Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative


 Mission Statement:

Use the State Wildlife Action Plan and State Wildlife Grant funds to leverage resources with partners to sustain Florida’s legacy of native wildlife and their habitats.


Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (Initiative) is a program designed to combine effective statewide planning with regional partnership development to implement actions at the local level. The three main components of the Initiative are:

  1. State Wildlife Action Plan (Action Plan)
  2. Partnerships 
  3. State Wildlife Grant Program (SWG)

The Action Plan is a comprehensive, statewide plan for conserving the state's wildlife and vital natural areas for future generations. Partners are essential in identifying and prioritizing Initiative goals that implement the Action Plan. These goals direct the use of State Wildlife Grant funding and other FWC resources.


Meet Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative!

Initiative staff is housed in FWC regional offices, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, and FWC's headquarters in Tallahassee. The Wildlife Legacy Biologists are responsible for on the ground implementation of the Action Plan through the development of partnerships with scientists, businesses, landowners and volunteers that possess the necessary expertise to address the Initiative's 2012-2017 implementation goals and objectives.

Each Wildlife Legacy Biologist coordinates actions necessary to meet the Initiative's implementation goals and objectives, which fall under the following five categories:

The Initiative's ultimate goal is for Florida's conservation community to share ownership of the Action Plan, implement the conservation actions in the Action Plan, and pool financial resources to leverage cooperative conservation efforts.

We encourage you to reach out to the local staff member in your area to discuss how Initiative projects and goals align with your own. Visit the Contact page to find a staff member near you!



FWLI Action Plan Cover
2012 Action Plan Cover


Legacy Initiative Staff, 2015


Guiding Principles of the Initiative & the Action Plan:


Habitat-based Approach

Non-regulatory, proactive, incentive based

Partnership and
cooperatively driven

Build upon existing information and efforts

Healthy wildlife = Healthy people




Shoreline seine sampling at the Chassahowitzka River, Courtesy of Matthew Lauretta, UF (see the project abstract)
Sherman’s fox squirrel, Courtesy of Steve Glass, FWC (see the Winter 2013 Legacy Newsletter to learn about the ongoing SWG-funded effort to conserve fox squirrels)
NE Florida Resource Management Support Team crew member applying fire to a sandhill community with a drip torch, Courtesy of Parker Titus, TNC (SWG Project Poster)


Why State Wildlife Action Plans?

Historically, the primary support and focus for wildlife conservation and management within the United States has come from state hunting and fishing interests and Federal Assistance programs for game species under the Pittman–Robertson, Dingell–Johnson and Wallop–Breaux Acts. In addition, the Endangered Species Act provides support to recover federally threatened and endangered species. Although these programs have been successful, the majority of wildlife species have unmet conservation needs and many are at risk of becoming imperiled.

To encourage a new conservation model of working towards managing species before they become imperiled, the U.S. Congress created the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program in 2000. This is the only federal program with the explicit goal of preventing endangered species listings. This program is dedicated to a holistic approach that includes all species, but is centered on conservation of species not encompassed by historical efforts. As a requirement of participating in the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, Florida joined the other 49 states and 5 U.S. territories by developing a State Wildlife Action Plan. For more information about Florida’s Action Plan, please visit the State Wildlife Action Plan page.

Formation of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative

To meet the intent of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program and to foster the Action Plan, the FWC created Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative uses the Action Plan, Florida’s SWG Program and resources made available through partnerships to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered and therefore more costly to protect. The Initiative also strives to take a habitat-based approach, rather than a species-specific approach, by researching, conserving and restoring habitats that multiple wildlife species can benefit from.



Acropora on a patch reef, Courtesy of Kris Netchy, FWC SWG project abstract


Eastern indigo snake at Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area


Scrub community in the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife Environmental Area


FWC Facts:
Approximately 1.7 million acres of Florida's remaining natural areas have been invaded by nonindigenous plant species, which have degraded and diminished our ecosystem.

Learn More at AskFWC