation stage.
Much of the old system has been auto-
mated and equipment will be tracked by
using information in the computerized
property system. Faster and more useful
management information will result from
the more automated system.
The print shop's productivity and
output quality was significantly upgraded
with the purchase and installation of a new
printing press.

Florida Division of Tourism Photograph

GFC Photograph by Lot'ett Williams



.. L. {{ '. J,

The Bureau of Finance and Account-
ing is responsible for maintaining docu-
mentation of all revenue and disbursement
activities of the Commission.
Financial transactions are processed by
the State Automated Management
Accounting System (SAMAS). SAMAS is
programmed to produce accounting infor-
mation, to assist Commission management
personnel in monitoring financial activities
and controlling the operating budget.
General Revenue appropriations, State
Game Trust Fund collections and Federal
Aid receipts finance Commission activities.
Restricted trust funds are also maintained
to pay rewards for the arrest and convic-
tion of endangered and threatened species
law violators and to finance the acquisition
and improvement of land for wildlife

Progress: With the implementation of the
SAMAS 2.2 version on July 1, 1983,
Commission personnel are now responsible
for the programming and security of the
accounting system.
The Bureau of Finance and Account-
ing also acquired a microcomputer during
the 1983-84 fiscal year. This has been util-
ized to automate record keeping previously
accomplished on a manual basis.

Cash Available on July 1,
1983, Adjusted after
Revenue Received:
General Revenue Fund
Licenses and Permits
Charges for Services
Miscellaneous Revenue
Total Funds Available
Expenditures and
Law Enforcement
Wildlife Management
Fisheries Management
Informational Services
Environmental Services
Fixed Capital Outlay
Non-Operating Transfers
Total Expenditures and
Unencumbered Cash,
June 30, 1984

July 1, 1983-June 30, 1984
(Preliminary Year-end Amounts)

$ 2,659,507









The freshwater fisheries resources of Florida represent the richest, most classic
example of excellent warmwater fisheries in the world. These fisheries are rich
not only in species and abundance, but also in monetary value, with almost
one billion dollars generated annually by freshwater sport fishermen. Florida's
natural freshwater systems, three million acres of lakes and io,ooo miles of
streams, provide two million people, including a halfmillion tourists, with
more than 65 million recreational days of freshwater fishing annually. Wild,
commercially harvested fish stocks have a dockside value exceeding $o1
million annually. Cultured fish species produced in Florida are valued at
nearly $30 million annually. The Division of Fisheries maintains a number of
projects designed to monitor and manage these resources and provide
sustained, nonconflicting uses for the future.

The "Good ol' Days" are still with us.
With the exception of special lake
basin projects, the management of Florida's
freshwater fisheries is under the direction
of regional fish management teams.
Improvements in sport fisheries and asso-
ciated recreational activities include many
ongoing public services which directly
affect the aquatic environment. These ser-
vices include fish stocking, pollution and
fish kill investigations, aquatic vegetation
management, and dredge and fill impact
Progress: The Jacksonville urban pond
program continues to provide recreational
opportunity by providing access and better
bank fishing to that city's residents. Fishing
pressure monitored during the spring of
1984 revealed an average of 77 man-hours
of effort per acre during the three-month
A creel survey on the lower Suwannee
River showed 1,256 man-hours of effort
and 2,164 fish harvested per mile with a
success rate of 1.72 fish per hour.
Compared to other streams in the
southeast, the lower Suwannee River is an
excellent, productive sport fishery
comprised mostly of redbreast sunfish.

The stocking of larger size sunshine
bass fingerlings into Lake Osborne, Palm
Beach County, has proven quite successful.
A peak season angler harvest survey indi-
cated that the catch of sunshines doubled
over previous years when smaller sizes were
The status of the sport fisheries of the
conservation areas of south Florida is being
evaluated. Examination of otoliths (growth
rings on ear bones) indicates that the large-
mouth bass fishery is made up of fish
under five years of age.
Extensive fish population sampling
was initiated on the Withlacoochee and
Oklawaha rivers to document the current
status of these fisheries.
Lake Apopka was again stocked with
sunshine bass fingerlings during spring
A long-term fisheries monitoring pro-
gram on the Peace River was initiated to
resolve future environmental issues and
detect trends in the fishery. The initial
phase of a program to establish a sunshine
bass fishery there was completed with the
introduction of 40,000 reciprocal hybrids
into Lake Hancock at the headwaters of the
Peace River.

Fish population, aquatic invertebrate,
water quality, bathymetric and creel census
data were collected in Saddle Creek Fish
Management Area. This phosphate lake is
being studied to evaluate the relationship
between unrestricted fishing pressure and
angling success.
Final preparations for the opening of
Webb Lake, Charlotte County, to public
fishing were completed. A "fish for fun"
regulation on largemouth bass has been
implemented and will be evaluated.
Liquid fertilization in selected lakes in
northwest Florida continues to successfully
increase production in these relatively ster-
ile Commissionmanaged impoundments.
Response at Lake Stone is positive and sim-
ilar to that at Karick Lake. Harvestable-
sized sportfish increased 311 percent from
an average of 127 to 522 fish per acre. Sur-
veys reveal considerable increases in fishing
pressure with excellent sportfish harvest.
A major water level drawndown was
implemented on Juniper Lake in Walton
County with about 85 percent of the lake
bottom exposed. The resulting habitat
improvement and fishery response will
provide the angling public with a highly
desirable fishery in future years.


Since 1968, the Commission has con-
tinously collected information on fish pop-
ulation dynamics of Lake Okeechobee.
Studies have shown that sportfishermen
have enjoyed some of the highest sustained
fishing success rates for largemouth bass,
bream and black crappie in Florida. Addi-
tionally, findings have led to liberalized
commerical use of a portion of the lake's
estimated 44 million pounds of
harvestable-sized fish.
Progress: Commercial harvest from 10
haul seines permitted to operate in Lake
Okeechobee since November 1, 1982, has
totaled 3.3 million pounds. Bluegill and
redear sunfish represented 33.7 percent of
this harvest. Shad/gar and catfish repre-
sented 17.8 and 48.4 percent respectively.
Trotlines and catfish traps harvested 5.9
million pounds of catfish during the same
period. Combined commercial harvest for
the past two years totaled 9.1 million
pounds, with catfish representing 69.3
Creel survey results for the period of
December 1, 1983, to April 30, 1984, con-
firmed that Lake Okeechobee was "hot"
this past winter-spring season. The 1983-
84 fishing season broke records for total
hours fished and total numbers of fish
caught. More than 530,000 hours of fish-
ing pressure resulted in the harvest of
783,000 fish. Bass fishing effort repre-
sented 40.2 percent. Bass fishermen caught
83,500 bass during 215,000 hours of
effort. Black crappie fishing represented
52.8 percent with more than 558,000
caught in 282,000 hours of fishing effort.
Bream fishermen logged in more than
37,000 hours of fishing effort and har-
vested 141,000 bream; 28,000 more than
the previous record of 113,000 caught in
1981-82. Seven hundred fifty-five anglers
participated in an economic survey
included as part of the creel survey on Lake
Okeechobee. The average cost for a sport
fishing trip on the lake was $14.73. Bass
fishermen spent an average of $24.29 per
trip. Bream and crappie fishermen spent
$5.71 and $20.75 per trip, respectively.
Approximately 89,150 fishing trips were
made during the past season on Lake
Okeechobee, making the total value of such
items as bait, tackle, guide services, travel
and licenses $1.3 million.
Largemouth bass tagged and released
into Lake Okeechobee illustrated the
extreme mobility of an open-water bass
population. After 985 bass were tagged and
released, 65 tags were returned by fisher-

men. Results showed that 65 percent of the
largemouth bass moved distances greater
than three miles, 45 percent moved five
miles, 24 percent moved 10 miles, and 17
percent moved more than 15 miles. One
bass was caught 25 miles from the initial
release site.
Studies of black crappie indicated the
population was primarily composed of fish
in two year-classes. The 1983 year-class
represented 60 percent of all fish sampled
and the 1980 year-class represented 32
percent. With two missing year-classes,
sportfishing success could be adversely
affected during the 1984-85 winter black
crappie sport fishing season. Life history
studies indicate that the 1980 year-class
should suffer heavy natural mortality dur-
ing the remainder of 1984. If this occurs,
the 1983 year-class will have to support the
sport fishery this coming winter and these
fish may not be fully recruited to harvest-
able size by January 1985.


Florida fishing is among the best in the land.

Information on the scope and trends
in commercial fisheries of the St. Johns
River is being collected to better manage
fisheries resources there.
Progress: From July 1983 through June
1984, commerical fishermen harvested 2.5
million pounds of fish valued at $1.6 mil-
lion from the St. Johns River. Catfish were
the most important freshwater commercial
species. Of the catfish species sampled,
white catfish comprised 88 percent, chan-
nel catfish 11 percent and bullheads one

Quarterly trawl samples were collected
from Jacksonville to Lake Harney to
determine distribution, abundance and spe-
cies composition of St. Johns River fish
stocks. Results indicated an 82 percent
increase in black crappie and a 32 percent
reduction in catfish compared to last year's
trawl samples.
Approximately 3,800 catfish have
been tagged and released in the river to
determine movement patterns, commercial
exploitation and population parameters. In
14 months, 605 tagged fish were reported
caught for a recapture rate of 16 percent.
During October, November and December,
a definite upstream migration was ob-
served. For example, 72 percent of the
recaptured fish originally tagged in Lake
George were caught upstream, while only
five percent were recaptured downstream.
The longest recorded distance traveled was
110 miles upstream in 215 days, and one
catfish traveled 11 miles in one day before
being recaptured.
A study to determine the feasibility of
fishing wire fish traps in the Oklawaha
Chain of Lakes was initiated. Two different
types of traps were fished at onshore and
offshore locations in Lakes Dora and Eus-
tis. This study will be completed next year.

The Aquaculture Investigation team
studies aquaculture-related problems such
as predator control in fish culture ponds
and provides technical information and
assistance to the aquaculture industry.
Progress: Project personnel responded to
643 requests for aquaculture assistance. Of
these, 90 percent were from the general
public. The remainder were from the
commercial sector, university personnel or
other agencies. Thirteen facilities were
inspected in response to requests to possess
and culture restricted or non-native fishes,
with 12 involving the three species of tila-
pia allowed to be cultured in Florida.
Aquatic plant control demonstrations
in small ornamental fish production ponds
indicated that hairgrass, a common prob-
lem in these water bodies, could be success-
fully and economically controlled by the
use of chemicals.
Two fish culture studies were initiated
at the Commission's Richloam Fish
Hatchery. One study will evaluate non-
lethal deterrents to the consumption of cul-
tured fish by predatory birds. The second
will assess the effects of three different
stocking densities on the growth of sun-
shine bass fingerlings.


