Skip to main content

DRAFT AGENDA

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.  For in-person comments, please review the speaker registration guidelines at https://myfwc.com/about/commission/.  Advance comments should be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, April 26th.  Those comments can be submitted using the online comment form.  If you would like to provide comments via mail, please send those comments to the following address:

FWC Commissioners
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

To ensure adequate time to address the business needs of the Commission, there will be no more than two (2) hours of public comment on items not on the agenda at this meeting.  Public comment on items not on the agenda will be heard at the end of Day 2, May 2nd.  The deadline for registration to speak on items not on the agenda is 10:00 am on May 2nd.  For items not on the agenda, the Chair reserves the right to reduce the amount of time per speaker or the total number of speakers.  To provide comments on items not on the agenda in advance, stakeholders can contact commissioners directly at commissioners@myfwc.com.

The Chair 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.  To accommodate as much input as possible from those attending, the Chair reserves the right to designate the amount of time given to an agenda item or speaker(s).  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 10 calendar days before the meeting by calling 850-488-6411 or 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.  If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility, or if you need more information, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: FWC, Office of Human Resources, 620 S Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399, 850-488-6411.  Or write to: Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Civil Rights, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 1st

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Approve February 2024 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 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 or postponed at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Awards and Recognition
    1. Artist Recognition
    2. Sonya Rood Volunteer of the Year Award
    3. Vic Heller Instructor of the Year Award
    4. Youth Hunting Program of Florida – Landowner of the Year Award
    5. Law Enforcement Prosecutor of the Year Award

BREAK

  1. Items Requiring Action
    1. Update on Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area Conservation Easement Release. At the December 2023 Commission meeting, Commissioners delegated authority to the Executive Director to negotiate options for the release of perpetual conservation easements held by FWC over portions of the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area (SOFWEA). Commissioners directed staff to return to a future Commission meeting with the results of the negotiations. SOFWEA is 1,684 acres jointly owned by Orange County and Osceola County and managed by FWC. The proposed construction of the Central Florida Expressway (CFX) Osceola Parkway Extension would cross a portion of SOFWEA, impacting species, habitat, and management of the area. Staff will provide additional details of the negotiations and potential mitigation options for Commissioner consideration for the release of the easements. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
      Summary Memo

ANTICIPATED LUNCH BREAK

    1. Proposed Final Rule – Florida Reef Gecko Listing Evaluation. Staff will present the findings of the biological status review for the Florida reef gecko with the staff recommendation for listing as State Threatened, and request final determination that listing is warranted; if warranted, staff also seek approval to add the species to the list of candidate species in 68A-27.0021 F.A.C. In 2021, the FWC received a request to evaluate the species, and in 2022, the Commission appointed a review group. If approved by the Commission, staff will proceed with development of a management plan and guidelines for the species and return to a future Commission Meeting for approval. The final listing status change would occur after Commission approval of the management plan. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      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 | 68A-27.0021
    2. Proposed Final Rule – Livery Pre-Rental and Pre-Ride Instruction Requirements. Staff seek approval to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend Rule 68D-34.002, FAC, which sets forth the criteria for livery pre-rental and pre-ride instruction requirements. The proposed revisions would remove the requirement for liveries that rent or lease paddle craft to conduct an on-the-water demonstration and check ride to verify the prospective operator’s ability to safely operate the leased or rented paddle craft. The forms FWCDLE-313B (10/2023) “Livery Pre-rental and Pre-ride Instruction checklist and attestation – Human Powered” and FWCDLE 313A (10/2023) “Livery Pre-Rental and Pre-Ride Instruction Checklist and Attestation Form – Motorized Vessels” would also be updated to reflect this change and to simplify the forms for an improved customer experience. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      Note: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule is approved for final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing, unless requested.
      Summary Memo | 68D-34.002
    3. Proposed Final Rule – Collier County Boating Restricted Area. Staff will present final rule language within chapter 68D-24 to establish a boating restricted area slow speed zone in Bonita Springs, Florida. The proposed rule will establish a slow speed minimum wake zone within a portion of Little Hickory Bay locally known as “Hells Gate” in Collier County. This zone will extend roughly 1500 feet through an area of spoil/mangrove islands which lie approximately 1 mile south of the Lee/Collier County line within the coastal area landward of the barrier island of Barefoot Beach. The resulting slow speed minimum wake zone will be in effect year-round. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      Note: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule is approved for final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing, unless requested.
      Summary Memo | 68D-24.165
  1. Staff Reports
    1. Overview of the Waterfowl Management Program and Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities in Florida. Staff will present a high-level overview of the Waterfowl Management Program and waterfowl hunting opportunities in Florida, highlighting the areas hunted, species harvested, seasonal framework, and future opportunities. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo
    2. Highlight of the Division of Law Enforcement Operational Support Section. Staff will present an overview of the Division of Law Enforcement’s Operational Support Section with an emphasis on disaster response and aviation. This section coordinates all aviation assets, offshore Federal Joint Enforcement Agreement and state fisheries enforcement, State Emergency Operations Center activities and readiness for natural disasters, mutual aid requests, K-9 operations and Special Operations Group activities, including dignitary protection details. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. This item may be postponed to a future meeting.
      Summary Memo
    3. Update on Wildlife Assistance Program. Staff will present an update on the agency’s Wildlife Assistance Program. The Wildlife Assistance Program provides support to individuals and local communities to address concerns with wildlife. Assistance is provided through education and outreach materials, site visits and innovative strategies such as equipment loans. In addition to using multi-media and targeted marketing campaigns to promote human safety and coexistence with native wildlife, program staff responded to over 14,000 inquiries and participated in over 70 outreach events or site visits in the 2022-23 fiscal year. This update will highlight program goals, trends in human-wildlife conflict issues, as well as intra-agency collaboration and partnerships that contribute to the program’s success. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes. This item may be postponed to a future meeting.
      Summary Memo
  2. Recess Wednesday’s portion of the meeting no later than 6:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 2nd

