“Florida is charting an ambitious new path for wildlife conservation success on a statewide scale,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “Seeing a roseate spoonbill wading in shallow waters, a black skimmer resting on the beach or a Big Cypress fox squirrel sitting in a pine tree is an essential part of the Florida experience. This innovative plan is designed to keep imperiled species like these around for many generations to come.”
Nine rules were revised in support of the ISMP, focusing on changes to listing status, adding authorizations in a management plan or Commission-approved guidelines, preventing possession of species coming off the list, and accomplishing overall rule cleanup and clarification. Among the nine rules, one rule affecting inactive nests of non-listed birds is still pending.
Under the rule change that updates species’ listing status:
- Fifteen species will no longer be listed as imperiled species because conservation successes improved their status: eastern chipmunk, Florida mouse, brown pelican, limpkin, snowy egret, white ibis, peninsula ribbon snake (lower Keys population), red rat snake (lower Keys population), striped mud turtle (lower Keys population), Suwannee cooter, gopher frog, Pine Barrens tree frog, Lake Eustis pupfish, mangrove rivulus and Florida tree snail. These species still are included in the plan for guidance in monitoring and conserving them.
- Twenty-three species are newly listed as state Threatened species, a change from their former status as Species of Special Concern: Sherman’s short-tailed shrew, Sanibel rice rat, little blue heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret, roseate spoonbill, American oystercatcher, black skimmer, Florida burrowing owl, Marian’s marsh wren, Worthington’s marsh wren, Scott’s seaside sparrow, Wakulla seaside sparrow, Barbour’s map turtle, Florida Keys mole skink, Florida pine snake, Georgia blind salamander, Florida bog frog, bluenose shiner, saltmarsh top minnow, southern tessellated darter, Santa Fe crayfish and Black Creek crayfish. Threatened species have populations that are declining, have a very limited range or are very small.
- Fourteen species keep their state Threatened status: Everglades mink, Big Cypress fox squirrel, Florida sandhill crane, snowy plover, least tern, white-crowned pigeon, southeastern American kestrel, Florida brown snake (lower Keys population), Key ringneck snake, short-tailed snake, rim rock crowned snake, Key silverside, blackmouth shiner and crystal darter.
- Five species remain Species of Special Concern: Homosassa shrew, Sherman’s fox squirrel, osprey (Monroe County population), alligator snapping turtle and harlequin darter.These species have significant data gaps, and the FWC plans to make a determination on their appropriate listing status in the near future.
Important things to know about the Imperiled Species Management Plan:
- It includes one-page summaries for each species, including a map of its range in Florida and online links to Species Action Plans. The 49 Species Action Plans contain specific conservation goals, objectives and actions for all 57 species.
- It also has Integrated Conservation Strategies that benefit multiple species and their habitats, and focus implementation of the plan on areas and issues that yield the greatest conservation benefit for the greatest number of species.
Fiddler’s Creek has been awarded its second consecutive Distinguished Emerald Club of the World designation, an honor attained by only 4 percent of all international private clubs.
“Receiving the Distinguished Emerald Club designation for two consecutive years demonstrates our efforts to continually elevate the club experience for our members and their guests,” said Aubrey Ferrao, CEO of Fiddler’s Creek Community LLC. “We are dedicated to providing exceptional amenities and service at Fiddler’s Creek, and this award recognizes and honors that commitment.”
Presented annually by BoardRoom magazine – considered the most influential trade publication in the private club industry – the Distinguished Emerald Club program recognizes clubs offering the most memorable membership experiences. Clubs are evaluated in 10 categories, including golf, dining, fitness and clubhouse.
“We congratulate Fiddler’s Creek on being named a Distinguished Emerald Club for the second year,” said John Fornaro, the publisher of BoardRoom, which designed the program to recognize and preserve the private club tradition. “Special recognition also goes to the management team, as well as the club’s board of directors, department heads and the entire staff, for their efforts in providing an excellent member experience.”
Potential clubs are peer-recommended by a committee of industry experts and top private club general managers. BoardRoom executives, who have visited more than 5,000 clubs worldwide, visited Fiddler’s Creek and used a proprietary club-specific rating system focusing on food and beverage service, golf operations and courses, tennis, aquatics, spa, and club facilities, as well as intangible qualities such as reputation, traditions, history and lore.
“Our members have always enjoyed an unrivaled experience at The Club & Spa at Fiddler’s Creek,” said Ron Albeit, general manager. “Being named a Distinguished Emerald Club truly is one of the top honors a private club can receive. It really gives our members bragging rights.”
Fiddler’s Creek’s signature 18-hole Creek Course, designed by acclaimed golf course architect Arthur Hills, has created legendary moments since its opening in February 2002. Named among Golfweek Magazine’s Top 100 Best Residential Golf Courses in the country for 12 consecutive years, the course was designed within existing marshlands, nature preserves, creeks and waterways in the 4,000-acre Fiddler’s Creek, a luxury master-planned community on Collier Boulevard on the way to Marco Island.
The Creek Course and Fiddler’s Creek also have received recognition in Links magazine as one of America’s 100 Premier Properties, Travel + Leisure Golf magazine’s America’s Top 100 Golf Communities, and GolfCourseRealty.com’s Top 10 Best Residential Courses in the Sunshine State.