The fisheries restoration section was
designed to expand knowledge of lake
management and extend the productive
recreational and aesthetic life span of
selected lakes.
Progress: Lake Hunter, a 100-acre urban
lake, underwent restoration this year. This
project, funded by the City of Lakeland,
required the pumping of nearly
200,000,000 gallons of water and exposed
95 percent of the lake bottom. Fifty per-
cent of the lake was covered by more than
four feet of organic muck. During the five-
month pumpdown period, nearly 10,000
cubic yards of this muck were mechanically
removed. Twenty-six thousand pounds of
fish, approximately 75 percent of which
were non-game fish such as shad, gar, and
tilapia, were removed by commercial haul
seine and liberalized harvest regulations.
This prevented a massive fish kill from tak-
ing place during the pumpdown.
Quality aquatic habitat continues to be
the key to success on Lake Kissimmee. Pos-
itive effects of an extreme drawdown com-
pleted in 1977 continue to contribute to
excellent sport fish populations. In the
summer of 1983, bass fishermen harvested
nearly 1,200 bass more than 20 inches in
total length from Lake Kissimmee. During
this same interval, the success rate for bass
anglers was estimated at .68 bass per hour,
which is almost three times greater than
what is considered good bass fishing.
Project personnel continue to work
with other state and federal regulatory
agencies to protect the fisheries resources
in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Dredge
and fill problems, pollution abatement and
delineation of state-owned lake bottom
lands from private uplands are priority
items for Commission fishery biologists.

Richloam and Blackwater fish hatch-
eries in the Withlacoochee and Blackwater
state forests produce fish for stocking state
Progress: During the past year, the hatch-
eries produced more than 3.6 million juve-
nile fishes which were stocked into 384
water bodies in 53 counties. The Welaka
National Fish Hatchery assisted by cooper-
atively growing out 44 percent of these fish
Striped and sunshine bass comprised
75 percent of this year's production with
653,500 stripers being distributed among
Lake Talquin, the St. Johns, St. Marys and
Nassau rivers. Waters receiving 1.9 million
sunshine bass among them were Lakes
Apopka, Monroe, Jessup, Tsala Apopka,
Seminole, Manatee, Newnans, Parker,
Reedy, Osborne, the Winter Park and
Winter Haven chains, and the Escambia,
Choctawhatchee and Ochlockonee rivers.
Lake Hancock, a highly fertile Polk County
lake, was stocked with sunshines for the
first time. Twenty-nine other lakes were
also stocked.
The hybrid grass carp program was
terminated due to poor survival and slow
growth. As an alternative, more than 20,00
sterile, triploid grass carp are being reared
at Richloam as possible vegetation controls.
Other fishes cultured and stocked
were 122,500 largemouth bass, 473,000
bluegill and shellcracker, 206,500 redbreast
sunfish, and 3,650 channel catfish. Red-
breast were put into the Yellow River sys-
tem near Crestview, after evaluation of a
earlier successful introduction in the
Blackwater. Redbreast did not inhabit these
rivers before being stocked. Fish that are
being tested for future introductions
include shoal bass and saugeye. Shoal bass
is a species of black bass that is endemic to

the Apalachicola River system and may
have attributes which would be assets to
river stocking. The saugeye, a hybrid cross
between sauger and walleye, is being
researched as a possible supplemental sport

The Aquatic Plant Management Sec-
tion reviews and comments on permit
applications received from the Department
of Natural Resources (DNR) for aquatic
plant control operations in all Class I and
Class II waters. The Commission also
approves or disapproves requests and con-
ducts appropriate inspections for the use of

herbivorous fishes as biological control
agents for aquatic vegetation. With the
advent of the sterile triploid grass carp, the
hybrid grass carp is no longer used in Flor-
ida. The triploid grass carp is being moni-
tored in selected water bodies to evaluate
this fish in managing undesirable aquatic
plant problems.
Progress: Section personnel reviewed 473
permit applications for chemical and
mechanical aquatic plant control operations
and forwarded comments to DNR. A
number of concerns regarding proposed
spraying operations have been resolved
through correspondence between DNR and
the Commission. Lake Okeechobee and the
Kissimmee Chain of Lakes have been moni-
tored by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
DNR and Commission personnel to deter-
mine the effectiveness of water hyacinth
and water lettuce control activities. These
surveys have resulted in environmentally
safer, lower cost and more effective opera-
tions by water management districts
responsible for field operations in moni-
tored areas.

Bear Lake, i962,

Fisheries research

Applications to import, possess and
stock herbivorous fish are reviewed and
processed by section personnel. Ten permit
requests were disapproved and 78 permits
to possess herbivorous fish were issued
during the reporting period. As a result,
24,429 fish were stocked among 50 per-
mitted sites.
Investigations are continuing to deter-
mine the effectiveness and impact of herbi-
vorous fish used alone or in conjunction
with other methods of aquatic plant con-
trol. Investigations of hybird grass carp
have discontinued as the emphasis has
shifted to use of the new triploid grass
Lake Iola (80 acres) in Pasco County
was originally stocked with 3,200 hybrid
grass carp between June 1981 and April
1982. Quarterly fathometer surveys of
submergent vegetation have indicated no
change in hydrilla growth. A biomass esti-
mate obtained during the summer of 1983
indicated that an original stocking rate of
approximately 10 fish or five pounds per
metric ton of hydrilla would be sufficient.
Herbivorous fish used in conjunction with
herbicides have been successful in con-
trolling regrowth of vegetation in other
research areas. Herbicides are being applied
to the 40 acres of hydrilla in Lake Iola and
will be followed by stocking approximately
800 triploid grass carp.

The fisheries research program is
composed of 12 full-time investigative
teams near major freshwater fishery re-
sources. With laboratories located in Eus-
tis, Boca Raton and Richloam, the Bureau
of Fisheries Research directs its scientific
skills toward the development of new tech-
nology for the enhancement and restora-
tion of Florida's game and food fishes.

Through the efforts of the project sys-
tems analyst, a computer program was
developed to back-calculate growth rates of
largemouth bass. Currently, growth rates of
largemouth bass from various lakes and
rivers are being calculated. Data on age and
growth will be used to evaluate present
management practices and experimental
programs. As an example of this work, the
largemouth bass population in Lake Kis-
simmee responded to the drawdown man-
agement technique in 1977, and produced
an exceptionally large year-class in 1978. In
the spring of 1984, fish in this year-class
(age 6) ranged in size from 12 to 23 inches
and constituted approximately 10 percent
of the bass fishery. A substantial "trophy"
bass fishery should develop in 1986-87.


Additional bass management strategies
are being developed to provide quality fish-
ing for an increasing angler population.
One technique currently being tested on
Starke Lake is the slot size limit regulation.
This regulation requires anglers to release
all bass caught between 14 and 20 inches in
length. Following one year of implementa-
tion, an overall increase in the bass popula-
tion occurred. However, while an
improvement in the size distribution was
noted, results were less than optimum and
may possibly be related to lack of angler

A drawdown of Lake Griffin (9,100
acres) was conducted to consolidate
organic sediments, promote the growth of
aquatic vegetation, and thus improve the
fishery. The goal was to lower the lake
seven feet beginning March 1, expose 40
percent of the bottom for 90 days, begin
refill July 1, and complete refill by
November 1. Because of discharge restric-
tions and heavy rain, the lake was lowered
only about six feet for 53 days. Varying
degrees of bottom exposure and consolida-
tion were accomplished on 30 percent of
the bottom. However, actual drying of
thick organic sediments was limited
because of above normal rainfall. Although
some uprooting of vegetation from uncon-
solidated sediments occurred, newly
created vegetated habitat will greatly exceed
the 75 acres of vegetation which existed in
Lake Griffin prior to the drawdown. Of
particular value are new stands of aquatic
grasses and fragrant water lilies. Experimen-
tal planting of pondweed and spadderdock
lilies was conducted.

What do you mean, "Throw it back?"
Monitoring of 500,000 largemouth
bass fingerlings stocked in Lake Apopka in
spring 1982 has been completed. At age 26
months, these fish ranged in size from 12 to
17 inches and averaged 14.3 inches in total
length. At age 12 months, these fish aver-
aged 8.3 inches or about 1.6 inches larger
than the native population in adjacent Lake
Dora. During the first year following stock-
ing, these fish made up about 94 percent of
the lake's bass population and 70 percent
in the second year. Spawning bass in 1983
produced a very weak year-class, down
about 90 percent from the stocked popula-
tion. Growth conditions for the 1982 bass
stocking have been good. Survival, from
the time of stocking to age 27 months, was
estimated at five percent.

Sport fishery response to an extreme
drawdown in Lake Talquin during 1983-84
is being evaluated. Studies indicated the
sport fishery was of marginal quality. Long-
term stabilization of lake levels had created
overcrowded bream populations and a low
standing crop of largemouth bass. Lake lev-
els were reduced as much as 20 feet during
the drawdown, exposing about 75 percent
of the bottom. This exposure allowed
extensive consolidation of organic muck
which had accumulated during years of sta-
bilized water levels. A two-stage refill
initiated in January 1984 was completed in
early summer and promoted establishment
of approximately 2,000 acres of beneficial
terrestrial and aquatic vegetation.
Significant progress has been made
toward identification of environmental fac-
tors limiting success of the striped bass
fishery in Lake Talquin. A mark and recap-
ture study of striped bass inhabiting a
thermal refuge area in the reservoir pro-
vided a population estimate of approxi-
mately 1,200 adult striped bass, a relatively
low standing crop. In addition, large
numbers of striped bass moved from the
lake into the lower Ochlockonee River fol-
lowing heavy spring rains and concurrent
extensive water releases through Jackson
Bluff Dam. Although greatly diminishing
the population in the reservoir, the immi-
gration of striped bass into the tailwaters of
the dam produced an excellent fishery.
Analysis of fishing survey data collected
during spring 1984 is expected to show the
highest catch of striped bass and all other
major game fish species since the survey
was begun in 1981.

