Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Bear Management Plan approved by FWC

Bear Management Plan approved by FWC

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the updated Bear Management Plan for the state in December. The plan takes a comprehensive, science-based approach to managing bears in Florida. No proposal was made to open up a bear hunt, but that possibility does remain in the toolbox for managing bear populations. Read the […]

FWC set to approve red snapper season next month

FWC set to approve red snapper season next month

Recreational red snapper season isn’t too far off. And a new season is set to be approved in February. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is recommending a continuous 45-day season that kicks off June 11 and runs through July 25. “Our staff estimates that the harvest can stay open through July 25 […]

Zoo “shell-abrates” conservation with grant award

Zoo “shell-abrates” conservation with grant award

As part of their global wildlife conservation efforts, the Gulf Breeze Zoo recently awarded a 2019 Zoofari Parks Conservation Grant of $5,000 to help protect a threatened species closer to home. The University of West Florida’s (UWF) biology department team will use the grant to protect local Gopher tortoises. Project manager Dr. Phil Darby is […]

Budget recommendations set to benefit FWC conservation efforts

Budget recommendations set to benefit FWC conservation efforts

Budget recommendations are in place for the 2020-21 fiscal year in the state of Florida and several are set up to benefit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its environmental initiatives. More than $20 million is recommended to be dedicated to a wide range of initiatives, including $9.9 million to combat invasive species […]

UWF researcher tracking reef fish health in gulf using eDNA

UWF researcher tracking reef fish health in gulf using eDNA

University of West Florida (UWF) professor Alexis Janosik has already brought a species of fish back from suspected extinction through her research. Now, she’s taking on the entire reef fish population of the Gulf of Mexico. Janosik, a professor in the UWF Department of Biology, will participate in a gulf wide, multiyear study of reef […]

Manatees are on the move in the winter months

Manatees are on the move in the winter months

Manatees are now on the move to warmer water as winter settles in, making this a good time to educate people about the popular aquatic animal. “Manatee Awareness Month is a great opportunity to educate the public about manatee conservation at a critical time of the year,” said Jamie Rager, a representative for the Florida […]

Fall tends to lead to more interactions with bears

Fall tends to lead to more interactions with bears

This is the time of the year when the likelihood of a bear being hit by a vehicle rises. Last month, two bears were struck on Highway 87, including a nearly 500-pound male in the Holley area. The other bear killed was a 40-pound cub just north of Holley. They are unfortunate incidents but not […]

FWC working to keep Florida free of deer disease

FWC working to keep Florida free of deer disease

In nearly two decades since the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began its Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance in the state, more than 13,000 deer—including animals killed by a hunter or vehicle, as well as those that died from an illness– have been tested for CWD. The results have come back negative every time.   […]

FWC sets sights on updating bear management plan

FWC sets sights on updating bear management plan

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is set to update its Florida Black Bear Management Plan, which has been in place in since 2012. The updates, which include new data, an expansion of the Bear Management Unit Profiles and a new section on population management techniques, have been in the works for some time […]

Tourism council backs dog park on sound, not Gulf

Tourism council backs dog park on sound, not Gulf

County commissioners tossed the ball of creating a dog beach to the Tourist Development Council for its input Oct. 3, but conflicting public opinions have made the topic a hot potato. Current law prohibits dogs on all public beaches. Creation of a beach area allowing dogs was originally proposed in August to be located along the […]

State opens short fall season for red snapper

State opens short fall season for red snapper

Good news has arrived for anglers craving extra days of fishing for red snapper. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this month that six additional days have been added to the season in the Gulf of Mexico. Open to private recreational anglers and for-hire operations, the following dates are open for red snapper fishing: Oct. 12-13, […]

Navarre dog beach on pause

Navarre dog beach on pause

Efforts to open a section of Navarre Beach to dogs will likely be delayed by another month following the Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday. An ordinance currently prohibits dogs on both the sound-side and Gulf-side beaches in Navarre, but an amended ordinance set for public hearing Thursday would create a designated dog walking area […]

Turtle monitors report mixed results

Turtle monitors report mixed results

Digging up the nest of an endangered sea turtle is illegal, with the risk of up to $125,000 in fines and even federal prison time. But that is exactly what Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Patrollers were doing the evening of Aug. 20. It’s OK for them. They have a permit and a job to do: […]

County advances Navarre dog beach plan

County advances Navarre dog beach plan

County commissioners moved forward Monday with a proposal to allow dogs on a portion of Navarre Beach’s Santa Rosa Sound coastline. Under the proposed ordinance, owners would pay an annual fee of $30 to allow their dogs on a stretch of the beach near the water tower on White Sands Boulevard between 4 p.m. and […]

