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Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative

Why create Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) created Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative in 2004 to serve the agency's long-term commitment to conserve all native wildlife and the places where they live. The momentum for this new program was Congress creating the federal State Wildlife Grants program in 2001 and requirement that states develop a State Wildlife Action Plan (previously the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy) so that they continue to receive funding.

What is Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative?

The Initiative is the combination of (1) Florida's State Wildlife Action Plan, (2) partnership development for wildlife conservation, and (3) the Florida's State Wildlife Grants Program.

What is the FWC's role?

Congress designated state wildlife agencies such as FWC to receive and manage federal State Wildlife Grants funding, and to lead the development and implementation of the Action Plan.

Why is Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative important for Florida?

  • Keep Common Species Common - The Initiative is important because it promotes pro-active efforts to conserve wildlife and habitat before they decline further.
  • Cost-Effective Prevention of Wildlife Declines - The Initiative saves millions of tax dollars by preventing wildlife declines before they become more rare and costly to protect. The Initiative promotes and builds partnerships. Working together partners can pool time, money and staff to more effectively address the challenges facing wildlife today.
  • Economic Benefits - Part of the foundation of Florida's economy is Florida's wildlife and habitat diversity. The combined revenue from hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, boating and commercial enterprises exceeds $25 billion in value annually.
  • Florida's Wildlife Heritage - At its heart, the Initiative is a promise to future generations of Floridians that they, too, can enjoy Florida's rich and diverse wildlife heritage and family traditions.

How is Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative different from past conservation efforts?

  • Money and Scope - The Initiative is a far-sighted approach that links actions and partners to a clear program of financial support. Florida's State Wildlife Grants Program supports this effort with millions of dollars of federal funding matched with state and private dollars.
  • A Unifying Approach - Florida's Action Plan synthesizes 30 years of efforts and publications into the needs and the actions that are necessary to conserve native wildlife and habitats.

Florida's State Wildlife Action Plan

Why develop a State Wildlife Action Plan?

Congress created the federal State Wildlife Grants program in 2001. In order for states to receive this funding Congress required each write individualized State Wildlife Action Plans.

Why is the State Wildlife Action Plan important?

Because every U.S. state and territory produced an Action Plan by October 2005, for the first time in history, we have created a nationwide approach to wildlife conservation.

How does the Action Plan help conserve Florida's natural resources?

The Action Plan:

  • Provides a blueprint for coordinating management, restoration, research, incentives, and education for all of Florida's native wildlife and the benefit of people
  • Defines a common vision for protecting wildlife
  • Designs a non-regulatory plan that promotes partnerships for local actions such as land and water protection and management
  • Targets monies and human resources to prevent native wildlife from declining
  • Makes Florida eligible for millions of dollars of federal funding
  • Creates a plan to effectively use federal, State, and matching funds

What were the federal requirements for developing the Action Plan?

The requirement was that the Action Plan be comprehensive and consider a wide range of views and perspectives on conservation. A document titled "Eight Requirement Elements" provided by the USFWS defined the requirements.

What does the term "species of greatest conservation need" mean in the Action Plan?

Congress required the Action Plan include "species of greatest conservation need." In Florida, this means native animals whose populations are of concern and are at risk or declining. It includes federal-listed, state-listed, and game species as well as many others.

How do we interpret "the full array of wildlife" used in the Action Plan?

In the Action Plan Florida considers wildlife in the broadest sense, including fish and invertebrates, and focuses on 974 native animals and 45 habitats where they live.

Florida's State Wildlife Grants Program

Who may apply?

State agencies, local government entities, educational facilities, organizations and individuals can apply.  Applications may be submitted from other states and countries as long as the proposed projects involve or are germane to populations of wildlife that inhabit Florida.

What is the minimum and maximum amount of money I can request in my application?

Each Grant Announcement will include criteria for a minimum and/or a maximum amount of money that can be requested to meet each project’s needs.  Applicants can request less money, but they must still achieve all project objectives.

Which projects are eligible?

Projects must meet the criteria specified in the Grant Announcement for each cycle.

Can Florida's State Wildlife Grants Program fund projects associated with wildlife education or wildlife law enforcement activities?

No, unless the law enforcement or education component is a minor or incidental activity – less than ten percent of total project costs – that is considered critical to the success of a project, directly contributes to the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats with the greatest conservation need, and is consistent with the development or implementation of Florida’s Wildlife Action Plan. For example, a proposal may recommend that wildlife education or wildlife law enforcement effort is needed to protect critical wildlife habitat where unauthorized all-terrain vehicle use is endangering a natural community. Some law enforcement attention or educational initiative such as development of brochures and signage may be necessary to discourage all-terrain vehicles in the area, and thus achieve wildlife habitat protection. The State Wildlife Grants Coordinator must approve funding for these types of activities.

Can Florida State Wildlife Grants be used for projects associated with wildlife recreation?


Are matching funds required? 

Yes.  A non-federal match requirement assures local ownership and leverages funds to support added conservation.  For recent grant cycles, applicants had to provide a non-federal match of at least thirty-five percent of the total project costs.  To calculate the total project cost, divide the federal request by 0.65.  For example, an application requesting $100,000 in federal funds must provide $53,846 of secure match for a total project cost equaling $153,846 ($153,846 = $100,000 / 0.65).

If I am awarded a grant, do I get all the money right away? 

No.  You will be reimbursed on an invoice schedule for the money spent on achieving the project objectives.  For more information, see the Program Guidelines.

What are the reporting requirements if I am awarded a grant?

Typically, no more than three progress reports and one annual report will be required during the fiscal year.  Grantees will be provided a copy of the Report Guidelines as guidance for the preparation of progress, annual and final reports.

What are the scoring criteria for submitted applications?

Submitted applications are evaluated on a variety of criteria, including relevance to Florida’s State Wildlife Action Plan, partner involvement, and sound methods and approaches.  To see example evaluation forms, visit Florida’s State Wildlife Grants.