Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
FL - Fish And Wildlife Commission.jpg
Common name Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Abbreviation FWC
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1999
Preceding agencies
  • Marine Fisheries Commission
  • Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Employees 2,112.5 full-time[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Florida, United States
Size 170,304 km2
Population 21,000,000+
Governing body Florida Legislature
Constituting instrument
  • Constitution of the State of Florida
Headquarters Tallahassee, Florida

Law enforcement officers 853 (2018)
Agency executive
  • Bo Rivard, Chairman
Website
myfwc.com

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is a Florida government agency founded in 1999 and headquartered in Tallahassee. It manages and regulates the state's fish and wildlife resources, and enforces related laws. Officers are managers, researchers, support personnel, and perform law enforcement in the course of their duties.

History[edit]

In 1998 an amendment to the Florida Constitution approved the establishment of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with a headquarters in Tallahassee, the state capital on July 1, 1999. It resulted from a merger between three former offices, namely the Marine Fisheries Commission, Division of Marine Resources, the former Florida Marine Patrol (FMP) and Division of Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and all of the employees and Commissioners of the former Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (FGFWC).

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) since then serves as the environmental regulatory agency for the state, enforcing environmental legislation regarding air and water quality, for example.

In 2004, the Florida Legislature approved to integrate parts of the Division of Wildlife, Division of Freshwater Fisheries, and the Florida Marine Research Institute to create the 'Fish and Wildlife Research Institute' (FWRI) in St. Petersburg, Florida. It has over 600 employees.[2]

As of 2014 the FWC had over 2,000 full-time employees, maintained the FWRI, five regional offices, and 73 field offices across the state.[1]

Organizational Units[edit]

As of 2013, the FWC had six divisions:

  • Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
  • Division of Hunting and Game Management
  • Division of Habitat and Species Conservation
  • Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management
  • Division of Marine Fisheries Management, oversees the State's artificial reef program.[3]
  • Division of Law Enforcement

The FWC has the following 11 offices for administrative purposes:

  • Office of the Executive Director
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Office of Community Relations
  • Office of Public Access and Wildlife Viewing Services
  • Office of Policy and Accountability
  • Office of Finance and Budget
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Office of the Inspector General
  • Office of Licensing and Permitting
  • Legal Office
  • Legislative Affairs Office
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission building in Tallahassee.

Commissioners[edit]

The Florida Constitution authorizes the Commission to enact rules and regulations regarding the state's fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people. To do this, the seven Governor of Florida-appointed Commissioners meet five times each year to hear staff reports, consider rule proposals, and conduct other business. Because stakeholder involvement is a crucial part of the process, the Commission meets in different locations across the state giving citizens the opportunity to address the Commission about issues under consideration.[4]

The seven commissioners of the FWC are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Florida legislature for five-year terms. Typically, commissioners come from different geographical areas of the state in order to ensure that the FWC adequately protects the entire state of Florida, but it is not unusual to have multiple commissioners from the same city or region. Their constitutional duty is to exercise the "...regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to marine life, except that all license fees and penalties for violating regulations shall be as provided by law."[5]The Commissioners as of 2018:

Member Current Term Began Original Appointment Term Expires
Adrien "Bo" Rivard, Chair March 8, 2013 March 8, 2013 August 1, 2017
Robert A. Spottswood, Vice Chair January 12, 2018 September 2, 2015 January 6, 2023
Joshua Kellam January 2, 2018 January 2, 2018 January 5, 2019
Gary Lester January 12, 2018 January 12, 2018 January 12, 2023
Gary Nicklaus December 1, 2017 December 1, 2017 August 2, 2022
Sonya Rood December 1, 2017 December 1, 2017 January 2, 2022
Michael W. Sole May 12, 2017 May 12, 2017 August 1, 2021

Controversy[edit]

In 2012, the FWC adopted a plan on how the Florida Black Bear should be managed over the next 10 years. It created 'Bear Management Units' based on seven geographically distinct bear subpopulations. In June 2015, the FWC approved "a limited bear hunt to take place beginning October 24, 2015 in four of the seven Bear Management Units".[6]

Wildlife Management Areas[edit]

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) conserve nearly 6 million acres of Florida’s natural habitat. The areas exist to protect fish and wildlife resources, as well as to provide recreational opportunities such as hunting and wildlife-viewing.[7]

The first Wildlife Management Area, Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb WMA, was established in 1941 with Pittman-Robertson Act funds. Since that time, 45 lead properties (see below) have been added to this system. FWC also manages a number of other cooperative properties in conjunction with other agencies.

2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife Management Area system. Events will be held statewide and included a kickoff event on January 21, 2017 at Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb WMA, several bioblitzes, and a final event at Tosohatchee WMA on December 2, 2017.[8] #WMAzing was the tag created for the event and is still in use today.

Properties[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (September 2014). "Overview - Fast Facts". State of Florida. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (n.d.). "Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, History". State of Florida. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Horn, W; Maher, T; Dodrill, J (2000). "Fish census data from scientific divers of the Florida Artificial Reef Program". In: Hallock and French (eds). Diving for Science...2000. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Scientific Diving Symposium, American Academy of Underwater Sciences. St Pete Beach, Florida. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  4. ^ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (n.d.). "AboutThe Commission". State of Florida. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (n.d.). "About: The Commissioners". State of Florida. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Florida black bear". Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. n.d. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Enjoying Your Wildlife Management Areas". myfwc.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  8. ^ "Enjoying Your Wildlife Management Areas". myfwc.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 

External links[edit]