2012 Commission Meetings

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June, 2012 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am
Dates: June 27 - 28, 2012
Place: The PGA National Resort
400 Avenue of the Champions
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
(800) 863-2819

This meeting is open to the public

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing ample opportunity for public input at each Commission meeting. As standard practice, the Commission will welcome public input regarding agenda items using the approved speaker registration process and time limits. To accommodate as much input as possible from those attending, the Chairman reserves the right to designate the amount of time given to each speaker, including time donation to other speakers. 

With regard to public comment on subjects that are not on the agenda, the Commission will have time on the agenda during one day of each meeting. Those who wish to offer comments during this period will be asked to make sure their comments are not related to any agenda item. The day for comment regarding items not on the agenda will be identified when the agenda is posted.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting should notify the agency at least five calendar days before the meeting by calling 850-488-6411.  Contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (Voice) if you are hearing or speech impaired.

Agenda items listed under headings other than “Items Requiring Action” may be re-ordered or moved by the Chairman to different days of the meeting to accommodate scheduling issues. The Chairman may also ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day. Please plan accordingly.

The meeting may include fact-finding field trips to Commission-managed areas or facilities; or to other areas to learn about management and enforcement activities.

If any person decides to challenge any decision with respect to any matter considered at the meeting, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which includes testimony and evidence upon which the challenge is based.

For information on lodging and restaurants within the area, you may call the North Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce at 561-746-7111, or visit their website at npbchamber.com.


8:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 27

  1. Meeting Opening 
    1. Call to Order and Invocation
    2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
    3. Special Staff Presentation on FWC and the Military
    4. Recognitions and Invited Guests (Employee Introductions)
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approval of May 2-3, 2012, Commission Meeting Minutes (May Meeting Minutes - Draft)
    2. Approval of Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approval of Consent Agenda
  3. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Staff Reports
    Review and discussion of the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area Science Plan 5-Year Report. (5-Year Report)
  5. Items Requiring Action
    1. Bear Management Plan with Rules – Staff will present the revised Black Bear Management Plan and request final Commission approval. (Bear Management Plan Proposed Rule Presentation)
      1. 68A-4.009 – Florida Black Bear Conservation – The proposed rule prohibits unauthorized take of black bears, requires permits authorizing intentional take of bears must be for scientific or conservation purposes, and affirms that Commission will engage with private landowners and regulating agencies to guide future land use so that it is compatible with the goals and objectives of the plan. (Notice of Change)
      2. 68A-27.003 – Designation of Endangered Species; Prohibitions The proposed rule change removes the black bear from the State-designated Threatened species list. (Notice of Proposed Rule 68A-27.003)
    2. Changes to Species Status – In 2010, changes were approved by the Commission to the Procedures for Listing and Removing Species from Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species List. Species which are native to Florida and which are designated as Endangered or Threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. and rules thereto will be listed by the Commission as a Florida Endangered and Threatened Species by virtue of the federal designation. If a species native to Florida is added or reclassified under the ESA, and is a species within the Commission’s constitutional authority, the species shall be so listed or reclassified in the Florida Endangered and Threatened Species rule pursuant to the notice provisions of Subsection 120.54(6), F.S., relating to adoption of federal standards. (Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species List Rule Amendments)
      1. 68A-27.003, Designation of Endangered Species; Prohibitions – Staff will propose changing the status of four species of butterflies in response to a federal designation. Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) will be moved from paragraph (2) of this rule into paragraph (1). Three additional species, the Cassius blue (Leptotoes cassius theonus), Ceraunus blue (Hemiargus ceraunus antibubastus), and Nickerbean blue (Cyclargus ammon) butterflies will be added to paragraph (1). Staff will also propose changing the status of the Okaloosa darter (Etheostoma okaloosae) from endangered to threatened in response to a change in status on the federal list.  Finally, staff will propose adding the Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) to this list in response to a federal designation.
      2. 68A-27.005, Designation of Species of Special Concern; Prohibitions; Permits – Staff will propose removing the Atlantic Sturgeon from the Designation of Species of Special Concern state list.

        NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments (Item B) pursuant to the provisions of s. 120.4(6), which provides a process for adoption of federal standards without further hearing.
    3. Final Rules - Hunting (FWC Managed Areas Presentation)
      1. 68A-15.062, Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas – North Central Region – Prohibit the take of wild hogs by the use of dogs on Big Bend Wildlife Management Area – Spring Creek Unit. (Final Rule 68A-15.062)
      2. 68A-14.001, Establishment Orders – Clarify that the Executive Director may create special regulations on established FWC managed areas to take advantage of situations where hunting or fishing opportunities are available due to unique circumstances or the need for quick action not afforded through the formal rulemaking process. When such special circumstances exist that require rapid action to provide the opportunity to the public, an executive order would be used. (Final Rule 68A-14.001) (Policy)

         NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments (Items (1) and (2)) and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendments are approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  6. Staff Reports
    1. Quota Hunts – Major changes in the quota hunt permit system prohibiting transferability of permits and allowing for guest permits were approved by the Commission at its February 2009 meeting in Destin, Florida. Those changes went into effect during the following hunting season and are scheduled to be repealed in December 2012, unless the Commission directs staff to prepare draft rule amendments to change the date or change the quota hunt rule. Staff will provide a report on results of the quota hunt permit system changes from the last 3 years. Staff has been working with stakeholders regarding proposals to improve the quota hunt system. Staff will seek Commission direction to continue to work with stakeholders and draft rules to improve the system and repeal the sunset provisions in 68A-15.005, Florida Administrative Code. (Quota Hunt Update Presentation)
    2. Report on the Transition to the New License Vendor (New License System Presentation)
  7. Special Recognitions
    1. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year Award
    2. Wildlife and Resource Management Achievement Award presented by the Florida Sportsmen’s Conservation Association
  8. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  9. Commissioner Exchange
  10. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, June 28, Reconvene

  11. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Adoption of Resolution recognizing 75th Year of the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program
  12. Items Requiring Action
    1. Fishery Management Council Updates
      1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) – Staff will report on GMFMC actions from their June 18-22, 2012 meeting in Tampa, including: gray triggerfish, grouper seasons, dealer reporting, mackerel, and vermilion snapper. (Gulf Council Report Presentation)
      2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) – Staff will report on SAFMC actions from their June 11-15, 2012 meeting in Orlando, including: red snapper, warsaw grouper, speckled hind, mackerel, cobia, Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, shrimp, golden crab, black sea bass, and golden tilefish. (South Atlantic Council Report Presentation)
    2. Draft Rules
      1. Marine Life - The proposed draft rule would prohibit harvest of the giant Caribbean ("pink-tipped") sea anemone for three years, to allow the population to rebuild. Staff would reevaluate the status of the population prior to reopening harvest. Commercial landings of pink-tipped anemones have declined significantly over recent years and a temporary closure was requested by the marine life industry. Staff will also propose a series of other minor changes that will clarify the intent of several aspects of the marine life rule. (Marine Life Draft Rule)
        1. 68B-42.001, Purpose and Intent; Designation of Restricted Species; Definition of "Marine Life Species" – The proposed draft rule amendment would remove the unicorn filefish (Aluterus monoceros), sand perch (Diplectrum formosum) and dwarf sand perch (Diplectrum bivittatum) from the definition of marine life. These species are not considered ornamental and are rarely targeted by marine life collectors. These species were inadvertently included in the rule because they belong to families which include other species which are commonly targeted by marine life collectors. This rule section would also be amended to change the definition of snapping shrimp to include all species in the family Alpheidae; this would ensure all ornamental snapping shrimp species found in the waters off Florida are included.
        2. 68B-42.002 Definitions – The proposed draft rule amendment would clarify that reef-building (Seballarid) tube worms are included in the definition of live rock.
        3. 68B-42.004 Size Limits – The proposed draft rule amendment would clarify that the current size limits for angelfishes extends to any hybrid forms of the listed species and that the size limits for angelfishes and butterfly fishes apply to all harvesters.
        4. 68B-42.005 Recreational Bag Limit – The proposed draft rule amendment would implement a temporary recreational bag limit of zero for the pink-tipped anemone.
        5. 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits – The proposed draft rule amendment would temporarily reduce the commercial harvest and possession limits for pink-tipped anemones to zero.
        6. 68B-42.009 Prohibition on the Taking, Destruction, or Sale of Marine Corals Sea Fans, and Non-erect, Encrusting Octocorals; Exception – The proposed draft rule amendment would extend the prohibitions already in place for other stony corals to black corals. Black corals are deep water species which occur almost exclusively in federal waters, where they are already protected. The proposed amendment would extend that protection to state waters.
      2. Bay Scallops Season Extension – The recreational harvest season for bay scallops has been extended the past two years with an Executive Order in order to relieve economic hardships on the communities surrounding the harvest areas that were impacted by the oil spill.  The 2011 fall survey shows the population in the harvest area is at a healthy level after two years of extended seasons. The draft rule amendment would extend the recreational harvest season for bay scallops for two weeks.

