The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is recruiting volunteers to help with gopher tortoise conservation. Becoming a volunteer is a great way for citizens to help with species conservation, and now there are three new opportunities to get involved!
Mortality Data Collection
This program is open to everyone. Volunteers are asked to notify FWC of any deceased or injured gopher tortoises that are seen. This is an opportunity based program that does not have a required time commitment. Mortality data is submitted to FWC either by completing the mortality form or using the online locator map (coming soon). Volunteers are required to complete a short electronic training presentation to review safety precautions.
Waif Tortoise Transportation
The FWC is looking for volunteers that are able to transport waif, rehabilitated, sick or injured gopher tortoises to a rehabilitation facility, permitted waif site, or return the tortoise back to its original home. To participate in this program, a (no cost) 24 hour temporary rehabilitation permit must be obtained. This opportunity is only available to a limited number of volunteers.
Silt Fence Installation
The FWC is recruiting volunteers who are able and interested in installing gopher tortoise temporary fencing. Volunteers will be installing silt fences on designated gopher tortoise relocation sites. Fence installation involves the use of hand tools, and the ability to work in extreme temperatures.
Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Gopher Tortoise Relocation Program
The FWC is seeking volunteers interested in conducting gopher tortoise burrow surveys on development sites permitted for the incidental take of gopher tortoises. Gopher tortoise burrow surveys are necessary to determine the number of burrows that would potentially be impacted by a development project, and ensure that all tortoises living in those burrows are humanely relocated off site. Volunteers in this program may eventually be presented with the opportunity to live-trap tortoises, excavate burrows (hand shovel), and transport gopher tortoises to ITP Recipient Sites. The ITP relocation program involves working outdoors, possibly in extreme temperatures and inclement weather.
For more information or to request an application, please email GTEvents@MyFWC.com.