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Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative

Two limpkins, one adult and one juvenile.

Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (Initiative) was a program designed to combine effective statewide planning with regional partnership development to implement actions at the local level. The three main components of the Initiative were:

  1. State Wildlife Action Plan (Action Plan)
  2. Partnerships 
  3. State Wildlife Grants Program (SWG)

The Action Plan is a comprehensive, statewide plan for conserving the state's wildlife and vital natural areas for future generations. Partners are essential in identifying and prioritizing Initiative goals that implement the Action Plan. These goals direct the use of State Wildlife Grant funding and other FWC resources.

In 2020, the Initiative was integrated into a new section of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. The State Wildlife Action Plan and State Wildlife Grants Program are still being maintained and administered by FWC. 

Meet Florida's State Wildlife Action Plan and State Wildlife Grants staff!

Employees associated with the State Wildlife Action Plan and State Wildlife Grants Program are housed in FWC regional offices and FWC's headquarters in Tallahassee. The Wildlife and Landscape Biologists are responsible for on the ground implementation of the Action Plan through the development of partnerships with scientists, businesses, landowners and volunteers that possess the necessary expertise to address Implementation Goals and objectives.

Each Wildlife and Landscape Biologist coordinates actions necessary to meet the Implementation Goals and objectives, which fall under the following four categories:

The ultimate goal is for Florida's conservation community to share ownership of the Action Plan, implement the conservation actions in the Action Plan, and pool financial resources to leverage cooperative conservation efforts.

We encourage you to reach out to the local staff member in your area to discuss how Action Plan implementation projects and goals align with your own. Visit the Contact page to find a staff member near you!

Why State Wildlife Action Plans?

Acropora on a patch reef

Historically, the primary support and focus for wildlife conservation and management within the United States has come from state hunting and fishing interests and Federal Assistance programs for game species under the Pittman–Robertson, Dingell–Johnson and Wallop–Breaux Acts. In addition, the Endangered Species Act provides support to recover federally threatened and endangered species. Although these programs have been successful, the majority of wildlife species have unmet conservation needs and many are at risk of becoming imperiled.

Eastern indigo snake

To encourage a new conservation model of working towards managing species before they become imperiled, the U.S. Congress created the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program in 2000. This is the only federal program with the explicit goal of preventing endangered species listings. This program is dedicated to a holistic approach that includes all species, but is centered on conservation of species not encompassed by historical efforts. As a requirement of participating in the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, Florida joined the other 49 states and 5 U.S. territories by developing a State Wildlife Action Plan. For more information about Florida’s Action Plan, please visit the State Wildlife Action Plan page.

Formation of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative

Scrub City

To meet the intent of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program and to foster the Action Plan, the FWC created Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative used the Action Plan, Florida’s SWG Program, and resources made available through partnerships to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered and therefore more costly to protect. The Initiative took a habitat-based approach, rather than a species-specific approach, by researching, conserving, and restoring habitats that can benefit multiple wildlife species. Initiative staff have now been integrated into a new section of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation and continue these efforts.