        68B-19.003, Statewide Open and Closed Seasons and Areas for Harvesting Bay Scallops – The proposed draft rule would extend the recreational harvest season for bay scallops from July 1 through September 10 to July 1 through September 24, annually. (Bay Sallop Presentation)

        NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment (Item (2)) and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  13. Additional Items Requiring Action – Boating

    Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program Ordinance – Staff will present a review of a proposed ordinance regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields in Sarasota County. Commission approval is necessary before the ordinance can be enforced. (Pilot program for regulation of mooring vessels outside of public mooring fields) (Sarasota Ordinance)

  14. Staff Reports

    Review and Discussion of the 2012 Florida Snook Stock Assessment (Snook Presentation)
  15. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  16. Commission Exchange
  17. Commission Administrative Matters
    1. Elections
    2. The next regular Commission meeting is scheduled on September 5-6, 2012, Tampa, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  18. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Rules relating to a change in squirrel hunting season.
    1. 68A-13.004, Open Season for Taking and Bag Limits for Non-Migratory Game and Issuance of Antlerless Deer Permits – Staff proposes to amend this rule to expand the gray squirrel season on private lands by about a month, opening the second Saturday in October and closing the first Sunday in March. The current season opens the second Saturday of November and closes 113 days thereafter. (Final Rule 68A-13.004)
    2. 68A-15.065, Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas – Northeast Region – The proposed rule amendment would amend the rule so that there is no change to the current opening of gray squirrel season on Lake Monroe WMA and the opening of small game season on Marshall Swamp WMA. (Final Rule 68A-15.065)
    3. 68A-17.005, Specific Regulations for Wildlife and Environmental Areas – The proposed rule amendment would amend the rule so that there is no change to the current opening of gray squirrel or small game seasons on Apalachicola River and L. Kirk Edwards WEAs. (Final Rule 68A-17.005)
  2. Review and approval of anticipated early season migratory bird hunting regulations for 2012-2013. This includes hunting season and bag limits for dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, snipe, Canada geese, and special September duck seasons. (Summary of Potential Changes to Early Migratory Bird Seasons)
  3. Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area, Stairsteps Unit – Review and approval of an Executive Order establishing deer hunting regulations for the 2012-13 season. (Draft Executive Order) (Big Cypress WMA, Stairsteps Unit)
  4. Draft Proposed Rules Relating to Funding for Aquatic Plant Management (Draft Rule Chapter 68F-20)
    1. 68F-54.001 Program Criteria and Standards - The rule amendment would clarify that the program operates as a contractual cost reimbursement program not a grants program. Clarifies that the Commission may contract with any government agency or private sector company for aquatic plant management services. Eliminates reference to forms that are no longer used. Clarifies that if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved an herbicide label that does not require any potable water use restrictions then the application of that herbicide is not required to abide by the setback restrictions or the water treatment plant notification requirements established in this rule.
    2. 68F-54.003 Definitions – The rule amendment would eliminate definitions of terms not used in the rule and add definitions of new terms used in the rule. Modify definition of “Maintenance program” to comport with the statutory definition and place definitions in alphabetical order.
    3. 68F-54.0035 Waters Eligible and Eligibility Criteria for Aquatic Plant Management Funds – The rule amendment would eliminate reference to a form no longer used; add Commission-managed lands such as Fish Management Areas or Wildlife Management Areas, and state-owned springs or spring runs as areas eligible for funding.
    4. 68F-54.005 Approval, Allocation, and Disbursement Procedures for Aquatic Plant Management Funds – The rule amendment would clarify funding priorities and the reimbursement process.

FWC Facts:
Coyotes began expanding their range into the Southeast in the 1960s, reaching northwestern Florida in the 1970s.

Learn More at AskFWC