Monthly Archives: August 2017

FWC releases new videos to help Florida residents avoid conflicts with bears

Bear videos available at:https://vimeo.com/album/3605088 External Website
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/gp/myfwcmedia/0FpB7w External Website

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce conflicts with bears, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is releasing two new videos in the “Living with Florida Black Bears” series. These videos are designed to help educate the public about how to safely coexist with bears in Florida.

The “Bear Behavior” video describes how a person should react if they encounter a bear in the wild, such as speaking in an assertive voice and backing away slowly. Bears are generally not aggressive toward people, but an encounter may become dangerous if a bear feels concerned or threatened. Knowing how to interpret bear behavior can help people react appropriately when they have a close encounter with a bear.

The “Scare the Bear” video illustrates how residents can reduce conflicts with bears that may come onto their property. Bears are driven by their need for food and powerful sense of smell, which often leads them into neighborhoods and areas with readily accessible food sources. While properly securing garbage and other attractants is critical, scaring bears away from neighborhoods is also important because it can reinforce their natural fear of people. A bear that has been frightened by people is less likely to stay in areas where people are present, which reduces the risk to public safety.

“The No. 1 cause of conflict with bears is unsecured trash and other attractants, such as pet food, barbecue grills and birdseed,” said Dave Telesco, who leads the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “As bears spend more time in neighborhoods, they begin to lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to dangerous encounters. These videos highlight steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of both bears and humans.”

The new videos are being added to the existing “Living with Florida Black Bears” series, which already includes the following videos:

  • How to Make Your Wildlife Feeders Bear-Resistant
  • How FWC Conducts Bear Population Estimates
  • A Day in the Life of a Florida Black Bear
  • How to Protect Livestock and Pets from Bears
  • Cause for a Call
  • BearWise Communities

The FWC plans to release more bear-related videos in the coming months. These videos help educate the public about black bears in a quick and convenient format.

The entire “Living with Florida Black Bears” video series can be viewed at  MyFWC.com/Bear in the “Brochures & Other Materials” section.

In addition to educational efforts, the FWC is inviting local governments to apply for BearWise funding for their communities. The FWC will focus on providing financial assistance to local governments with BearWise ordinances in place, which require residents and businesses to keep their garbage secure from bears.A total of $515,000 will be available to offset the costs for communities to use bear-resistant equipment to secure their garbage and help reduce conflicts with bears.

To learn how to become BearWise, visit MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “BearWise Communities” on the left side of the page.

Who will be the next Lionfish Challenge winners? Find out Sept. 9

There’s still time to remove lionfish and win prizes by participating in the 2017 Lionfish Challenge. The statewide lionfish removal incentive program will come to a close Sept. 4. The winners, also known as the Lionfish King/Queen (recreational category) and the Commercial Champion, will be crowned at the Lionfish Safari in St. Petersburg at 4 p.m. Sept. 9. Join Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff along with Lionfish Safari organizer Reef Monitoring, as we celebrate these amazing lionfish hunters at the North Straub Park, 400 Bay Shore Drive NE.

Noyeslionfish

Scott Noyes of Sarasota County used his ZooKeeper Lionfish Containment Unit to collect these lionfish for the Lionfish Challenge. Photo courtesy of Scott Noyes.

Competition is fierce. The 100 recreational and commercial participants have removed more than 12,300 lionfish so far (just over 6,000 recreationally and just under 6,000 commercially) and have received prizes ranging from T-shirts, tumblers and heat packs to ZombieStickz Lionfish Eliminator and Neritic pole spears, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium gift bags and ZooKeeper Lionfish Containment Units. Lionfish Challenge winners will be given a custom-made FishBone Design trophy and a No Shoes Reefs limited edition Engel 85 cooler.

Julie Cage Lionfish

Julie Cage of Volusia County submitted her 25 qualifying lionfish June 16. Photo courtesy of Julie Cage.

The FWC’s Lionfish Challenge started on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, May 20.

To enter, participants register online at MyFWC.com/Lionfish and submit their harvest of 25 lionfish (or 25 pounds commercially).

The more lionfish you enter, the more prizes you will receive.

Planson Lionfish

Debbie Planson of Volusia County submitted her 25 qualifying lionfish July 2. Photo courtesy of Debbie Planson.

Think you have what it takes to be crowned the next Lionfish King/Queen or Commercial Champion? Sign up and learn more today at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

Learn more about the Lionfish Safari External Website at ReefMonitoring.org by scrolling over “Event Page” and clicking on “Lionfish Safari.”

Also, be sure to check out the new and improved Reef Rangers website at ReefRangers.com, External Website which will be launched Sept. 5.

LC2017Shirt

This year’s Lionfish Challenge shirt.

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Photos

(Flickr) http://bit.ly/2usiJsJ External Website  

FWC conducts aquatic plant control on Lake Rousseau

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control on Lake Rousseau from Sept. 5 through Sept. 15, weather permitting. Lake Rousseau is part of the Withlacoochee River and is in parts of Citrus, Levy and Marion counties west of Dunnellon.

Invasive hydrilla will be treated only in boat trails, but water lettuce and water hyacinth will be treated throughout the lake.

Boat trails requiring hydrilla treatment to maintain navigation include County Trail A, Shoreline Trail south of County Trail B, Hamic Estates Trail and Silver Lake Trail.

Biologists anticipate treating about 121 acres of hydrilla and 40 acres of water lettuce and water hyacinth with herbicides approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“There will be no restrictions on recreational activities, such as fishing or swimming, during the treatment period,” said Bruce Jaggers, an FWC invasive plant management biologist.  “Any edible fish caught that are legal to keep may be consumed.”  

