Florida wildlife officials are kicking off a series of statewide workshops to promote gopher tortoise conservation among local officials. They’ll begin this week in the Panhandle.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the goal is to identify ways counties and cities can participate in protecting Florida’s threatened species. Alex Kalfin is the FWC’s Local Government Coordinator for the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program. He says the regional workshops will also inform local governments on financial incentives, like the Habitat Management Assistance Program.
“And, that offers a reimbursement of up to $15,000 for local governments for the improvement of Gopher Tortoise habitats,” he said. “So, any activities such as prescribed burning or roller chopping and even invasive species removal.”
He says the theory is by increasing or improving gopher tortoise habitats, you’re also helping more than 360 other species that benefit from its burrow to either escape predators or extreme temperatures.
Tuesday’s workshop will be held at the Walton County Extension Office in Defuniak Springs from 9 a.m. to noon Central time. The rest will be in Citrus, Pasco, Flagler, and Palm Beach counties as well as the City of Sebastian from July 19 to August 18. Those interested need to register by e-mailing Kalfin at Alex.Kalfin@MyFWC.com
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