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Help plan the future of the Lake Wales Ridge WEA

The federally listed Florida bonamia is a flowering vine endemic to central Florida. (FWC photo)
Media contact: Ryan Sheets, or 727-282-7642 Release Date: 09-11-2023   All Articles Tags:

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will present draft materials for the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area 10-year Management Plan at a public hearing in Highlands County on Oct. 11.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the H.L. Bishop Park Clubhouse, 10 Lake June Clubhouse Road, in Lake Placid. The public is encouraged to attend and will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions regarding the Management Plan for the FWC-managed Lake Wales Ridge WEA.

The Lake Wales Ridge WEA encompasses approximately 17,309 acres in Highlands and Polk counties and is one of the largest areas of scrub habitat in the world. This WEA is situated within the Lake Wales Ridge — a region that was once ancient beach and dune systems, partially characterized by the high abundance of endemic species due to its historic isolation from surrounding regions. The natural communities within the Lake Wales Ridge WEA — especially the scrub, sandhill, flatwoods and basin marsh communities — provide important habitat for wildlife including gopher tortoises, Everglade snail kites and Florida scrub-jays. The Lake Wales Ridge WEA also offers many opportunities for public recreation, including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, hiking, biking and horseback riding.

“The Lake Wales Ridge WEA was purchased to ensure the preservation of fish, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources for future generations, and to provide fish- and wildlife-based outdoor recreation opportunities to the public,” said Nicholas Coppock, FWC land conservation planner. “This Management Plan will specify how we intend to accomplish that goal.”

For more information regarding this and other upcoming public hearings, visit the FWC Land Conservation and Planning webpage. Hunting and fishing regulations are not included in this plan or public hearing; they are addressed through a separate public process. Visit or to learn more about hunting and fishing regulations.

To obtain a copy of the draft elements of the Management Plan for the Lake Wales Ridge WEA, call Nicholas Coppock at 850-487-9588 or email

Pursuant to Chapters 253 and 259, Florida Statutes, all lands purchased with public funds must have a Management Plan that ensures the property will be managed in a manner that is consistent with the intended purposes of the purchase. For more information and background on management plans and their goals, visit and click on “Terrestrial Conservation,” “Management” and finally “Terrestrial Habitat Management Plans.”

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