  1. Call to Order
  2. Items Requiring Action - Proposed Final Rule – Shrimp Rule Clean-Up. Marine Fisheries Rule Cleanup is a long-term, ongoing effort to clarify, streamline, and standardize marine fisheries rules to make these regulations easier to read, understand, and enforce without impacting the application of these regulations. As part of this long-term project, staff proposes standardizing the organization and language of the rules pertaining to shrimp. The proposed final rule amendments would make clarifying or non-substantive rule updates to implement the standardized rule formatting consistent with the rule clean-up process, as well as revise outdated language to better align with current fishery practices, application of shrimp regulations, and taxonomic classifications. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
    Note: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule is approved for final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing, unless requested.
    Summary Memo
  3. Staff Reports
    1. Marine Fisheries Management Workplan. Staff will review new and ongoing marine fisheries programs and management issues that are anticipated to be worked on during the 2024/2025 fiscal year. These programs and issues will comprise the DMFM 2024/2025 Workplan. This presentation will also highlight work completed during the previous workplan cycle. Staff will request approval of the proposed workplan for the 2024/2025 fiscal year. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo
    2. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report. Staff will report on actions and discussions from the GMFMC’s April 8-11 meeting. Expected topics will include red snapper, red grouper, gag grouper, mackerel, and other updates on topics relevant to Florida. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
    3. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report. Staff will report on actions and discussions from the SAFMC’s March 4-8 meeting. Topics will include wreckfish, red snapper, black sea bass, potential for-hire limited entry, and updates on other discussions relevant to Florida. Staff will also provide an update on Florida’s potential Exempting Fishing Permit proposals. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo
    4. Three-year Western Dry Rocks Update. Staff will provide the three-year update on the comprehensive research and monitoring efforts being conducted at Western Dry Rocks. They will provide background for the closure, explain its importance, highlight research efforts, and provide a timeline for the next steps. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 30 minutes.
      Summary Memo
  4. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
    Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
  5. Future Agenda Items
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Adjournment
    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for September 17 – 18, 2024, 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 Final Rule – TrophyCatch and Potential State Record Largemouth Bass Possession. Staff seek approval of proposed rule amendments related to possession of a largemouth bass to facilitate certification for either TrophyCatch or a state record.
    Note: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule 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, unless requested.
    Summary Memo | Proposed Final Rule
  2. Proposed Final Rule – Approval of Local Ordinances Establishing Boating Restricted Areas, 68D-21, F.A.C. Staff seek approval to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to incorporate updates to rules within chapter 68D-21. Current rule language sets forth the application requirements and criteria for FWC’s approval of local ordinances which seek to establish boating restricted areas pursuant to 327.46(1)(c) F.S. The proposed rule amendments include technical changes clarifying the required application criteria, application review process, as well as FWC’s notice and posting procedures, and right to request an administrative hearing. A new rule (68D-21.005) has been created to separate the requirements for seasonal vs. year-round zone applications. Lastly, the incorporated by reference documents have been updated and reorganized for simplicity.
    Note: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule 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, unless requested.
    Summary Memo | 68D-21.001 | 68D-21.002| 68D-21.003 | 68D-21.004 | 68D-21.005
  3. Proposed 2025 Commission Meeting Dates. Staff seek approval of the proposed 2025 Commission Meeting dates.
    2025 Commission Meeting Dates
  4. Proposed Updates – Commission Meeting Protocol. Staff seek approval of proposed updates to the Commission Meeting Protocol.
    Summary Memo | Commission Meeting Protocol