The mission of The Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society is to serve and represent wildlife professionals in promoting wildlife conservation, biodiversity, and resource stewardship.
Happy New Year! I am looking forward to a productive, meaningful 2016 as we continue to positively impact Florida’s wildlife resources. Our new Executive Board and committee chairs are an enthusiastic, no-nonsense group that has already made great progress on several fronts that will propel us into the new year. To mention a few: We are in the process of improving our membership records database so that we can better use you and your skills, our greatest assets, to achieve the Chapter’s mission. (If you are unfamiliar with our mission, please go to www.fltws.org and read it. It is important.) We will also be able to more easily remind you to pay your membership dues!
Our membership committee recently sent out a survey to almost 1,500 wildlife professionals and students. The response was very good and we are using the results to help design future meetings and Chapter endeavors. Plans are well underway for our Spring 2016 meeting. Look at the Chapter website for the date, location, hotel information, and other important details. It’s going to be great!
Claire Sunquist Blunden, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) employee since 2010, has received the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ 2015 Mark J. Reeff Memorial Award that recognizes a young professional for outstanding service in the conservation of fish and wildlife resources.
“This award is a huge honor,” said Commission Chairman Brian S. Yablonski. “Claire has done an excellent job working on the Imperiled Species Management Plan ̶ a first-of-its-kind conservation tool. We are very proud of Claire.”
Blunden’s work was commended by the association for being far-reaching and significant to conservation in Florida, particularly for state and federally listed species.
In the early 1900s, wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) populations declined significantly throughout the United States, due to habitat destruction and unregulated subsistence hunting. As late as the Great Depression, fewer than 30,000 wild turkeys remained in the entire United States. Early restoration efforts focused on releasing pen-raised birds, but efforts were met with extreme disappointment due to poor survival rates among the pen-raised birds. This approach hampered the wild turkey's comeback for nearly two decades. It took the creation of the cannon net before wildlife agencies could successfully begin restoration of wild turkey populations by trapping and transferring large flocks of wild turkeys to areas of suitable habitat. Wild turkeys currently occupy 99 percent of suitable habitat in North America. Today more than 7 million birds can be found throughout North America thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.
Gainesville, Fla., Jan. 14, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 115 high-impact projects across all 50 states, including Florida, will receive more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program, administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service .
The program’s public-private partnership enables companies, communities and other non-government entities to further conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife on a regional scale. Partners provide matching funding, with the total budget to be spent in five years.
The House passed a bill (H.R.5069) in November that would increase the price of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps-better known as Ducks Stamps-from $15 to $25. Duck Stamps are permits required to hunt waterfowl in the United States, and the revenue collected from their sale goes straight to wetland conservation through land purchases and easements. Many National Wildlife Refuges were funded in part or in full by Duck Stamp revenue.