FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapes

FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapesFlorida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 06/19/2017 10:31 AM EDT

June 19, 2017

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHskZUQWTU

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FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapes

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a public meeting in July to provide information and gather input on the agency’s development of Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for the Florida burrowing owl.

The burrowing owl meeting is scheduled for July 6, 6 to 9 p.m., Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium Field House, 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill, FL 33311. The meeting will be an open-house format so members of the public are welcome to come and go at any time.

In January, the listing status of the Florida burrowing owl changed from Species of Special Concern to state Threatened, as part of rule changes implementing the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan approved in November 2016.

The meeting will focus primarily on the process for developing permitting guidelines and on interim permitting processes for Florida burrowing owls in urban areas. The burrowing owl’s habitat was once native dry prairies, but today this owl is as likely to be found in open areas of urban and suburban landscapes. They dig their own burrows, but also may move into the burrows of other species, such as the gopher tortoise, or occasionally inhabit manmade structures such as pipes and drains.

“The FWC is inviting the public to meet with us, ask questions and offer input about permitting guidelines and the regulatory process for burrowing owls,” said Craig Faulhaber, the FWC’s avian conservation coordinator. 

FWC staff at the meeting will provide information on the protections that apply to burrowing owls, the process of developing Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines, and the interim permitting process until guidelines for this species are in place.

The Florida burrowing owl lives primarily in peninsular Florida and is the only burrowing owl east of the Mississippi River. As one of 57 species in the Imperiled Species Management Plan, the burrowing owl has a Species Action Plan that describes its biology, habitats and the FWC’s goals and actions for conserving this threatened species.

FWC prepares residents for black bear encounters – News4Jax (WJXT)

Following a rash of black bear sightings in and around St. Johns County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosted a community meeting Thursday evening in Nocatee.
Wildlife officials geared residents up for summer — when experts said it’s likely there will be even more bear sightings.
During the meeting in the Nocatee Room of Crosswater Hall, FWC leaders reported that more than 3,000 black bears are currently roaming Florida — up from 300 in just a few decades. They also said bear-related calls increased by 6,000 over 13 years.

Manatee Downlisted from Endangered to Threatened; All Existing Federal Protections Remain in Place

On the heels of Manatee Appreciation Day, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the downlisting of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the species’ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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