The Tenoroc State Reserve Fish Man-
agement Area was opened this year with
nine phosphate pit lakes selected as
research sites for evaluating experimental
regulations on largemouth bass. Quota re-
strictions on numbers of boats and bank
fishermen were established to control pres-
sure, and various regulations designed to
control harvest of largemouth bass were
implemented on an individual-lake basis.
Experimental bass regulations include catch
and release fishing, slot limits, high min-
imum size limits and gear restriction. The
effects of this "management by regulation"
will be evaluated through creel and annual
electrofishing surveys and compared with
control situations where general state regu-
lations on bass are in effect. Public accep-
tance of the Tenoroc concept has been
favorable. During the first nine months of
public use, fishermen made more than
5,300 trips to the area, representing more
than 24,150 general fishing hours and
nearly 13,800 hours of bass fishing. Over-
all bass fishing pressure in six lakes cur-
rently open to fishing was 32 hours per
acre with nearly 2,200 bass reported
caught, 1,600 of which were released.
Three more Tenoroc lakes will be opened
to public fishing in 1985.

Objectives of the Commission's Non-
Native Fish Research Project are to docu-
ment the occurrence, population sizes and
effects of exotic fish in Florida, and to
develop management plans for their wise
utilization. More exotic fishes (17) are

established in Florida than in any other
state, and some have become very success-
ful in terms of their abundance and range
extensions. To date, 69 exotic species have
been collected at least once from Florida
waters. Population estimates in south Flor-
ida canals indicate exotics make up an aver-
age of 35 percent by weight of the fishes
present and up to 80 percent in some
In one Dade County canal, exotic
fishes make up about 60 percent of the fish
community. Largemouth bass in this canal
feed almost exclusively on exotics but
represent less than three percent of the fish
Measurable declines in quantity
and/or structural deterioration of some
native game fish populations in Lake Lena
were associated with an increasing popula-
tion of blue tilapia. Similarly, dense walk-
ing catfish populations in a small Ever-
glades pool were associated with the
reduced abundance of small native fishes;
however, game fishes appeared to be little

The Fish Culture Research and Devel-
opment Section was established this year
and includes a fisheries genetics project and
a herbivorous fish project. To date, the sec-
tion has worked extensively with triploid
grass carp. It also instigated a program for
certification of imported triploid grass
carp. Using a coulter counter, these grass
carp can be examined to determine if they
are, in fact, sterile. This allows only 100
percent sterile grass carp to be stocked in
Florida waters. Moreover, the certification
program assures that grass carp imported
from other hatcheries are also 100 percent
triploid before they are released. Studies
are now under way at the Orlando Airport,
Richloam Fish Hatchery and several
Orlando lakes to determine effective stock-
ing rates for these fish. It was determined
that both 100 and 200 fish/acre stocking
rates were more than adequate to eliminate
hydrilla from hatchery ponds. Thus, the
triploid is expected to perform comparably
to the diploid grass carp as a biocontrol for
aquatic plant problems, while being envir-
onmentally safer.

Fishing on the St. Johns River, date unknown

Results of continuing studies on the
Apalachicola River to determine effects of
dredging and spoil disposal on aquatic
communities have provided needed infor-
mation for development of a Dredged
Material Disposal Plan by the Department
of Environmental Regulation. Habitats
have been mapped and ranked according to
their relative importance to fish popula-
tions. Related investigations have identified
underwater snags in the river to be most
productive in terms of fish food organisms.
Based on preliminary results, modifications
were implemented in the recently renewed
de-snagging permit of the Corps of Engi-
neers to provide for alternative placement
sites for these snags to enhance their utiliza-
tion by macroinvertebrates and fish. More
intensive water quality and fish sampling of
the Chipola River and Dead Lakes is being
conducted to allow measurement of effects
within this system subsequent to the
expected removal of the Dead Lakes Dam.
A new state record sunshine bass weighing
15 pounds 8 ounces was caught in the Apa-
lachicola River below Jim Woodruff Lock
and Dam on June 14, 1984.

The Upper St. Johns River study
emphasized the effect of environmental fac-
tors on fisherman success rates during the
year. A prime season creel survey was util-
ized to determine not only success rates but
also which size groups of each species were
most vulnerable to fishermen. While all
species of fish were investigated, major
emphasis was placed on largemouth bass.
Analysis of age and growth information
generated by the largemouth bass project,
as well as food habit analysis and move-
ment studies by telemetry from the St.
Johns study itself, revealed that trends in
the fishery for bass are closely related to
water quality and quantity fluctuations.
Continuing water quality monitoring has
shown that impacts from human endeavors
are frequently the major driving force
behind these fluctuations.

A new office/laboratory facility has
been placed at DeLeon Springs to support
fisheries research on the lower St. Johns
River. A three-year study of the relation-
ships of fish populations to habitat types
has recently been completed. River bank
lined with brush was the most productive

habitat type for harvestable sport fish. Eel-
grass, spatterdock and bulrush were com-
parable in productivity, while open water
was the least productive habitat. More har-
vestable fish were collected along the river
channel than in the lakes. For all fish spe-
cies and sizes combined, more fish were
always collected within vegetation than in
open water.
Completion of a year-long creel survey
on the Palatka to Lake George section of
the river provided some valuable informa-
tion about angler utilization of the fishery
resource. Anglers caught an estimated
19,732 largemouth bass during the year
with an average success rate of .19 fish per
man-hour of effort. The same area yielded
127,421 bream at a success rate of 1.68
fish per man-hour. Catfish and mullet were
also harvested in large numbers, 24,396
and 10,422, respectively. Overall, a
222,526 man-hours of effort were
expended for all species. A more northerly
(downstream) section of the river between
Green Cove Springs and Orange Park was
surveyed from July 1983 to January 1984.
The largest block of angling effort was
expended for mullet. Numerous marine
species such as seatrout, flounder, and red
drum were caught. The south Lake
George/Lake Dexter to DeLand section of
the St. Johns River was surveyed from Jan-
uary 1984 to July 1984. Anglers caught
4,356 bass at a success rate of 0.25 fish per

The North Florida Streams Research
Project is currently conducting fishery
studies on the lower Escambia River and its
delta marsh. Sites in the marsh, main chan-
nel, and backwater areas of the river are
being systematically sampled for large-
mouth bass and bream species to determine
which habitat types produce the most sport
fish. Findings indicate that the brackish
marsh habitat is most productive. Both
river and marsh habitats support popula-
tions of small, slow-growing largemouth
bass despite an abundant food supply. In
addition to annual stocking of fingerling
sunshine bass in the lower Escambia River,
approximately 4,000 sub-adult sunshines
were tagged and stocked in the fall of 1983.
By September, anglers had returned five
percent of these tagged fish with an increase
in the catch expected this fall. An ongoing
creel survey on the lower Escambia River
produced an estimated harvest of only 678
sunshine bass for 1983.

A microcomputer system was deve-
loped and installed at the Eustis Laboratory
which automatically measures, calculates
and stores age and growth data from fish
ear bones. Three additional microcomputer
systems were ordered. A graphics plotter is
now being used to produce report-ready
diagrams of fisheries data from the Apalach-
icola River. This will greatly reduce the
time and tedium involved in producing line
graphs, bar charts, and pie charts.

Lake Okeechobee Bass Fishng

Research into the understanding of the
chemical processes which occur in our
freshwater systems is the prime function of
the chemistry section of the Division of
Fisheries. This analytical laboratory pro-
vides information on problems such an
municipal waste and agricultural runoff,
heavy metals, farm pond fertilization, and
soil analysis.
Approximately 20,000 analyses on
water samples were performed to evaluate
these problems. A joint effort was made by
the Commission, HRS, DER and DNR to
evaluate the potential problem of heavy
metals, specifically, mercury, lead and
cadmium in the state's aquatic systems.
Fish, clam and soil samples were analyzed
for these metals. A wide range of concen-
trations of each metal was found and addi-
tional analyses will be performed to define
this problem and to make recommenda-
tions for corrections where necessary.





The Division of Law Enforcement is charged with protecting fish and wildlife resources on the
state's 37 million acres of land and water. Protection is accomplished through preventive
patrols of urban, rural and wilderness lands and freshwater areas and by apprehension and
arrest of persons violating conservation and environmental laws. The division's responsibilities
include the enforcement of fishing, hunting and littering laws, the regulation of the commercial
wildlife trade, the enforcement of endangered species laws, boating safety regulations, the
maintenance of public order during natural disturbances and civil emergencies, and assisting
local and state law enforcement agencies. General law enforcement protection is also provided
to citizens and landowners in rural areas. More than five million acres of wildlife management
areas are open to public hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, birdwatching and picnicking. The
division patrols these lands to ensure that they are adequately protected and maintained for
public access. The division also protects environmentally endangered lands and assists other
public agencies concerned with the conservation and enforcement of Florida's environmental laws.

The basis of preventive patrol is the
use of uniformed officers in high visibility
patrol vehicles-being seen at the right
place and time-to prevent wildlife viola-
:ions from occurring. Wildlife officers are
-esponsible for protecting the wildlife and
reshwater resources on the state's 37 mil-
ion acres of land and water, 24 hours a
lay, seven days a week. Officers may be
ound patrolling with four-wheel-drive ve-
iicles, swamp buggies, helicopters, fixed-
wing aircraft, watercraft and other special-
zed equipment.
Progress: This year, officers responded to
5,353 complaints from the public, issued
9,357 written warnings and made 16,562
arrests. Wildlife officers worked 610,088
hours while patrolling 6,601,640 miles and
checked 709,231 resource users.

Special emphasis is placed on the pro-
tection of Florida's endangered and threat-
ened species of fish and wildlife. During
this fiscal year, more than 300 citations and
warnings were issued for violation of these
laws. Two of these arrests involved the kill-
ing of panthers.
More than 500 hours were devoted to
endangered and threatened species investi-
gations, 120 hours of which involved inves-
tigating bald eagle shootings or injuries.
Other investigations involved the illegal
possession of wood storks, pelicans, black
bears, least terns, indigo snakes, manatees
and alligators. Many public complaints
were received concerning harassment of
endangered species and wildlife officers
investigated each complaint. In addition,
citizens also reported information through
the Wildlife Alert program which led to a
number of arrests involving endangered
and threatened species. As a result of this
information, six rewards were paid which
involved endangered species such as the
panther, the bald eagle and the indigo snake.

