Friday , April 29 2016
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Tag Archives: FWC

Gopher Tortoise – There is an App For You!

Pair of adults eyeing each other. Breeding season is from August-November. Photo by Jean Hall

Submitted No person shall take, attempt to take, pursue, hunt, harass, capture, possess, sell or transport a gopher tortoise or parts thereof, their eggs, molest, damage or destroy their burrow except by permit from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The month of March has been devastating for gopher tortoises in Marco Island. There were five gopher tortoises reported killed in March in an area that is highly populated by gopher tortoises. The gopher tortoise can live to be over 50 years old, but do not reproduce till they are 15-20 years old. The current generation is aging, and ... Read More »

Give Space to Nesting Shorebirds

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Submitted Shorebird nesting season is underway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds beachgoers to watch out for and to avoid disturbing birds and their young. Shorebirds build shallow nests out of sand and shells on beaches in spring and summer, hatching chicks that are difficult to see. Shorebird nests, eggs and chicks are well camouflaged and can easily be missed and even stepped on unless people know to look out for them. The snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson’s plover are several of Florida’s ... Read More »

Boaters – Look Out for Manatees

Submitted Taking their cues from the warm spring weather, Florida manatees have begun leaving their winter retreats and heading north along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters. So if you’re a boater enjoying spring days on the water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions you to look out for manatees and follow posted manatee zones. From April 1 through November 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being struck by motorboats or personal watercraft. FWC law enforcement officers will be on patrol in state waters ... Read More »

Sandbar Closed For Nesting Season

PHOTOS BY JEAN HALL Beverly Anderson Rookery Bay reserve biologist and Adam DiNuovo Audubon Shorebird stewardship coordinator.

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Audubon Florida, has closed the emergent sandbar located one mile southeast of Cape Romano, known as “Second Chance.” The sandbar, which is closed to public access annually from March 1 – August 31, was designated as a Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) by the FWC in November. “Protecting Florida’s wildlife and natural resources is our first priority,” said Rookery Bay Reserve Director Keith Laakkonen. “Taking steps to protect this habitat during the nesting season will increase the ... Read More »

A Sad Reminder: Dispose Fishing Line Properly

Monofilament carelessly left in the environment entangled this osprey,
resulting in death. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted A dead osprey was reported to be hanging from a pine tree near the fire station on San Marco Road this week. When city staff arrived, the osprey had already fallen to the ground. Its left talon was hooked by a circular fishing hook, and the body was wrapped by the line several times over with braided and monofilament fishing line. Even more heartbreaking, was the sight of the osprey’s partner perched in the tree over its dead mate. Reportedly, it was crying out for hours as its mate was hanging from the tree by the fishing line. Abandoned fishing ... Read More »

Smalltooth Sawfish Studied

Smalltooth sawfish rostrum on display at RBR Environmental Learning Center.

SUBMITTED Rookery Bay Reserve (RBR) regularly presents educational programs and lectures by local and visiting experts in various biological disciplines. On March 11 two lecturers shared the podium, Kelcee Smith from LSU who is studying the Smalltooth sawfish and Patrick O’Donnell of RBR who is studying sharks. The topic was sawfish, so Smith led off with a report of her research and O’Donnell followed with his observations of sawfish locally. Smalltooth sawfish grow to approximately 21 feet, are very strong and quite dangerous. Thus, the process of catching, taking the various measurements and tissue samples, tagging and releasing them is ... Read More »

Nesting Sea Turtles, Flashing Cell Phone Photos- A Bad Mix

SUBMITTED PHOTO
Nesting sea turtles are an amazing sight, but please - no flash photos.

Submitted Sea turtles digging their nests to lay eggs on Florida’s beaches face a new 21st century hazard: someone snapping a flash photo with a cell phone. March 1 is the official start of the sea turtle nesting season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds people not to take cell phone flash photos of sea turtles on the beach at night, because that can interfere with nesting. “It’s great that people are enjoying Florida’s beaches and are enthusiastic about our sea turtles,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the FWC’s sea turtle management program. “However, most visitors ... Read More »

Snook Reopens in Gulf Waters

The recreational harvest season for one of Florida’s premier fish  ? snook  ? reopened on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season will remain open through April 30. In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook ... Read More »

Collier County Manatee Zones Input

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is holding a public meeting on Monday, March 7, to gather public input on the potential need for changes to the existing manatee protection zones in Collier County. The meeting will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Collier County Growth Management Division (Room 609/610), 2800 North Horseshoe Drive in Naples. The FWC is working with Collier County and other local governments to determine whether updates are needed to manatee zones that were last reviewed and amended in 1997. The public meeting offers an opportunity for people to ask questions and provide information ... Read More »

FWC considers modifying 2016 Gulf recreational red snapper season

At its Feb. 10 meeting at the Florida Public Safety Institute near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a draft rule to modify the 2016 Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season. This newly proposed season will be considered for final approval at the FWC’s April Commission meeting in Jupiter. The newly proposed season would be open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting May 7. On May 28, the season would open continuously through July 10. Finally, the season would reopen for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day. This would provide for ... Read More »