Gulf Breeze bear trap removed

Gulf Breeze bear trap removed

In keeping with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) policy, a bear trap has been removed from the area of Gulf Breeze where a pet dog was attacked and killed. FWC Regional Public Information Director Bekah Nelson said the initial incident occurred July 28 shortly after 10 p.m. Residents of Vestavia Way reported that […]

New rules in place for deer harvest

New rules in place for deer harvest

The reporting system for deer harvest during the new season has changed. All hunters, including those under the age of 16, must now log their harvested deer prior to moving it from where it was located. Hunters must also report the harvested deer within 24 hours.   Read the full article in the Aug. 8 […]

Turtle heroes pull “Mac” from the surf

Turtle heroes pull “Mac” from the surf

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center named four new Sea Turtle Heroes July 20 thanks to the rescue effort that likely saved the life of a loggerhead sea turtle along Navarre Beach. Kevin Wiethe said he and some friends were setting up their canopy on the beach for the day when they spotted something in […]

Learning to mitigate your risks

Learning to mitigate your risks

We live in the most beautiful place in Florida, along the coast’s most beautiful beach. It is paradise. We are also fortunate to live among some pretty spectacular wildlife. The list includes bald eagles, ospreys, deer, coyotes, bears, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, sharks and so many other species. Nearly every day we see a video […]

Bear kills pet dog in Gulf Breeze

Bear kills pet dog in Gulf Breeze

A black bear killed a dog in a backyard in Gulf Breeze Sunday according to a statement from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) released to Monday. According to the statement, shortly after 10 p.m., FWC dispatch was notified of an incident involving a black bear and a dog in Gulf Breeze. An adult […]

One nest added, two more lost

One nest added, two more lost

Despite continued impacts from people, Navarre Beach has added another sea turtle nest to its count after a loggerhead made the trek up the beach July 16. That brings this year’s total so far to eight.     Read the full article in the July 25 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription […]

Bears close Navarre Park for a nap

Bears close Navarre Park for a nap

Friday two bears were caught napping in a pine tree in Navarre Park. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC), along with the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office, closed Navarre Park for the safety of visitors. According to FWC’s website, the black bear is the only species of bear in Florida. Bears are solitary by nature […]

FWC battling coral reef disease

FWC battling coral reef disease

Coral reefs in the Florida Reef Tract in the southern part of the state, which happens to be one of the largest reef systems in the world, are being impacted greatly by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. The disease is caused by bacteria and can be transmitted through direct contact and water circulation. Read the […]

Griffin sets state record for flathead catfish catch

Griffin sets state record for flathead catfish catch

A Santa Rosa County resident recently set a state record for a flathead catfish. Marvin Griffin caught the fish in the Yellow River on a rod and reel using live bait. The catfish checked in at 69.3 pounds, measuring 47 inches long and featuring a girth of 34.25 inches.   Read the full article in […]

Della Ratta enjoys teaching others about fishing

Della Ratta enjoys teaching others about fishing

Pete Della Ratta grew up on the Gulf Coast but didn’t get heavily involved in fishing until he was in high school. “Growing up here, my parents didn’t fish too much. The first time I saw my father with a rod and reel was with my daughter. For my kids to see their grandfather fishing, […]

New shore-based shark fishing requirements take effect

New shore-based shark fishing requirements take effect

Anyone interested in fishing for sharks must be aware of the new requirements that went into effect July 1. There is now a mandatory, no-cost annual shore-based shark fishing permit and educational course for shore-based anglers.   Read the full article in the July 4 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options […]

Bear spotted near recreation center in HBTS

Bear spotted near recreation center in HBTS

Holley by the Sea has put out a warning that there have been two reported sightings of a bear visiting the pool deck of the HBTS Recreation Center within the last week. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been called and an FWC officer visited the recreation center. The bear had moved on […]

Out of sight doesn’t mean out of danger when it comes to alligators

Out of sight doesn’t mean out of danger when it comes to alligators

In early June a young girl was attacked by an alligator in Leon County. She and her grandfather had gotten out of the water for a snack and spotted an alligator in the lake in which they’d just been swimming. They waited 30 minutes or so before re-entering the water.   Read the full article […]

R3 Program focuses on sustaining popularity of fishing

R3 Program focuses on sustaining popularity of fishing

Fishing is a big deal in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to make sure that angling continues to be a staple in the Sunshine State for years to come.   Read the full article in the May 30 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options – or click […]

Permit application process open for alligator hunt

Permit application process open for alligator hunt

Alligator hunting season begins in August and runs through November. The time to apply for a hunting permit is now. Permits aren’t guaranteed as the drawing is done through a lottery system.   Read the full article in the May 23 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options – or click here […]

Funding cut for BearWise program

Funding cut for BearWise program

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking in a different direction after funding for the BearWise program was cut out of the new state budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. Consideration had been made by state lawmakers to earmark $500,000 for BearWise, a program that provides bear-resistant garbage containers to […]

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