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August 2021 Commission Meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing opportunity for public input at each Commission meeting. The Commission is offering the opportunity for stakeholders to provide their comments in advance as well as in person. Advance comments via the comment form were due by 5:00 pm on Friday, July 30, 2021. If you would like to provide comments via mail that can be reviewed after the meeting, please send those comments to the following address:

FWC Commissioners
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

The Commission will also welcome public input in person 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 a topic or speaker. With regard to public comment on items not on the agenda, the Commission will have a designated time period on the agenda at the end of day two, August 5th. The deadline for registration to speak on items not on the agenda is 9:00 a.m. on August 5th. 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 Chairman may opt to take action on any agenda item presented, even those listed as staff reports. Agenda items may be re-ordered or moved by the Chairman to accommodate scheduling issues. The meeting may include fact-finding field trips to learn about management and enforcement activities.

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

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.

For information on the area, you may call the Southwest Florida Chamber of Commerce at (239) 992-2943 or find additional details at https://swflinc.com.

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, August 4th

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve May 2021 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda
      Details for all consent agenda items are listed at the end of this document. Any questions or concerns about a consent agenda item should be addressed to agency staff prior to the Commission meeting. Any item not approved as part of the consent agenda may be moved to the regular agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Directors Report
  4. Awards and Recognition
    1. Featured Artist Recognition
    2. 2021 Python Challenge Awards
    3. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year Award

BREAK

  1. Final Rule – Restricted Hunting Area Establishment
    Staff will present final rule amendments related to establishing restricted hunting areas and bird sanctuaries. The changes will eliminate the option of establishing bird sanctuaries and provide clear, objective criteria for establishing restricted hunting areas. Detailed proposed rule language is provided in background documents for this item. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
    Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-1.004 | 68A-1.004 NOC | 68A-14.001 | 68A-19.002 | 68A-19.002 NOC | 68A-19.004 | 68A-19.006 | 68A-19.006 NOC
  2. Staff Reports
    1. Update on Florida Panther Management and Research. The Florida panther population is managed to ensure they will remain a part of Florida’s ecosystem while facing future conditions that may affect their population including habitat loss, collisions with vehicles, inbreeding and disease threats. FWC staff conduct extensive research to better understand the existing population and direct management actions to abate threats to the panther population and reduce conflicts with people. Staff will provide an update to the Commission on current management and research efforts including a progress update on the USFWS Florida panther 5-Year Review process. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
      Summary Memo | Presentation

ANTICIPATED LUNCH BREAK

    1. Elevated Manatee Mortality in the Indian River Lagoon. Staff will provide a presentation on elevated manatee mortalities in the Indian River Lagoon summarizing knowledge to date and outlining future efforts to respond to similar events and work with partners to enhance manatee habitat. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. Boating Access Program Overview. Staff will present a high-level overview of the agency’s boating access grant programs and efforts to improve boating access statewide. This report will detail the current boating access grant program structure and functions, as well as provide a brief description of how these programs work, current challenges to boating access and a future vision for boating access improvements. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. (This item could be moved to day 2 if needed.)
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Derelict Vessel Update. Staff will present a brief overview of the FWC’s Derelict Vessel (DV) Program. The presentation will share how vessels become derelict; what defines a DV; how FWC Law Enforcement investigates DV’s; and the process for removing DV’s from state waters. Staff will also present current agency improvements to the program, including changes from recently enacted legislation. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. (This item could be moved to day 2 if needed.)
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  1. Recess Wednesday’s portion of the meeting no later than 6:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m., Thursday, August 5th

  1. Call to Order
  2. Staff Reports
    1. Freshwater Fisheries Update. Staff will present highlights of successes in Florida freshwater systems management and the important connection with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) freshwater research team. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. (This item could be moved to day 1 if needed.)
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. Coral Reef Disease Response and Restoration Efforts. Staff will summarize the status of the ongoing Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) Event including scope and scale of current infections, efforts to treat infected corals, coral rescue and planning to develop coral propagation facilities and implement large scale restoration efforts. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report. Staff will report on actions and discussions from the GMFMC’s June 21-25 meeting. Topics will include cobia, red grouper, king mackerel, greater amberjack, and individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    4. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report. Staff will provide a presentation on actions and discussions from the SAFMC’s June 14-18 meeting. Expected topics include dolphinfish, various reef fish, and king mackerel. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo | Presentation

ANTICIPATED LUNCH BREAK

  1. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
    Public comment on items not on the agenda will be limited to no more than 3 hours.
  2. Future Agenda Items
  3. Commissioner Exchange
  4. Adjournment
    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for October 6 – 7, 2021, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Consent Agenda

Any questions about consent agenda items should be addressed to agency staff prior to the Commission meeting.

  1. Proposed Rule – Broward County Boating Restricted Areas
    Staff will request approval of rule changes for 68D-24.008 (1) & (3), F.A.C., to establish a boating restricted area slow speed zone in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The proposed rule will establish a slow speed minimum wake zone along the ICW channel, from shoreline to shoreline in the area of Hallandale Beach in Broward County. This zone will extend south, starting from the south end of the current boating restricted area established for the Hallandale Beach Boulevard bridge, and will end at the north end of the current boating restricted area for the 192nd Street Bridge at the Dade-Broward County line. The resulting slow speed minimum wake zone will be in effect year-round.
    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rules and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rules are approved for final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
    Summary Memo | 68D-24.008
  2. Proposed Rule Amendment – Okaloosa County Boating Restricted Area
    Staff will request approval of rule changes for 68D-24.146 (1) & (2), F.A.C., to amend the current boating restricted area slow speed zone in Okaloosa County. The proposed rule change will amend the GPS coordinates and distance references for the established slow speed minimum wake zone around the Brooks Bridge. This zone will extend east from Brooks Bridge to approximately 30° 24' 14N''/86° 35' 23W” and extend west from Brooks Bridge to approximately 30° 24' 03''/86° 36' 25W". The resulting slow speed minimum wake zone will be in effect year-round.
    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If approved, staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
    Summary Memo | 68D-24.146
  3. Proposed Rule – Atlantic Coast: Spot and Atlantic croaker
    The spot and Atlantic croaker fisheries are managed cooperatively in state waters of the U.S. Atlantic coast by fifteen states, including Florida, through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). ASMFC coordinates interstate management for these species, which includes prescribed regulatory actions for member states when data indicate conservation measures are warranted. Proposed rules 68B-63 and 68B-64 that would establish a daily recreational bag limit of 50 fish per person for each species and a spot commercial vessel limit of 2,200 pounds, as well as implement an Atlantic croaker commercial vessel limit of 1,200 pounds, will keep Florida in compliance with ASMFC. These rules would be in effect for state waters from the Florida-Georgia border through Miami-Dade County. Additional details can be found in the background materials for this item.
    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rules and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rules are approved for final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
    Summary Memo | Rule Language