Listing status recommendations for threatened species approved
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Media contact: Patricia Zick, 850-590-1345
(Back to Commission meeting news)
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
approved the listing recommendations for 61
species on Wednesday, June 8, in St. Augustine. When Dr. Elsa
Haubold, the FWC's leader of the Threatened Species Management
System, presented the recommendations, it marked the culmination of
a journey that began back in 2007 when the Commission directed
staff to revise the former imperiled species system.
The Commission approved the new Threatened Species Management
System in September 2010. Staff immediately went to work and
conducted biological status reviews for 61 species grandfathered on
Florida's threatened and species of special concern lists that had
not undergone a review in the past decade. Once the biological
status reviews (BSRs) were completed, staff wrote recommendations
on which of these species should remain listed, and included these
recommendations in the final BSR reports.
"This is a time for celebration," said Commissioner Rodney
Barreto. "We all did a great job, from volunteers to staff, and
we're going to be able to take several species off the list."
The science-based status reviews were conducted by biological
review groups composed of experts from around Florida and the
country and led by an FWC staff expert. The groups evaluated the
species against Florida's measureable, objective listing criteria.
Their findings and a staff listing recommendation were
peer-reviewed by experts from around the world. Based on the
biological review group findings, peer reviewers' comments and
other considerations, staff made the recommendations about whether
each species should continue to be listed.
"The whole process represents the most comprehensive assessment
ever of Florida's threatened wildlife," Haubold said. "The reviews
provide us - and the public - with information necessary to help us
draft management plans to conserve and prevent extinction of
Haubold said staff carefully examined the findings and peer
review from the external experts and then decided to recommend that
40 of the 61 species be listed as threatened. Five species are
being recommended to temporarily remain as species of special
concern because there wasn't enough information to adequately
review their status.
Sixteen species are being recommended for delisting, which means
that the scientific process used did not indicate the species were
at high risk of extinction.
"A change in status of the species will not occur until we bring
back each of the management plans for approval," Haubold told the
Commission. "Specifically, species will not be removed from the
list, or in some cases, moved from species of special concern to
threatened, until management plans are created with stakeholder and
public input. Then you will be asked to approve the plans and
approve the change in listing status."
The FWC is already at work on plans for these species, based on
threats and needs identified in the biological status reports, peer
reviews and input received from the public. The management-planning
process will include significant participation from stakeholders
and the public. It could take several years to complete this
"We are relying on the biologists who are experts on the
species," said Commissioner Brian Yablonski. "These management
plans will have the force of law. We celebrated when we removed the
bald eagle from the list several years ago and now the bald eagle's
management plan provides strong conservation measures."