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As the 4th of July holiday approaches, Florida wildlife officials along with environmental groups want to remind beachgoers to do their part in protecting the state’s nesting shorebirds.

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As the spiny lobster sport season begins this July, the Florida Wildlife officials have approved a new way for divers to capture more spiny lobsters, while also helping Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. 

reefrangers.com

Florida wildlife officials want more people to sign up for their “Reef Rangers” program. It builds on the ongoing efforts to remove the invasive lionfish species from state waters.

Tim Donovan / FWC

This week is National Safe Boating Week, and Florida wildlife officials are highlighting the week to ensure boaters put safety first and wear a life jacket.

Rebekah Nelson / FWC

Florida wildlife officials are trying to make it easier for local recreation anglers to catch fish in a Bay County lake.

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The lionfish continues to be problematic for Florida wildlife officials. While nice to look at, the invasive fish is harmful to the state’s nature habitat. The state wildlife agency is designating May 16th as Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission / FWC's Flickr account

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is getting a federal grant to step up protection efforts for some of the state's threatened and endangered species.

The Commission wants to use the $370 million federal grant to target the gopher tortoise, Florida panther and Florida grasshopper sparrow.

FWC

An app unveiled by Florida Wildlife officials months ago to combat invasive lionfish has received some upgrades.

“Report Florida Lionfish” app

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the “Report Florida Lionfish” app has been doing pretty well with thousands of downloads since its May launch. And, she says the users’ experience has now improved.

Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

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Florida Wildlife officials are taking a new step to encourage lionfish removal and help control the invasive species. The new rule took effect Wednesday.

In August, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned the importation of lionfish for use in the aquarium trade. But, spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says there may be gap in that rule.

Fawn in St. Francis Wildlife
Alexandra Fahnlander / WFSU News

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reminding people not to remove fawns from the wild. The practice is illegal and endangers the life of baby deer.

Theresa Stevenson is an animal rehabilitator at Saint Francis Wildlife Association in Quincy. She says many people bring fawns in. 

"So what we have to do is basically put it back," she says. "We take a lot of time taking healthy fawns back to their moms."

Stevenson explains the well-intentioned move has serious consequences.

A researcher checks a coral colony
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Researchers in South Florida say an effort to rebuild coral reefs using coral transplanted from offshore nurseries is looking like a success. Scientists are seeing the first signs of growth from the new coral.

In 2009 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spearheaded a project to rebuild reefs in Florida’s Keys using coral grown in a nursery.  But setbacks hampered the nursery’s progress so officials reached out to offshore nurseries around the state, to cultivate a new population of coral.

FWC

Florida wildlife officials are thanking the public for helping them combat lionfish by downloading the Florida Lionfish-reporting app. It’s a way for residents to share sightings of the invasive species on the go.

Since its May release, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says her agency’s lionfish-reporting app has been a success.

Karen Parker / FWC's Flickr account

Florida wildlife officials are inviting Franklin county residents to take part in an informal workshop to learn more about combatting the invasive lionfish species currently threatening native wildlife. The Thursday event is part of the SciCafé series.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is partnering with the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve to put on the SciCafé workshop.

Amanda Nalley / FWC's Flickr account

A new rule banning the importation of lionfish is among several new regulations aimed at combating the invasive species set to take effect Friday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the goal behind making it illegal to import lionfish from out of state in the aquarium trade is to help prevent any further introduction of the spiny fish into Florida waters.

'Operation Dry Water' Fights Boating Under The Influence

Jul 3, 2014
boats
Christopher League via Flickr

Last weekend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, participated in its sixth annual Operation Dry Water. The national program is designed to prevent alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. 

Most citizens know what a DUI is, but what about a BUI?  Boating under the influence poses serious risks – enough to account for 15 percent of Florida’s boating fatalities for 2013, according to the FWC.

FWC's Flickr account

Florida wildlife officials have approved a series of rules aimed at combating the invasive species lionfish, including an importation ban.

At a Wednesday meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved new rules to make it illegal to import lionfish into the state from other countries or other states for use in the aquarium trade. FWC spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the reason for the ban—which takes effect August 1st—is two-fold.

FWC Unveils New App To Combat Invasive Lionfish

May 28, 2014
Lionfish
FWC

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, is taking an unconventional approach to combating invasive species. Its new smartphone app may hold the key to eliminating lionfish from the Florida coasts.

 

The FWC took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to announce its newest smartphone app titled Report Florida Lionfish. Through the app, users can submit lionfish data such as population size, location and how the fish are being harvested.

 

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Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are holding a workshop Tuesday to discuss the management of the black bear population in the east Florida Panhandle area. It’s the last of six workshops to get people involved in working with the FWC on local bear issues.

By blowing air out of their noses as well as opening and closing their jaw, Florida black bears are doing what's called huffing and popping its jaw. That's a defensive noise they make because they feel uncomfortable—much like the rattling sound a rattlesnake makes as a sign of warning.

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