News Releases

Plan for conserving 60 Florida species ready for input

News Release

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Lisa Thompson, 727-502-4971

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released a draft plan to conserve 60 fish and wildlife species, including the Florida burrowing owl, roseate spoonbill, Big Cypress fox squirrel, Florida bog frog and blackmouth shiner.

The Imperiled Species Management Plan is an innovative new wildlife conservation model for Florida. The draft plan combines actions targeted to protect each of the 60 species with broader integrated strategies benefiting multiple species.

The process of determining how to best conserve dozens of Florida’s imperiled species listed currently as either state-threatened or species of special concern began in 2010, when the FWC adopted the new model. It conducted Biological Status Reviews of the 60 species that did not already have a draft or final management plan and then completed 49 Species Actions Plans to address the needs of all 60 species, including 37 to continue being listed as state-threatened, five as species of special concern, three that have been federally listed, and 15 being removed from the imperiled species list because they did not meet the criteria for being listed as state-threatened.

The big-picture approach, developed over multiple years by FWC staff in conjunction with partners and stakeholders, focuses on improving imperiled species conservation by filling in key information gaps and emphasizing cooperative efforts with other agencies, private landowners, stakeholders and the public. The FWC designed the draft plan to achieve conservation efficiencies and accountability by identifying key priorities and measurable goals.

The draft plan is available online for public review and comment. Visit, click on “Imperiled Species” and then scroll down to “read, review and comment” on the right-hand side. The initial period for public input lasts through March 13.

“Florida has a diversity of imperiled species, from the American oystercatcher with its striking black and white plumage and bright orange bill, to the Santa Fe cave crayfish that lives entirely in below-ground aquatic caves. Preserving Florida’s rich biodiversity of species for future generations is the goal of the newly drafted plan,” said Laura Barrett, the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan coordinator.

“With this plan, the FWC invites our many partners and the public to play prominent roles in conservation of imperiled fish and wildlife,” said Barrett. “Effective long-term stewardship of 60 species in this rapidly growing state requires all of us to work together on critical issues such as species monitoring, habitat conservation and education and outreach efforts.”

The draft plan includes summaries that serve as introductions to the 60 species, some of which are familiar to many people but others that are less well-known. Each one-page summary includes a species photo, description and Florida range map, along with the animal’s status, identified threats and conservation approaches.

What species are included in the plan? Here’s the list:

  • Mammals: Big Cypress fox squirrel, Eastern chipmunk, Everglades mink, Florida bonneted bat, Florida mouse, Homosassa shrew, Sanibel Island rice rat, Sherman's fox squirrel and Sherman’s short-tailed shrew.
  • Birds: American oystercatcher, black skimmer, brown pelican, Florida burrowing owl, Florida sandhill crane, least tern, limpkin, little blue heron, Marian's marsh wren, osprey (Monroe County population only), reddish egret, roseate spoonbill, Scott's seaside sparrow, snowy egret, snowy plover, Southeastern American kestrel, tricolored heron, Wakulla seaside sparrow, white-crowned pigeon, white ibis and Worthington's marsh wren.
  • Reptiles: Alligator snapping turtle, Barbour’s map turtle, Florida brown snake (lower Keys population only), Florida Keys mole skink, Florida pine snake, Key ringneck snake, Peninsula ribbon snake (lower Keys population only), red rat snake, rim rock crowned snake, short-tailed snake, striped mud turtle (lower Keys population only) and Suwannee cooter.
  • Amphibians: Florida bog frog,Georgia blind salamander, gopher frog and Pine Barrens treefrog.
  • Fish: Atlantic sturgeon, blackmouth shiner, bluenose shiner, crystal darter, Key silverside, harlequin darter, Lake Eustis pupfish, mangrove rivulus, saltmarsh topminnow and Southern tessellated darter.
  • Corals: Pillar coral.
  • Crustaceans: Black Creek crayfish and Santa Fe cave crayfish.
  • Mollusks: Florida tree snail.

For more on Florida imperiled species, go to and click on “Imperiled Species.”

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