Special emphasis was placed on areas
of critical environmental concern. For
example, in the Florida Keys a new
program was initiated for the protection of
key deer populations which have steadily
declined in number for several years. This
involved the coordination of state and local
law enforcement agencies in order to
reduce automobile speeds near the Big Pine
Key Deer Refuge. Last year 57 key deer
were killed on highways, and this year, only
nine were killed.
Numerous environmental investiga-
tions and arrests were made throughout the
year. One arrest resulted when a construc-
tion company was charged with destruction
of aquatic plants and mangroves and illegal
filling without a permit. This took place in
the Winston Waterway, adjacent to John
Pennekamp State Park. The company was
fined $25,000 and placed on six months'


In order to maximize effectiveness and
efficiency, 75 new vehicles, 23 of which
were Chevrolet S-10 Blazers, were ob-
tained. By purchasing a smaller model, a
reduction in operational costs without
sacrificing an officer's mobility and safety is
anticipated. In addition to new vehicles, the
division purchased three Sitex radar units
for use in the large patrol vessels. These
units assist the officers in locating violators
on the water during low visibility and
inclement weather navigation.
Wildlife officers are testing a new
"floating" all-terrain vehicle to patrol the
marshlands of Florida. Formerly, officers
used large tracked vehicles which were
mechanically unreliable. The new vehicle
has proven to be an efficient alternative to
the "tracks."
The Computer operations were
revamped to decentralize the workload
from the Tallahassee office to the five
regional offices. Computer terminals were
installed in each regional office so that cita-
tions and complaints could be entered at
the regional level. The citizen complaint
form was also modified to reflect a broader
spectrum of law enforcement duties, such
as search and rescue and assistance to other
agencies. This will allow personnel to track
the workload of officers on a more detailed
basis for use in planning enforcement
strategies, evaluating and determining
equipment needs and aiding in budget

The primary responsibility of the Avi-
ation Unit is to provide law enforcement
surveillance to each region's wilderness
areas. This includes search, surveillance,
rescue and patrol missions.
Although the aircraft's primary use is
for prevention of illegal activities and the
apprehension of offenders, specialized use
is being made by the Divisions of Wildlife
and Fisheries on environmental surveys and
wildlife and fisheries management.
Progress: During this past fiscal year,
Commission aircraft flew 3,378.4 hours
covering Florida's 67 counties. Pilots
checked 8,019 resource users, made 282
arrests and issued 126 warnings.
National attention was focused on the
protection of the endangered Florida
panther. With the continued decrease in
suitable habitats for this species, the Com-
mission has intensified aerial patrol efforts,
especially in such wilderness areas as the
Big Cypress and Everglades to protect this
endangered species.

Wildlife Reseri'ists are valuable volunteers.

Investigators are plainclothes wildlife
officers stationed in strategic locations
throughout the state. Investigators provide
the capability for undercover investigations
and operate in areas where uniformed
officers and high visibility vehicles would
be at a disadvantage. This unit undertakes
long-term covert operations, documenting
and apprehending violators and maintain-
ing statewide intelligence. In addition,
investigators maintain liaison between
other local, state and federal agencies.
Progress: The Investigations Section has
been working under the premise that a
significant amount of wildlife being taken
illegally in Florida was being exported to
out-of-state markets. That was disproved
when personnel were able to covertly
infiltrate a large urban market and
determine that a tremendous volume of
illegally taken game and fish was being sold
in metropolitan areas within the state. One
investigation of these markets resulted in
the arrest of 30 individuals charged with
130 violations including the illegal sale of
game fish, alligators, gopher tortoises, deer
and other wildlife.
Periodically the division utilizes
uniformed officers to supplement this
section. Officers might work in undercover
capacities for two days a week in
assignments within a 100-mile radius of
their routine stations. Such assignments
have proven effective with arrests made on
charges ranging from illegal sale of game
fish, deer and gopher tortoises to
cultivation and sale of marijuana.

The Wildlife Inspectors Section is
responsible for the regulation of Florida's
wildlife trade. The sale, exhibition and
propagation of wildlife and freshwater fish
generate revenues exceeding $100 million
annually. Wildlife inspectors provide the
first line of defense against the illegal
importation and release of non-native spe-
cies of fish and wildlife. Inspectors inspect
zoos, game farms, tropical fish farms, wild-
life importers and alligator farms where fish
and wildlife are held in captivity to ensure
that these establishments are complying
with state and federal laws governing the
operation of Florida's exotic fish and wild-
life industry.
Progress: During this fiscal year, 3,126
inspections were conducted on private and
commercial fish and wildlife establish-
ments. Six hundred prohibited freshwater
fish were seized and 145 specimens of ille-
gally held wildlife were confiscated, includ-
ing venomous reptiles, cougars, foxes,
monkeys, birds of prey, alligators and other
exotic and native creatures. In working
with commercial wildlife operations,
including pet shops and private animal
keepers, this year 355 wildlife exhibit
inspections were conducted, 363 inspec-
tions of exotic bird dealers were made, 929
pet shops were checked and 1,168 inspec-
tions of game farms, hunting preserves,
wildlife rehabilitation centers, fish farms
and other establishments were conducted.
Inspectors also handled 475 wildlife com-
plaints, made 182 inspection-related arrests
and issued 343 warnings. Sixty-two public
speaking engagements were also made to
civic groups, schools, and wildlife clubs,
concerning exotic and native species.

Wildlife officer checking for illegal fish traps

The training staff is charged with
coordinating the Commission's seminars,
workshops and in-service training sessions
to update employee knowledge and skills.
Training is a necessity for providing the
basic skills required to turn civilians into
effective wildlife officers and for ensuring
that field officers stay abreast of new laws
and procedures. Whether it is basic recruit
or specialized skill development, the train-
ing goal is the same: to simplify the compli-
cated, reduce errors, promote safety and, in
general, to help employees do a better job.
Progress: The 16th annual recruit school
graduated 25 new wildlife officer recruits
this year. Field training officers continued
the training portion of the wildlife officer
recruit curriculum as the recruits left the
academy and entered the working world as
wildlife officers. During basic training, each
recruit completed 11 weeks of intensive
training which included subjects such as
criminal law, search and seizure, firearms,
first aid, safe driving, water rescue
techniques and other topics. The Field
Training Officer Program provided an
eight-week period that allowed the new
recruits to apply their new knowledge in
the field under the watchful eyes of
experienced lawmen. Specialized programs
on environmental law enforcement were
presented to the Park Ranger Recruit
Academy of DNR and to the Forestry
Investigators of the Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services. Two
schools were co-sponsored by the Marine
Patrol and the Commission. Both schools
covered wildlife and marine resource
enforcement strategies that included
boating safety, procedures for recovery of
stolen boats and motors and boating
accident investigations.

Wildlife officers often provide safety and hunting nl,s

Pursuing the objective of developing
alternatives to the use of deadly force, 175
wildlife officers were trained and certified
in the proper use of the PR 24 side-handled
baton. This provides wildlife officers with
an "intermediate" weapon to be used when
hands-on control is not effective in dealing
with combative violators. During this fiscal
year, the Training Section received 86
requests from Criminal Justice Standards
Training Centers to teach the two-hour
course, "Role of Environmental Law
Enforcement Agencies" in the basic recruit
course. Approximately 1,383 police of-
ficers received this training. Two disaster
drills tested the agency's ability to respond
under emergency conditions. One was a
natural disaster scenario involving a hurri-
cane striking the southwest coast of Flor-
ida, and the other was a simulated nuclear
disaster at the Hutchinson Island nuclear
reactor near Port St. Lucie. This year, the
Training Section also published a training
bulletin at regular intervals to keep all law
enforcement personnel aware of new laws,
criminal court proceedings and law
enforcement techniques.

Communications provides the lifeline
for wildlife officers patrolling Florida. The
Communications Section provides the
entire Commission with teletype and two-
way radio communications. The system
operates around the clock, with duty of-
ficers available to handle incoming toll-free
telephone calls as citizens report violations
and wildlife-related problems. Wildlife
crime reports and other information are
quickly relayed by radio to officers in the

Progress: The division is serving on a
multi-agency task force that is working on a
new statewide "trunked" radio communi-
cations system to be used by all state agen-
cies. The "trunking" concept means that
officers will be able to have instant radio
communication with officers from other
agencies, in addition to the Commission's
system. This concept will prove valuable in
situations requiring multi-agency coordina-
tion, such as natural disasters or riot con-
trol duties. The system, when funded, will
be implemented over a 10-year period,
permitting the use of present radio equip-
ment for its expected life. Thirty additional
portable radios were purchased this year to
provide officers with portable communica-
tions. These hand-held radios allow officers
to work away from their vehicles and still
have communications support. A new type
of radio is being tested in boats and other
off-road vehicles as a possible replacement
for the present equipment. The new radio
is smaller, lighter and costs much less than
conventional radios. This radio is pro-
grammable, making it possible for wildlife
officers to talk to local law enforcement
departments while they are on water and
wilderness patrols. Eighteen were pur-
chased during the year. If they prove effec-
tive, Commission boats and off-road
equipment will soon be equipped with them.



:The Office of Environmental Services is
.1 dedicated to ensuring that Florida's inevitable
growth does not unnecessarily adversely impact
a fish, wildlife and the habitat upon which they
depend. Through programs of habitat
assessment, technical assistance, and
environmental research, restoration and
management, the office seeks to ensure
adequate consideration of fish and wildlife
resources in the regulation and planning of
developmental projects and in land
management decisions.
Those were the days.

The Office of Environmental Services
provides comments to various agencies on
the potential impacts of developmental pro-
jects on fish and wildlife resources. In
reviewing projects requiring dredge and fill
permits from the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers and the Florida Department of
Environmental Regulation, federally
funded projects through the Intergovern-
mental Review Process, and development
approval through the Development of
Regional Impact review process, field
inspections of project sites are often con-
ducted and assessments prepared on the
probable impacts on fish and wildlife habi-
tats. By providing these assessments to the
regulatory and planning agencies, the Office
of Environmental Services can recommend
that projects destructive to fish and wildlife
not be permitted, or that they be rede-
signed to avoid or mitigate habitat losses.
Progress: Over the past year, the Office of
Environmental Services provided com-
ments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engi-
neers on 104 projects requiring federal
permits for dredging and filling, and
reviewed 104 new Developments of
Regional Impact (DRIs), 382 Intergovern-
mental Review projects, and 190 standard
form dredge and fill permits received from
the Department of Environmental Regula-

tion. In addition, a habitat assessment was
prepared at the request of DER in order to
allow a hazardous waste site in Suwannee
County to qualify for Superfund cleanup
money from the Environmental Protection
DRIs continued to receive special
attention as numerous new DRIs were
reviewed and several "old" projects
required additional work. Three projects
that were initiated in the 1982-83 fiscal
year, Ft. George Island in Duval County,
Hammock Dunes in Flagler County and
Oak Sound in Hernando County, required
extensive follow-up. Additional environ-
mental studies were conducted, the devel-
opment order was appealed, or the project
was modified. The office provided signifi-
cant comments and recommendations con-
cerning preservation of regionally unique
habitat or endangered species habitat in the
review of several new DRIs this year,
including recommending that sand pine
scrub habitat be preserved in the River
Pines development in Hernando County,
and providing management and site plan-
ning recommendations for protection of
Choctawhatchee beach mouse habitat in
the Destin Shores Condominium DRI in
Walton County. Other large DRls with
potentially significant habitat impacts for

which habitat assessments were prepared
included the Gateway planned community
by Westinghouse in Lee County, the Forest
Lakes development in Pinellas County, the
Orlando Tradeport, the Circle N Bar
Ranch in Manatee County, and the new
Florida Power and Light Company offices
in Palm Beach County.
A number of dredge and fill projects
associated with mosquito impoundments
along the Indian River were reviewed along
with their respective mitigation proposals.
These proposals consisted of management
plans for mosquito impoundments
designed to increase fish and wildlife habi-
tat values to compensate for habitat lost
through filling, while retaining mosquito
control benefits. OES personnel reviewed
13 mosquito control impoundment man-
agement plans and provided assessments to
the permitting agencies.
Habitat assessments were also pre-
pared for other large projects including the
Bay County landfill, navigational dredging
projects at Shell Point and Keaton Beach,
removal of snags on the Apalachicola
River, and a proposal to convert nearly 350
acres of St. Johns River marsh into citrus

GFC Photographbp hN Willhavm Greer

*'I r %t. .*.