FWC approves gag, black grouper size limit; gag season changes

At its Feb. 10 meeting at the Florida Public Safety Institute near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to the gag and black grouper minimum size limit and the gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters. The approvals include: Setting a 24-inch total length minimum size limit for recreational harvest of gag and black grouper in Gulf state waters Setting a June 1 through Dec. 31 recreational season for gag grouper in all state waters of the Gulf excluding Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties (which have their own season from April 1-June 30) and excluding Monroe ... Read More »

FWC Law Enforcement COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Sushil along with Officers Kleis, Lugg, Polly, Reams and Reith participated in a multi-agency Flex-Op with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.  The operation focused on safe driving, speed enforcement, resource protection and drug interdiction in the Panther Zones located on State Road 29 and along I-75.  Collier County Sheriff’s Office provided units from multiple districts, along with support from their K-9 and Aviation teams.  The operation was a huge success with a total of 11 citations issued, 59 written warnings and 3 physical arrests being made. Officers Araujo and Barringer attended a United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla meeting.  ... Read More »

FWC Law Enforcement COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Polly and Reams were conducting traffic enforcement in a Panther Zone off of County Road 850.  Officer Reams observed a vehicle coming up from the rear of his patrol car at a high rate of speed.  Officer Reams proceeded to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle for unlawful speed and when he asked the driver of the vehicle for his driver license, the driver was unable to provide one.  FWC’s Dispatch confirmed with the officers that the driver had never been issued a Florida driver license and had no other driver licenses on file.  The subject was arrested ... Read More »

2016 Python Challenge™ Invasive Species Festival

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The 2016 Python Challenge™ is a conservation effort that includes public outreach on invasive species and a month-long competition to remove Burmese pythons from public lands in Florida. Visit PythonChallenge.org for more information about the 2016 Python Challenge™, including information on the unique Everglades ecosystem, and details about the 2016 Python Challenge™ Python Removal Competition, including competition and area rules, how to register, and training opportunities. Free in-person, hands-on trainings will be offered through Feb. 6. To report nonnative fish and wildlife, call the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1(888-483-4681), report your sighting online at IveGot1.org or download the IveGot1 smartphone app. For more information ... Read More »

Learn how to catch a python with free hands-on training in Fort Myers, Naples

People who live in southwest Florida can learn to identify and safely capture Burmese pythons at upcoming 2016 Python Challenge™ in-person training sessions in Lee and Collier counties. Training for Lee County is on Dec. 20 at the Olga Community Center in Fort Myers, with both morning and afternoon sessions. Can’t make it to the December training? You can still sign up for training in Collier County on Jan. 19 at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples. For those who can’t make the west coast trainings, more sessions are offered in different locations throughout south Florida in December, January and February. Training ... Read More »

FWC ‘releases’ snakes throughout Florida as part of 2016 Python Challenge™

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is conducting a Virtual Snake Finding Mission, “releasing” toy snakes near popular Florida landmarks in an effort to raise awareness about nonnative species in Florida. The search for the toy snakes ? which are superimposed on pictures of Florida landmarks  ? is part of the 2016 Python Challenge™. The project allows people from all over the world to be part of this effort to reduce the negative impacts of nonnative species. Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8, people can visit Facebook.com/MyFWC for a clue to where one of the brightly-colored toy snakes is virtually hiding. The ... Read More »

Have fun helping wildlife, wild places when holiday shopping with FWC

There are gifts to show off your support of wildlife. Other gifts will help you carry on the tradition of spending time with family and friends on Florida’s beautiful beaches, waterways and wildlife conservation areas.   Check out our shopping list, because the holidays are almost here!   -Florida wildlife T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, art or other gifts are available at WildlifeFlorida.com. Strut apparel featuring your favorite species! Help conserve the Everglades by getting gear like the T-shirt that shows support for the2016 Python Challenge™. -A Florida fishing license or hunting license can be purchased online atGoOutdoorsFlorida.com, by calling 888-347-4356 or in stores. There are licenses for residents and visitors, ... Read More »

FWC approves Atlantic gray triggerfish size, bag limit changes

At its Nov. 18 meeting in Panama City Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to the gray triggerfish size and bag limits in Atlantic state waters. The approvals include: In Atlantic state waters: Changing the recreational and commercial minimum size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length and creating a 10-fish recreational bag limit Statewide: Changing the sale and import size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length These changes will go into effect on Saturday, Nov. 21. The changes were approved after stakeholders in southeast Florida expressed concerns that a 14-inch minimum ... Read More »

New CWA Protects Nesting Birds

A Wilson Plover nesting out on the Sand Dollar spit, Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area

Submitted A Collier County sandbar known as “Second Chance” was designated a Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The island, part of a larger shoal complex, is an important nesting site for Wilson’s plovers and state-listed least terns and black skimmers. From March 1 through August 31 the sandbar will be closed to public access; the least tern, Wilson’s plover and black skimmer nesting season. Second Chance hosted the largest least tern ground colony in the region for four of the last five years. It is also an important site for Wilson’s plovers and ... Read More »

FWC passes new stone crab trap regulation

At its September meeting in Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) amended its stone crab trap regulations for stone crab traps used in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. Beginning this year’s stone crab season, the use of round entrances (also known as throats or funnels) will no longer be allowed for stone crab traps used in state or federal waters off these three counties. The changes will also require that the rectangular or rounded rectangular entrances typically used in stone crab traps be no larger than 5½ by 3 1/8 inches at the most narrow portion of ... Read More »