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February, 2015 Commission Meeting

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.


8:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 4

  1. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve November 2014 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda – Any item not approved as part of the consent agenda may be moved to the regular meeting agenda and would be considered prior to the open public comment section.
  3. Awards and Recognition – Florida Sportsmen's Conservation Association Annual Award
  4. Executive Reports
    1. Executive Director’s Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
  5. Strategic Discussion Follow-up
    1. Florida Black Bear Management – Staff will update the Commission on current research and management efforts.  Elements of a comprehensive approach to bear conservation in Florida include: updated bear population and range estimates, regionally-focused management, abatement of conflict issues, proactive engagement of partners and stakeholders, and implementing sustainable hunting as a bear population and conflict management measure.  Presentation includes request for proposed revisions to the Florida Black Bear Conservation Rule 68A-4.009 and the Bear, Fox, and Raccoon Feeding Rule 68A-4.001(3). Presentation | Summary | Policies | 68A-4-001 | 68A-4-009 
    2. Federal Legislative Issue Outlook – Staff will lead a discussion of possible federal issues which may be significant to Florida, including a discussion of the Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization. Mr. Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Ms. Jennifer Mock Schaeffer, Government Affairs Director with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, will participate in the discussion. Presentation
  6. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rules
      1. Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 2015-2016 – The proposed rules would revise specific area regulations on Commission managed hunting and freshwater fishing areas and amend or clarify rules to better manage hunting, fishing and public use.  A complete list of the proposed rules can be viewed in background materials for this item. Presentation | 68A-9.007 | 68A-15.004 | 68A-15.061 | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 | 68A-17.004 | 68A-17.005 | Notice of Change Rule 68A-15.062
      2. Deer Management Units within Zones A, B, and C – The proposed rule changes would establish specific regulations for deer management units within Zones A, B, and C to better manage deer on a local level to meet the needs and desires of the public.  A complete list of the rules can be viewed in background materials for this item.
        Notice of Change Rule 68A-13.001 Notice of Proposed Rule 68A-13.0001 | 
        Notice of Proposed Rule 68A-13.004
         | Presentation
    2. Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines – Staff will present changes to permitting guidelines and report on the stakeholder engagement process used to review those changes. Presentation Summary | Final Summary | Draft Permitting Guidelines
  7. Staff Report – Imperiled Species Update.  Staff will update the Commission on the status of the Imperiled Species Management Plan (ISMP) being developed.  The ISMP is being developed as required by the 2010 revision of rule 68A-27, and is one of six Strategic Initiatives in FWC’s Agency Strategic Plan.  The ISMP is a comprehensive, integrated approach to address the conservation needs of 60 species. Presentation
  8. Items Requiring Action – Draft Rules

    1. 68D – 24.014 Palm Beach County Boating Restricted Areas – The proposed rule amendment would provide an extension of the SR 806 (East Atlantic Ave.) Bridge zone to provide safety to those utilizing a public landing facility at a city-owned park along the Intracoastal Waterway.  Staff requests approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file it for adoption if no hearing is requested. Notice of Proposed Rule 68D-24.017 | Presentation
    2. 68D – 24.155 St. Johns County Boating Restricted Areas – The proposed rule amendments would extend the Vilano Beach Bridge boating safety zone to provide safety to those utilizing the new public boat dock south of the bridge.  In addition, we are reducing the restrictions of each of the boating safety zones to “Slow Speed Minimum Wake”.  A public meeting will be held prior to the Commission meeting.  Staff is requesting approval to file a Notice of Proposed Rule in the Florida Administrative Weekly, and approval to file the rule for adoption if no hearing is requested.
      Notice of Proposed Rule 68D-24.155 | Presentation
  9. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  10. Commissioner Exchange
  11. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, February 5, Reconvene

  12. Call to Order
  13. Lionfish Resolution - The Commission will consider adoption of a resolution establishing an official Lionfish Awareness and Removal day.  This is in support of the continued efforts to raise awareness of efforts being taken to control this nonnative invasive species
  14. Council Reports
    1. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the SAFMC at its December 1-5 meeting in New Bern, NC.  Topics include: various snapper grouper species, dolphin, and wahoo. Presentation
    2. Gulf of  Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the GMFMC at its January 26-30 meeting in Point Clear, AL. Presentation
  15. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rules
      1. Gulf Red Snapper season – The proposed draft rule would set the recreational harvest season for red snapper for 2015 in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Detailed recommendations will be posted in January.  The proposed draft rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:
        68B-14.0038 Recreational Snapper Seasons – Details TBA. Presentation
      2. Lobster Commercial Dive Endorsement – The spiny lobster commercial dive endorsement (CD) is required in conjunction with a saltwater products license to commercially harvest lobster while diving.  The moratorium on issuing new CDs is scheduled to expire July 1, 2015. Presentation

        68B-24.055 Commercial Requirements; Appeals – The proposed draft rule amendment would remove the sunset provision for the moratorium on issuing new CD endorsements, thus continuing the moratorium on new endorsements indefinitely.  The proposed rule would also provide for the transfer of any existing valid CD endorsement to another commercial fisher.

      3. Restricted Species Endorsement - The restricted species endorsement (RS) allows the holder of a saltwater products license (SPL) to harvest commercial quantities of species designated by the FWC as restricted and to sell restricted species to wholesale dealers.  The RS requirements were recently brought into FWC rules from Florida Statutes and are now being amended in order to clarify the requirements and better provide for the intended purpose of the endorsement. Presentation | 68B-2-006

        68B-2.006 Restricted Species Endorsement - The draft rule would provide a series of changes and clarifications to the existing RS qualification regulations.  The proposed rule would do the following:

        1. Clarify details related to verification of income, both from sale of saltwater products and overall income, and eliminate outdated means of income verification
        2. Provide a form to simplify the process of submitting income verification statements prepared by certified public accountants
        3. Modify the qualifying requirements associated with the vessel purchase exception and limit abuse of this provision
        4. Provide an additional way for an individual to demonstrate disablement
        5. Provide a form for use by physicians when certifying an individual as totally and permanently disabled
        6. Clarify the qualification requirements for family members who apply for an RS after a person who held an RS dies or becomes permanently disabled
        7. Give the immediate family member of an RS holder who dies or becomes permanently disabled more time to apply for an RS under the relevant provision
        8. Remove outdated rule language that expired June 30, 2014
  16. General Counsel Report
  17. Future Agenda Items
  18. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  19. Commissioner Exchange
  20. Commission Administrative Matters

    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for April 14 - 16, 2015, in Tallahassee, commencing at 1:30 p.m. on the first day and 8:30 a.m. each day thereafter.

  21. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. 68A-27.0012(1) Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species List – Rule 68A-27.0012(1) of the Florida Administrative Code requires that when a species native to Florida is added or reclassified under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the species shall be so listed or reclassified in the Florida Administrative Code to reflect the federal designation.  Because of recent federal designations, staff is proposing to add seven (7) species of mollusks, one (1) mammal, two (2) insects, one bird, and four (4) corals to paragraph one of 68A-27.003; change the indicated federal listing for wood stork from endangered to threatened; and moving one (1) species of coral from subsection two to subsection one.  Staff also proposes to relocate one (1) fish species and two (2) coral species mistakenly added to subsection two of this rule when it was created into Rule 68A-27.003(1). Species List | Presentation