The Office of Environmental Services
provides fish and wildlife-related technical
assistance to other state agencies, regional
planning councils, water management dis-
tricts, county commissions, zoning boards,
consultants, and developers to ensure that
fish and wildlife resources are adequately
considered in the planning of developmen-
tal projects and in land management deci-
sions. By working with developers, land
planners and regulators at the early stages
of project planning, fish and wildlife con-
siderations can be worked into develop-
ment or land management plans at min-
imum cost or inconvenience to the
developer while adverse impacts to wilc ife
populations are avoided.
Progress: Considerable staff time was pent
working with the various interagency 1: nd
acquisition, land management, and res ,urce
planning committees. OES personnel
reviewed 99 Conservation and Recrea ion
Lands (CARL) project proposals and iro-
vided assistance to the Save Our Coasts
program in association with the Commis-
sion's membership on the CARL and Land
Acquisition Selection committees. The
establishment of the Land Management
Advisory Committee (LMAC) brought
additional responsibilities such as reviewing
proposed rules governing the LMAC
procedures, reviewing over 50 management
plans, and advising the Executive Director
regarding management plans and issues.
Two new Chapter 380 resources planning

and management committees were also
formed requiring OES staff support and
representation, the Northwest Florida
Coast Resource Planning and Management
Committee and the East Everglades-
Everglades National Park Resource Plan-
ning and Management Committee.
OES continued to be active in provid-
ing fish and wildlife technical assistance in
the area of phosphate reclamation. Approx-
imately 40 land reclamation plans were
reviewed in association with the Reclama-
tion Advisory Committee. In working with
Occidental Chemical Agricultural Products
Inc., Environmental Services biologists
recommended reclaiming mined lands to
restore black bear habitat, which was
agreed to by the company. Personnel also
participated with the International Minerals
and Chemical Corporation in the reclama-
tion of a clay settling area to scrub habitat,
by providing assistance in selecting tree and
shrub species to be planted, finding scrub
soil donor sites and developing wildlife
enhancement measures.
Personnel worked with the South Flor-
ida Water Management District on the
development of a management plan for the
Holey Land/Rotenberger area to restore
the hydroperiod and the associated Ever-
glades fish and wildlife community. In
order to conduct long-term monitoring of
this restoration effort, the office contracted
with the Department of Transporation for
LANDSAT vegetation analysis of the area.

Other technical assistance activities
included integrating fisheries population
information into DER's study of the
Suwannee River, reviewing approximately
50 requests from local governments for
information on potential environmental
impacts from zoning changes, working with
the South Florida Water Management Dis-
trict to identify development that could
conflict with the restoration of the Kis-
simmee River, serving on the Senate Natu-
ral Resources Select Committee on
Wetlands Regulation, assisting DER with
rule revisions concerning nutrient dis-
charges to lakes and wetlands jurisdiction
based on vegetation and providing input to
the Department of Natural Resources for
revising phosphate reclamation rules for
enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat

As the Commission has become more
active in providing technical assistance,
there has arisen a need for up-to-date
research information in several areas. This
program answers this need by providing for
research on particular environmental prob-
lems where adequate information is lack-
ing, and applying this information in restor-
ing, protecting and managing lands for
increased fish and wildlife value.
Progress: During the past year field inspec-
tions were conducted approximately twice
monthly on the state-owned Lower
Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environ-
mental Area. Inspection of dike breach ,
burned uplands, spoil disposal sites, vc ta-
tion monitoring and surveillance aerial id
ground, hunter surveys were conduct_
during the opening week of the 1983 hunt-
ing season. Coordination with the adjacent
M-K Ranch personnel and EPA staff
involved numerous field inspections regard-
ing M-K compliance with a federal consent
decree for illegal dredge and fill activities.
A policy for removing man-made struc-
tures on the tract was approved by the
Governor and Cabinet.
The Kissimmee Wetlands Investigation
Section completed the Holey Land/Ever-
glades Environmental Investigations under
a contract with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. The results of this study of the
baseline conditions of the Holey Land area
will be useful in establishing water regula-
tion schedules in the Holey Land and man-
aging the area to restore its Everglades plant
and animal communities. Environmental
Services personnel also designed and




implemented a study to assess the effect of
the South Florida Water Management Dis-
trict's pilot restoration project on fish and
In the area of phosphate reclamation
research, the Office of Environmental Ser-
vices finished the preliminary draft of
"Habitat Reclamation Guidelines: A series
of Recommendations for Fish and Wildlife
Habitat Enhancement on Phosphate Mined
Land and Other Disturbed Sites." These
guidelines have been developed to acquaint
industry planners and reclamation person-
nel with some of the basic principles and
strategies regarding enhancement of fish
and wildlife habitat values, and to provide
guidance in applying these principles and
stategies to reclamation planning. A stream
habitat study was also initiated to develop
methods which will improve designs for
reclamation of small streams disturbed by
The office began several research pro-
jects to address specific habitat problems.
To aid reviews of dredge and fill projects
and management plans impacting mosquito
control impoundments along the Indian
River, a study was initiated in Volusia
County to investigate various techniques of
management and their impacts on fish and
macroinvertebrate use of the impound-
ment. Work was begun on developing sim-
plified avian census techniques for use in
evaluating DRIs and other large develop-
ments. Also, personnel planted 300 seed-
lings comprising 20 species of tropical
hardwood plants to determine the desirabil-
ity of establishing tropical hardwood ham-
mock communities on spoil islands.

B i3 un I)-C,' -t p )'lzU it n101N 1171-' U/) 0t
'" '' '- .

Successful Florida deer hunt, circa 1890


Florida State Achives Photograph

1 -

.9' V



The Division of Wildlife is charged with developing and implementing
management practices to ensure the perpetuation of Florida's diverse wildlife.
Degradation and loss of habitat, and increasing demands for access to wildlife
resources dictate that the division undertake its responsibilities with a firm base of
scientific facts. Inventories of wildlife populations, basic and applied wildlife
research, and monitoring of wildlife harvest are some of the means employed. The
division administers the largest system of public hunting area in the United States
with 17 percent of the land in the state available.
In April 1983, legislation was enacted that formally acknowledged the need
for greater consideration for nongame fish and wildlife. The Florida Nongame
Wildlife Act established a Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council. The Council
and the Commission developed a plan of operation for a nongame fish and
wildlife program. The plan, which included funding sources, was submitted to the
1984 Legislature and the Governor and Cabinet and was signed into law during
the final days of the 1983-84 legislative session.

Hunting party in Volusia County, circa 1890

In a continuing effort to provide pub-
lic hunting, the division administers Type I
and Type II wildlife management areas. The
Type I program comprises 4,454,245 acres
in 55 areas. A permit is required for use of
these areas. Funds from the sale of these
permits are used for habitat management
and maintenance activities. The division
cooperates with seven landowners in the
1,646,905-acre Type II system. The
Type II program is designed to encourage
landowners to open their land to public
hunting with minor involvement by the
Commission. These lands belong to Buck-
eye Cellulose Corporation, Southwest
Forest Industries Inc., Gilman Paper Com-
pany, St. Regis Paper Company, St. Johns
River Water Management District, Jennings
Family Liquidating Trust and the U.S. Air
Force. These landowners require sportsmen
to purchase permits to hunt and the Com-
mission then offers landowners law
enforcement and technical assistance.

Progress: During the 1983-84 season,
sportsmen spent 1,308,031 man-days hunt-
ing on the Type I system. A total of
$450,000 was distributed to 16 private
landowners participating in the program.
More than one-third of the Type I lands is
in private ownership, with the balance
being state and federal lands. More than
50,000 hunters purchased permits from
private landowners to hunt on Type II
wildlife management areas. Habitat man-
agement completed this year included con-
trol burning 95,980 acres, planting
253,000 mast-producing tree seedlings and
520 acres of wildlife food plots. A total of
250 quail feeders and 265 wood duck nest-
ing boxes were maintained. Thirty-five new
nesting boxes were constructed and
During 1983-84, the Jena Wildlife
Management Area (comprising 60,000
acres) and the Perpetual Wildlife Manage-
ment Area (70,000 acres) opened. Both

areas are located in Dixie County and
helped to offset the loss of considerable
acreage in the Steinhatchee Wildlife Man-
agement Area. In addition, the M-K Ranch
Public Waterfowl Hunting Area (approxi-
mately 7,000 acres) in Gulf County was
open to public waterfowl, dove and snipe
hunting in 1983-84. Three wildlife man-
agement areas were acquired during the
year to be opened for hunting in 1984-85.
These are the Rock Springs Run Wildlife
Management Area (10,000 acres) in
Orange County, the Guana River Wildlife
Management Area (8,700 acres) in St.
Johns County, and the Arbuckle Wildlife
Management Area (7,000 acres) in Polk
Hunt Management: During 1983-84,
there were 57,990 nine-day and 10,350
special hunt permits available to the public.
All special hunt permits and 53,999 (94
percent) of the nine-day permits were

There were 1,755 antlerless deer per-
mits issued for 11 wildlife management
areas by random drawing from hunters
who were issued quota hunt permits for
one of the 11 selected areas.
Four additional quota programs were
operated during 1983-84 by the Tallahas-
see office. Three of these were used to con-
trol vehicles and walk hunters on three
wildlife management areas in the Everglades
Region and the other to control hunting
pressure during spring turkey season on
selected wildlife management areas.
The method in which quota hunt per-
mits are issued was changed from first-
come, first-served to a combined random
drawing and first-come, first-served.
Hunter Surveys: Two mail surveys
were conducted during 1983-84. The
statewide mail survey utilized a five-percent
random sample of the hunting public and
provided estimates on hunting pressure and
wildlife harvest on a statewide basis. The
management area mail survey utilized a 25
percent random sample of hunters purchas-
ing management area stamps.
Everglades Recreation Project: Ever-
glades Recreational Project personnel
manned check stations in the Everglades to
collect biological data from harvested deer.
Some 23,755 acres of sawgrass marsh were
prescribed burned during 1983-84 in that
same area. Five staff gauges were con-
structed and installed in Conservation Area
3B for monitoring water levels in the area,
and 3,000 bare-root seedlings were planted
on spoil banks and artificial wildlife islands
to provide food, cover and nesting habitat
for wildlife.
Personnel also assisted with the annual
snail kite survey in the Everglades Wildlife
Management Area. A fawn tagging program
was initiated to test the tooth wear and
replacement deer aging technique with 10
fawns captured, tagged, weighed and sexed.
Sixty-two alligator nests were located,
marked and monitored for productivity
and nesting success. In a continued effort
to band waterfowl in the Everglades, 378
ducks including 64 Florida ducks were cap-
tured, aged, sexed and banded.