There is a seven-day restriction for using water from treated areas for drinking or for animal consumption. However, there are no restrictions for other uses of treated water such as irrigating turf, ornamental plants and crops.

Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant spread easily by boats throughout Florida’s lakes and rivers. While recreational anglers and waterfowl hunters may see some benefits from hydrilla, there are other potential impacts to consider including negative impacts to beneficial native habitat, navigation, flood control, potable and irrigation water supplies, recreation and the aesthetic qualities of lakes. The FWC strives to balance these needs while managing hydrilla.

Go to MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats and click on “Invasive Plants” to find out more about invasive plant management, including “Frequently Asked Questions.”

For more information, contact Bruce Jaggers at 352-726-8622.

Second of Two Free Fishing Days in 2017 to be Held on Sept. 2

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages all Californians to give fishing a try for free on Saturday, Sept. 2. CDFW annually offers two Free Fishing Days, typically around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends (the first of the two Free Fishing Days in 2017 was held July 1). On these … Continue reading Second of Two Free Fishing Days in 2017 to be Held on Sept. 2

CDFW Accepting Applications for Wildlife Officer Cadet through Sept. 30

Do you have what it takes to be a California wildlife officer? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division (LED) is currently accepting applications for Wildlife Officer Cadet. CDFW is particularly interested in recruiting applicants with a love of the outdoors and a passion for fish and wildlife conservation. All prospective … Continue reading CDFW Accepting Applications for Wildlife Officer Cadet through Sept. 30

Apalachicola Bay commercial oyster conservation changes remain in effect for upcoming season

Several oyster conservation measures implemented previously will continue this winter season, Sept. 1 through May 31, 2018. These changes are effective in all of Apalachicola Bay, including all waters of Indian Lagoon in Gulf County.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began implementing conservation measures in the fall of 2014 in an effort to help the Apalachicola Bay oyster population recover from the effects of low river flow. Apalachicola Bay oyster populations have significantly declined in recent years due to lack of sufficient fresh water flows in the Apalachicola River.

The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay.

Changes are effective Sept. 1 through May 31, 2018 and include:

  • The daily commercial harvest and possession limit is three bags of oysters in the shell per person (each bag is equivalent to 60 pounds or two 5-gallon buckets.)
  • The daily recreational harvest per person, vessel and possession limit is 5 gallons of oysters in the shell (previously two bags per day).
  • Commercial and recreational oyster harvest is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Portions of the areas known as areas 1612 and 1622 are closed south of Sheepshead Bayou.

All other harvest regulations remain in effect.

To learn more about commercial oyster harvest, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”

Oyster conservation measures implemented in St. Andrews Bay

In an effort to conserve oyster resources in St. Andrews Bay and allocate the resource throughout the season while still maintaining harvest opportunities, several conservation measures will soon be implemented.

These changes affect all state waters of St. Andrews Bay in Bay County.

Commercial harvest will open Sept. 1 and remain open through June 30, 2018. The season is normally closed July 1 through Sept. 30.

During the open season, commecial harvesters are limited to five bags per person or a total of 10 bags of oyster per vessel. A bag is equivalent to 60 pounds (or 10 gallons). This change does not apply to active oyster leases.

Also, from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017, commercial harvest is closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

All other regulations remain in effect. 

Learn more about commercial oyster harvest at MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Oyster.”

September 2017 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

DATE — EVENT Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, various times, 45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road), Davis (95618). Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is home to approximately 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. From mid-June to mid-September, the Yolo Basin Foundation provides a program for people to learn about bats and … Continue reading September 2017 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Public meeting to address managing aquatic plant life on Lake Okeechobee

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, August 31, to address the management of aquatic plants on Lake Okeechobee.

The meeting will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Clewiston Youth Center, 110 W. Osceola Ave., Clewiston.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather public comment on vegetation and aquatic habitat management on Lake Okeechobee, and also gather input on any suggestions for future management efforts. The FWC, and other managing partners, will be available to discuss the management and answer questions following the public comment process.

More information on invasive aquatic plant management is available at MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats, click on “Invasive Plants” and “FAQs.”

Labor Day weekend is perfect for Gulf reef fishing; last weekend for red snapper, first weekend for gray triggerfish

If you haven’t caught any red snapper this season or if you have been dreaming about gray triggerfish opening back up, the long Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to get on the water.

The 2017 recreational red snapper season in both Gulf state and federal waters will close for the year on Sept. 5. This season was open in state waters Saturdays and Sundays May 6-21; daily May 27 through June 18; and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays June 23 through Sept. 4, including July 3, 4, and Sept. 4.

Also during Labor Day weekend, the limited fall gray triggerfish season will start ramping up in Gulf state waters.

Both species will be open to harvest Sept. 1-4 (red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters and gray triggerfish in Gulf state waters only).

Gray triggerfish will also be open to recreational harvest in state waters Sept. 9 and 10, and Oct. 7, 8, 14 and 15. This season closed in both state and federal waters earlier this year and remains closed in federal waters through Dec. 31.

In Gulf state waters, the red snapper season is open to all recreational anglers, and includes those fishing from for-hire vessels that are not federally-permitted.

In Gulf federal waters, this season does not apply to federally permitted for-hire vessels, which had a separate season in June and July. 

If you plan to fish for red snapper in Gulf state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, you must sign up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal is required). To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey” under “Reef Fish.” Sign up today External Website at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

Learn more about red snapper at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers.”

Learn more about gray triggerfish at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”