The Bureau of Wildlife Resources
provides an array of public services. Tech-
nical assistance is provided to landowners
wanting information and guidance on wild-
life management practices. Animal damage
complaints and alligator control are
responsibilities of regional bureau staff
representatives. The bureau performs rou-
tine monitoring and population surveys of
game, nongame and endangered species.

White bis in flight

Wildlife Extension Services: White-
tailed deer are the most popular big game
animal in Florida, with the state's deer
population now standing at probably more
than 600,000 animals. The division assists
private landowners and lessees by provid-
ing guidelines on sound deer management.
Proper management of a growing deer
population requires the reduction of female
(doe) deer to maintain a herd within habi-
tat carrying capacity. Appoximately 438
private landowners controlling 3,826,254
acres were issued 9,273 tags for antlerless
The total deer harvest for Florida in
1983-84, on both private property and
public hunting areas, was estimated at
Florida Buck Registry: The registry,
established in 1982 to provide a meaning-
ful and understandable record of the
number and quality of white-tailed deer
taken in Florida, uses the scoring procedure
developed by the Boone and Crockett club.
To date, 416 bucks have been scored, and
352 have scored 100 or more points, which
qualified them for the registry. The largest
thus far scored was 1681/ points and was
taken in Gadsden County.
Nuisance Wildlife Control: Bureau
biologists investigated numerous requests
from farmers and citrus grove owners
regarding damages inflicted by whit-etailed

deer. Staff also handled a constant flow of
requests and complaints from the public
concerning blackbirds, treefrog choruses,
woodpeckers on houses, snakes, raccoons,
foxes and others. The major portion of the
complaints originated from people in the
Everglades and South regions. Biologists
also received many contacts from farmers
and grove owners in the Northwest, North-
east and Central regions concerning crop
depredations by deer. Many of these were
resolved by recommending a harvest of
part of the doe population in the imme-
diate area during the regular hunting sea-
son. However, 74 permits were issued out-
side the established hunting season to
remove deer causing significant crop
Alligator Management: The large pop-
ulation of American alligators in Florida
has resulted in human safety concerns, loss
of domestic animals, and a reduction of
recreational use of areas where large alliga-
tors are present.
The Commission conducted an exper-
imental alligator control program during
1977 and 1978 in the Northeast Region to
test a control method using contracted
trappers to capture nuisance alligators.
Information from this experimental pro-
gram was used to establish a statewide nui-
sance alligator program in 1978 using con-
tracted trapper-agents.




S1-. 4

Banding pelicans for research study

There are now 55 contracted alligator
agents working under special agreement
with the Commission. During 1983-84,
there were 6,118 complaints received and
2,150 nuisance alligators harvested.
Waterfowl Management: The 1978-79
Florida Legislature passed a bill requiring
all persons who hunt wild ducks in the
state to possess a Florida Waterfowl
Stamp. During this fiscal year, 23,296
stamps were sold, generating about
$49,000 for waterfowl management
The third experimental special Sep-
tember duck season was held September
24-28. Results of a mail questionnaire indi-
cate that 5,506 hunters harvested 21,825
ducks (primarily wood ducks and teal).
The special season has generated an addi-
tional 13,000 hunter-days of recreation
Concern over declining Florida duck
(mottled duck) numbers has stimulated
improvements in the management of that
species. With partial funding provided by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the first
experimental mottled duck spring popula-
tion survey was conducted in 1984 to
determine annual trends in abundance. In
addition, increased banding efforts should
lead to a better understanding of Florida
duck mortality.
The staff of the Waterfowl Manage-
ment Program continues to serve on the
technical subcommittee of the Governor's
Working Group on Mosquito Control.
Responsibilities include reviewing mos-
quito impoundment management plans
with a view toward enhancing waterfowl
habitat benefits.
While duck hunting opportunities are
available on many wildlife management
areas, the Commission manages the IMC
(Polk County), M-K Ranch (Gulf County),
and Hickory Mound (Taylor County) areas

primarily for waterfowl. Waterfowl stamp
revenues were used to partially fund water
and vegetation management activities, and
the waterfowl management staff assists with
management planning.
Because of concern over an apparent
decline in ring-necked ducks, existing data
were reviewed to determine its status.
Inconsistencies in midwinter inventory
methodology probably account for declin-
ing counts in that survey. Other factors
suggest a stable or slightly increasing ring-
neck population in the Southern Atlantic
Flyway. Management program personnel
are also involved in an ongoing ring-necked
duck banding effort which will provide
additional information on possible changes
in the status and abundance of that species.

Research on various endangered spe-
cies continued and is reflected in the
"Wildlife Research" section of this report.
Technical assistance concerning
endangered wildlife was provided for state,
federal and local agencies, private consult-
ing firms, conservation groups and the gen-
eral public. Recommendations were pro-
vided on ways to avoid or mitigate
potential adverse effects that a planned
development project might have on endan-
gered species. A separate endangered spe-
cies report was prepared and presented to
the 1984 Legislature.

Wildlife research addresses problems
associated with management of Florida
wildlife, with emphasis on the development
of new techniques and life history studies
that provide knowledge essential for devel-
opment of effective management practices.
Bureau of Wildlife Research staff at the

Black skimmer

Wildlife Research Laboratory in Gaines-
ville and the Fisheating Creek Field
Research Station study alligators and other
reptiles, waterfowl, feral hogs, black bears,
Florida panthers and other endangered
wildlife, wood storks and many other
important wildlife species. Although many
studies are long-term and complex, it is the
goal of the Bureau to provide research
information to management operations of
the agency in a timely manner.
Progress: SNAIL KITE. The annual snail
kite survey was conducted during
December with 434 kites observed. This
represents a 43.7 percent increase over the
previous year, and the major portion of the
birds (92.9 percent) was seen in Conserva-
tion Area 3A. While the snail kite appar-
ently exhibited a successful breeding year,
the increase also reflects better censusing in
the northern portion of Conservation Area
3A. Although water levels were at or
greater than normal, kites still have not
returned in large numbers to Lake Okee-
chobee and Conservation Area 2B. This is
probably the result of mortality associated
with the pre-1981 drought and the subse-
quent lack of adequate snail populations in
these two areas.
WOOD STORK. During 1984, 10
wood stork colonies and 1,249 nests were
monitored in north and central Florida.
Three additional colonies (Brewster, Plea-
sant Grove, and Mulberry) did not initiate
breeding and a fourth at Guana Lake was
abandoned. Three of the active colonies
exhibited decreases of 55-65 percent, com-
pared to past average nest numbers. The
remaining colonies contain nest numbers
similar to previous years. Though colony
size and breeding synchrony were variable,
the 1984 clutch sizes and fledging rates are
similar to 1981-1982, but lower than 1983.

itll) -

-~lr~P#f 71

Results of monitoring radio-
instrumented adults and color-dyed fledg-
lings indicate a random use of feeding sites
around individual colonies and a statewide
postbreeding dispersal pattern. Several
marked Florida fledglings have been
observed along coastal Georgia, with two
seen in South Carolina.
BLACK BEAR. Studies of black bear
food habits were completed and final
reports were prepared for publication.
Throughout the year, three radio-
instrumented bears were monitored to
determine their movements and preferred
habitats. This spring, four additional bears
were captured and outfitted with radio col-
lars. Data from hunter-killed and road-
killed bears have been tabulated and new
methods of population analysis based on
sex and age composition are being evalu-
ated. These methods appear promising for
indexing populations and assessing the
impact of hunting regulations.
The Commission hosted the Seventh
Eastern Black Bear Workshop at Homo-
sassa Springs in March 1984. The work-
shop is held every two years and is
attended by bear managers and researchers.
This year 60 individuals representing 16
states, six universities, and several federal
agencies met to discuss bear management
problems and programs.
lings were produced from four American
crocodile nests on Key Largo in 1983.
Sixty-three hatchling crocodiles were tagged
and released. Nest surveys in 1984 dis-
closed completed nests at six sites on Key
Largo. Growth rates and survival of tagged
crocodiles were monitored. One tagged
1978 hatchling, three tagged 1980 hatch-
lings, and four tagged 1982 hatchlings were
recaptured during 1983-84. Forty-one
tagged 1983 hatchlings were recaptured a
total of 75 times.
bog frog was first discovered in 1982. It
was found at 10 new localities this fiscal
year, bringing to 15 the known localities
for this species. All known populations are
associated with small streams draining high
sandhill habitats of southwestern Okaloosa
and southeastern Santa Rosa counties.
panthers were radio-monitored twice each
week during most of the past year. Field
surveys for panther sign were conducted in
the Bear Island Unit of the Big Cypress
National Preserve (BCNP), that portion of
the Fakahatchee Strand north of S.R. 84
and the Okaloacoochee Slough east and
west of S.R. 29. Sign of two previously
known females (both kitten siblings last
year) was observed. A radio-instrumented

adult female was found dead of unknown
causes in November. Two other previously
known, unmarked animals (an adult female
and an adult male) could not be detected
because of the presence of the kittens and a
radio-instrumented male which had moved
into the area, making sign identification
difficult. This male was captured and "re-
instrumented" in January.
Field surveys conducted in the Faka-
hatchee Strand south of S.R. 84 detected
an adult female who was subsequently cap-
tured and radio-collared in March. The
radio-collared male in this area was treed
but, because it appeared to be in poor con-
dition, the decision was made not to sub-
ject the animal to capture.

Red-cockaded IAoodpecker
Field surveys in the Monument Unit
East (BCNP) near Raccoon Point and the
Jetport detected sign of two adult male
panthers and one adult female. The female
was treed in February 1984 but was not
captured because she appeared to be in
poor condition.
Field surveys also confirmed sign of an
adult male panther in Palm Beach County
near the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Manage-
ment Area and an adult male on the refuge
portion of the Fisheating Creek Wildlife
Management Area in Glades County. The
panther health and reproductive studies
continued with the evaluation of blood and
parasite samples collected from the two
captured panthers, previously stored sam-
ples from other captured and road-killed
specimens, and a number of bobcats cap-
tured this season.
The Big Cypress panther/deer rela-
tionship study, and a review and analysis of
historic deer harvest records and popula-
tion trends in the Big Cypress area was
initiated. Biological data were collected

from harvested deer and hogs at mandatory
check stations during the 1983-84 hunting
seasons, and preparations made to initiate a
24-month schedule of field collections of
doe deer for intensive biological
The Big Cypress public-use survey
began in July 1983 with a mail survey ques-
tionnaire sent to randomly selected quota
hunt recipients in the BCNP. In addition,
field surveys were conducted to determine
the number and distribution of users. Four
hunter check stations were operated on a
full-time basis, vehicles were surveyed
weekly, and area users were personally
interviewed when encountered in the field.
The Florida Panther Record Clearing-
house received, categorized, and filed 263
panther reports this year for a total 1,719
reports now on file. Three reports (one
percent) provided conclusive evidence of
panthers. Computer coding of the radio-
telemetry data from the first three years of
the study and the clearinghouse data was
HOG. A total of 685 hogs were cap-
tured during 270 trap-nights on the
Fisheating Creek study area. This is the last
year of a five-year study designed to evalu-
ate the population dynamics of a selectively
harvested hog population, as related to
harvest strategies, food availability, and
water levels. Final reports are now in
of the 1983-84 waterfowl gizzard survey
revealed that 9.4 percent of 1,653 ducks
examined had ingested spent shot pellets.
For the first time, this sample included
substantial numbers of (235) ducks col-
lected during the special September season,
primarily blue-winged teal and wood
ducks. Only 2.6 percent of these ducks had
ingested pellets with 2.1 percent ingesting
lead and 0.4 percent ingesting steel. During
the regular duck season, however, 10.6
percent of 1,418 ducks had ingested
pellets. The fact that more than half of all
ducks that had ingested shot had ingested
nontoxic steel shot was encouraging.
Although lead ingestion continues to be
more prevalent than steel ingestion, the
occurrence of ingested lead is decreasing
each year and the increase in ingested non-
toxic steel represents significant progress in
reducing the toxic lead problem in Florida's
The wood duck parasite tag technique
developed by the Commission is now being
used in all southern Atlantic Flyway states
to estimate the percentage of northern
migratory wood ducks shot during early
duck seasons. An estimated 2.5 percent of
Florida's early season harvest migrated



~..i ir
-~~ ~ 51

from the northern United States and Can-
ada. This figure was lower than in previous
years (18.8 percent in 1982 and 7.5 per-
cent in 1981) and probably reflected
increases in production of local Florida
wood ducks in response to better breeding
conditions during 1983.
toise research during the year focused on
population dynamics, status, and harvest
levels. To date, 248 tortoises have been
marked and measured on two north Florida
study sites. As in previous years, all female
tortoises were X-rayed to determine clutch
size. Data generated from this long-term
mark-recapture study will be used to
determine population structure, growth
rates, reproductive trends and juvenile sur-
vival. Surveys have revealed that tortoise
populations in Florida are being impacted
by urbanization, agriculture, phosphate
mining, forestry practices and human
WILD TURKEY. A technical bulletin
reporting the results of studies of Florida
wild turkeys conducted since 1968 is to be
published in late 1984. The main emphasis
of the 14-year research effort was on tur-
key nesting ecology, which will be the sub-
ject of one chapter. Other chapters will
deal with harvest management, life history
observations, and recommendations for
management and research.
BALD EAGLE. The statewide bald
eagle survey was conducted with 460 terri-
tories inventoried. There was a substantial
loss of early nests (perhaps as a result of
the December freeze), but many pairs relaid
and successfully fledged young. Preliminary
analysis of the 1983-84 nesting data
revealed that 329 active pairs produced
319 young from 227 successful nests.
These figures are consistent with those of
the past 11 years. The Florida bald eagle
population is estimated at 1,000 to 1,300
individuals and appears to be increasing
slightly in some areas, although declining in

BROWN PELICAN: As a result of
record low temperatures during the past
winter, several reports were received of pel-
icans that suffered frostbite and starvation.
Brown pelicans on both coasts were
affected as far south as Cocoa Beach on the
east coast and St. Petersburg on the west
Thirty-four young pelicans from the
colony in Bay County were banded again
this season by personnel from the North-
west Region. The colony is located farther
north and west than pelicans have ever
nested in Florida, and could form a link
with the restored Louisiana population.
SANDHILL CRANES. During spring
1984, greater (migratory) sandhill crane
eggs were placed in six Florida (nonmigra-
tory) sandhill nests. Two of the clutches
(one egg each) hatched and both chicks
survived the first few weeks. One chick
died at five weeks of age; the other chick
was captured and banded during June
1984. Of the four clutches that failed, one
was abandoned and three others were incu-
bated but did not hatch.
This year, 95 sandhill cranes were
trapped on or near Paynes Prairie in Ala-
chua County. Radios were replaced on six
Florida cranes and four new adults with
seven adult pairs now radio-instrumented.
One radio-instrumented 13-year-old female
died during the nesting season. The migra-
tory chick reared by Florida sandhill cranes
last year was captured and radio-
instrumented. This bird has remained in
the vicinity of Paynes Prairie; it did not
migrate. Its behavior and movements have
been comparable to those of normal Flor-
ida sandhill crane subadults. Results from
these studies will be used to determine the
feasibility of establishing a nonmigratory
population of whooping cranes in Florida.
Additionally, the project will receive spe-
cial funding during the next three years
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Sandhill crane populations hare been studied.

experimental harvest of alligators continued
on Orange, Lochloosa, and Newnans lakes
as part of a study to determine the feasibil-
ity of a controlled harvest on a sustained-
yield basis. A harvest of 11 percent of the
four-foot and larger alligators on these
lakes yielded 277 alligators. This produced
1,926 feet of hides and nearly 10,000
pounds of meat having a total market value
of $73,000. Average hide price increased
from $9.60 per foot in 1982-83 to $15.83
in 1983-84. Twenty hunters participated in
the harvest, taking an average of 14 alliga-
tors for an average income of $3,196 per
The experimental harvests since 1981
made carcasses available for scientific study
and provided an opportunity to determine
alligator food habits by stomach analysis.
Examination of 350 stomachs showed fish
(gar, bowfin, and gizzard shad) and reptiles
(turtles) to be the most important food
items. Twenty alligator hatchling tags were
found, suggesting that cannibalism may be
more common than originally thought.
Surveys for alligator nests on Orange
and Lochloosa lakes located 105 sites.
Despite the removal of 108 female alliga-
tors during the experimental harvest, this is
close to the nesting effort in 1982 when
102 nests were found. So far, the harvest
seems to have had very little impact on alli-
gator nesting.
To determine the feasibility of alligator
ranching, the 1983-84 farm supplement
study removed 5,180 eggs and 749 hatch-
lings (50 percent of the estimated produc-
tion) from Lakes Griffin, Jessup, and
Apopka. A 44 percent hatching rate
resulted in a total of 3,022 hatchlings trans-
ferred to farms.




45 ii j-

'> S'

The news and information portion of
OIS has continued to communicate wildlife
and hunting information to the public
through the print news media.
Progress: During this fiscal year, OIS, from
its Tallahassee headquarters and five
regional offices, continued to initiate and
respond to an increasing number of
requests for information from the media
and general public. Written news releases
are the backbone of OIS's public informa-
tion program. More than 350 separate
news releases were distributed to the media
and interested groups and organizations.
Topics ranged from hunting information
and regulations, Commission policies and
programs, to feature stories about outdoor
topics and Commission activities. Such
news releases are used on a regular basis by
outdoor writers for daily and weekly news-
papers throughout the state.
Information officers also assisted
reporters and editors who were preparing
outdoor-related stories, by providing them
with information and materials. All six
offices continued to respond to hundreds
of telephone inquiries on a daily basis. A
majority of these telephone calls were for
general outdoor information; however, a

portion of such calls resulted in mailing
information or other follow-up activities.
In addition, OIS responded to several
thousand written requests for information.
This section of OIS also handles spe-
cial and on-going projects including: coor-
dinating the Wildlife Alert program; pub-
licizing National Hunting and Fishing Day;
and promoting the Florida panther research
Regional officers and other OIS staff
maintained and increased contact with
sportsmen and conservation clubs, and
other interested organizations throughout
the state. More than 200 speeches and
presentations were delivered on a variety of
outdoor topics and Commission programs.
As another function of OIS's public
outreach program, some 32 exhibits were
prepared and manned at fairs and events in
the state. Reserve officers assisted in staff-
ing many of the displays.
Radio interviews and television pro-
grams were used extensively to publicize
activities and programs. Regional education
officers appeared in or coordinated 128
television appearances and 169 radio
interviews and programs during the fiscal

Of the types of communication avail-
able to the Commission for informing and
educating the public, the electronic media,
specifically television and radio, are among
the most effective forms available.
Progress: Special emphasis this year was
placed on the distribution of photographs
of Commission programs and activities to
the print media. These were in the form of
pre-screened photographs which accom-
panied news releases or with separate cap-
tions. Each of these mailings resulted in
exposure to a circulation of more than
The recent production of a new Wild-
life Alert public service announcement
(PSA) brings to 12 the number now util-
ized by Florida television stations. These
spots on various subjects are aired by 60
percent of the television stations in the
state. Additional television coverage was
arranged on special Commission projects
such as Wildlife Alert, wood stork
research, and the Lake Talquin drawdown
project. Some projects appeared on news
programs while others were featured on
documentaries. The Lake Talquin project
was also included in the nationally syndi-
cated Roland Martin outdoor program.




As a rule-making body, the Commission is charged with the creation and
enforcement of wildlife and fishery regulations. As a public trustee of Florida's
freshwater aquatic life and wildlife, the Commission seeks a balance between
maintaining a healthy environment in which wildlife may exist, and meeting the
demands of the public to enjoy and use these natural resources.
The Office of Informational Services (OIS) has several responsibilities in its
role of supporting Commission activities and policies. Information about existing
and new regulations must be made available to the public on a regular and timely
basis. Through the mass media, OIS promotes the use of the outdoors by various
segments of the public. Although the delivery of information is the most
conspicuous activity, the underlying theme of all programs is education. Through
education programs, OIS strives to increase the level of awareness and
understanding that Florida citizens have about the Commission's programs and
In addition to its overall public information responsibilities, OIS also
coordinates several specific programs. These activities include: acting as
legislative liaison for the Commission; coordinating programs such as the Hunter
Education series, Wildlife Reserve, Endangered Species Education, and the
Wildlife Alert program; and publishing FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine.

Ucala rYooutt L;ani

Radio stations were sent 30 PSAs on
subjects such as the panther, hunter educa-
tion, alligators, and fishing. These spots
were aired by 58 percent of the 340 sta-
tions in Florida. A PSA on fishing won
second place in the Association for Con-
servation Information national
A new slide/tape series, "Deer Man-
agement for the Private Landowner," was
produced and distributed to all regional
Commission offices. An additional series,
"Save a Place for Wildlife," was also dupli-
cated and made available which brings to
19 the slide/tape series available for use by
Commission personnel and the public.
Production assistance was provided to
the American Fisheries Society for a series,
"Aquatic Habitat and Fishery Resources"
and for a law enforcement presentation on
the proposed training academy dormitory.

The Commission operates two youth
conservation camps in the state located in
Ocala and West Palm Beach. Florida
youths, ages 8 to 14, attend one week ses-
sions at the camps during the summer
months. The camps, located in wilderness
areas, allow youths to experience and
develop an interest in Florida's unique nat-
ural environment. Basic and advanced edu-
cational programs stress outdoor skills,
conservation practices, and responsible use
of natural resources.

Progress: During the 1984 summer ses-
sions, 1,692 youths attended the camps.
Efforts continue to upgrade the outdoor
facilities and improve the camper's
As part of a continuing effort to
improve the camps, the staff developed an
operational manual which outlines all
duties and responsibilities of the staff as
well as standardizes the operation of the
two facilities. The curriculum has also been
improved with the addition of the
advanced curriculum. The physical facilities
have also been continually upgraded and
In addition, the two camps received
assistance from Commission volunteer
employees. Not only is the program cost-
saving, but also allows campers to benefit
from the wealth of knowledge and special
expertise of Commission personnel.
During the remainder of the year, the
camps are popular meeting spots for a var-
iety of conservation, civic and govern-
mental organizations. Groups that use the
camps include: Boy and Girl Scout troops,
the American Red Cross, local school
boards, University of Florida, Central Flor-
ida Community College, Outdoor Adven-
ture, Dade County Conservation and Half-
Track Club, and Safari Club International
Conservation Club.
To better evaluate the youth camp
program, surveys were sent to a cross-
section of campers to obtain their recom-
mendations and general camping



FLORIDA WILDLIFE continues to be
the flagship of the Commission's public
information program and efforts. This
award-winning publication remains one of
the primary methods of communicating the
Commission's activities and goals to the
Progress: For the first time since 1976, the
cost of a subscription to FLORIDA
WILDLIFE increased as publication and
production expenses rose. With the price
increase, revenue for the fiscal year rose to
$129,640 as opposed to $119,520 in
1982-83. A corresponding promotion is
also under way to increase the number of
Significant improvements were made
in the circulation data systems, and the
number of complimentary issues decreased.
Changes were also instituted to streamline
subscriber relations and accounting proce-
dures. These new accounting procedures
allow for a truer picture of the actual cost
of the publication.
New procedures were also instituted in
the publications section which is responsi-
ble for producing, on an annual basis, the
Florida Hunting Handbook, wildlife man-
agement area summary and hunt maps for
the 57 wildlife management areas. Publica-
tions on general areas connected with fish
and wildlife are also produced and distrib-
uted. During 1983-84, OIS distributed
142,632 pieces of literature to the public
concerning fish and wildlife resources.
The OIS also coordinates the publica-
tion of materials with conservation and
sportsmen's organizations. Brochures on
specific topics have been produced by
organizations, and distributed by the
Commission as a public service. This
arrangement furthers the Commission's
goal of informing and educating Florida's

GFC Photograph by Jim Floyd

Youth Camp s1 educational and informative.

The Wildlife Alert reward program is
an outstanding example of how coopera-
tion between government and its citizens
can result in the protection and enhance-
ment of wildlife and fishery resources.
Established in November 1979, the pro-
gram has served as a vital supplement to
the Commission's regulation enforcement
Progress: OIS continues to be involved in
the promotion of Wildlife Alert. During
the previous fiscal year, 25 thousand
bumper stickers were printed, raising the
total printed since the program's inception
to 195 thousand.
Three public service announcements
for radio and one PSA for television were
produced and distributed during this
Thirty-two news releases concerning
Wildlife Alert were issued by OIS from
either the Tallahassee office or the regional
offices. In addition, regional public infor-
mation officers promoted Wildlife Alert
through 132 group presentations, 28 exhib-
its, 26 radio appearances, and 22 television
Two private organizations promoted
the program by underwriting the printing
of hunting season information cards bear-
ing a Wildlife Alert message. Federal Land
Bank Association/Production Credit Asso-
ciations of Florida paid for 300 thousand
general hunting season cards, and the Flor-
ida Bowhunters Council paid for 20 thou-
sand cards containing archery season

FLORIDA WILDLIFE magazine lent
its assistance to Wildlife Alert promotion
via public service advertising and articles in
the "Conservation Scene" portion of each
The Division of Law Enforcement and
OIS worked together to maintain an accu-
rate record of citizen reports, arrests and
reward figures. During the fiscal year,
$14,500 in rewards was paid to those
whose reports of violations resulted in 196
arrests. In addition, 497 arrests resulted
from callers who declined rewards.
The Wildlife Alert Reward Associa-
tion, a 13-member panel appointed by the
Executive Director, met four times at var-
ious locations during the year to oversee
the program with OIS handling the arrange-
ments. Minutes of each meeting were pre-
pared by OIS and distributed to Associa-
tion members and appropriate Commission
Through the voluntary contributions
of concerned citizens plus fines made pay-
able to Wildlife Alert by the judicial sys-
tem, the reward fund increased by $15,961
during fiscal year 1983-84.

As another example of government.
citizen cooperation, the Wildlife Reserve
program allows the involvement and assis-
tance of citizens in the Commission's
enforcement mission. The reserve volun-
teers allow the Commission unusual flexi-
bility in the distribution of manpower,
enforcement coverage, and manning of spe-
cial projects.
Progress: As of June 30, 1983, there were
more than 200 active reservists statewide
with a force of 300 anticipated.
In general, reservists participated in
major regional activities for all divisions,
ending the fiscal year statewide with 58,583
hours. This is an average of close to 5,000
hours per month.
Hours donated by reservists to the
Commission equate to $408,223.51 worth
of time to Commission activities. That fig-
ure is based on $6.97 per hour, the hourly
wage of a game/fish management specialist
and a wildlife officer.
To assist the Commission better, each
GFC division on the regional level has
presented its needs for additional projects
to the volunteers at monthly training ses-
sions. The program in the past year has
started to stabilize in this, its fourth year of
full statewide staffing. Training has inten-
sified and deals with specific areas, rather
than general information as in prev\ io
The reserve program will be trans-
ferred to the Division of Law Enforcement
during fiscal year 1984-85 as part of that
division's training section.

Wildlife Reservists help officers in the field.

GFC Photograph by Stan Kirkland

Raptor rehabilitator Doris Mager and her golden e


The Hunter Education program's main
goal is to reduce hunting accidents and help
make this safe sport safer. But the program
does more than that; it helps set a role
model for the hunter by outlining ethical
and conservation use of our wildlife. The
training that students receive gives them a
better understanding of the hunter's role
and of the problems facing wildlife today.
Progress: Classes are taught throughout the
state by volunteer certified instructors.
These instructors donated more than
26,940 hours to the Commission. This
time had a dollar value of $149,782.83
when used as matching funds for federal
aid. More than 10,000 Floridians partici-
pated in this 15-hour free course.
Range constructions are continuing
under this program, making safe shooting
facilities available for both Hunter Educa-
tion courses and the general public. A new
range was built in the Apalachicola
National Forest with the cooperation of the
U.S. Forest Service. This brings to five the
total number of ranges operated by the
Commission for training hunters.
A special seminar for training Com-
mission personnel and the public in the
techniques of steel shot shooting was held.
Over 100 sportsmen attended the two-day

State of Florida
Game & Fresh Water
Fish Commission


Endangered species are a diminishing
natural resource in our state. In many
cases, the key to preservation of these rare
animals is public understanding of the spe-
cies' plight. This program includes the crea-
tion of original songs and lyrics about the
animals, workshops and meetings with
environmental educators, and programs in
the state's school system.
Progress: Some 120 endangered species
awareness presentations were made during
the year, ranging in format from musical
programs and slide series to discussion
events. In addition, many interviews were
conducted with the media in the state.
More than 1,400 pieces of literature or
audio-visual materials on Florida's vanish-
ing wildlife were distributed at various
meetings and functions.
Working with the educational systems,
eight teacher workshops were conducted
during the year. General wildlife education
information, as well as specific endangered
species education materials, were presented
and distributed at numerous meetings.
There was an increase in use of the "Flori-
da's Endangered Wildlife" slide/tape pro-
gram by 4-H, club leaders and groups,
regional hunter education offices and inter-
ested organizations.
Project WILD, a national wildlife edu-
cation curriculum, was purchased for use
by the Commission. Plans are being final-
ized regarding the introduction of the pro-
gram into the state's school system.

Lake Wales
Winter Haven

Executive Director
620 S. Meridian St.
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
(904) 488-1960
Assistant Executive Director
Division of Administrative Services
Division of Law Enforcement
Division of Wildlife
Division of Fisheries
Environmental Services
Informational Services

Regional Offices
Northwest Region
T.L. GARRISON, Manager
Route 4, Box 759
Panama City, FL 32405
(904) 265-3676
Northeast Region
Route 7, Box 440
Lake City, FL 32055
(904) 752-0353
Central Region
1239 S.W. 10th St.
Ocala, FL 32674
(904) 629-8162
South Region
J.O. BROWN, Manager
3900 Drane Field Rd.
Lakeland, FL 33803
Everglades Region
O.G. KELLEY, Manager
551 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
(305) 683-0748



620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
(904) 488-1960


summerr days

This public document was promulgated at an annual cost of $3,659.00
or $1.83 per copy, to inform the public of Commission activities.