May 2011 The Employee e-Newsletter of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Serves Them Right Employee Milestones Shining Stars Legislative Updates

In this issue...
Biological status reviews of threatened species now complete
Development of management plans now under way... [more]

Drawdown yields 50-year-old Air Force fuel tank
Jettisoned into Tallahassee's Lake Munson during emergency landing... [more]

MarineQuest 2011
The 17th annual edition was another success... [more]

Doing a good turn for terns
Volunteers freshen up island nest site for least terns on Tallahassee lake... [more]

Employee Disaster Relief Fund
When disaster strikes, your donation can help a co-worker... [more]

Governor, Lt. Governor come to call
Photos from their April 22 visit to the Bryant Building... [more]

Biological status reviews of threatened species now complete
By Patricia Zick Since September, when the Commission approved the new management system for conserving threatened species, FWC staff have been working hard on biological status reviews (BSRs) for all of the grandfathered state-listed species. They've also begun the important process of developing management plans for these

species. Dr. Elsa Haubold, who heads up the Threatened Species Management team, announced in April that the BSRs for the 61 species had been finalized and posted on the website. All the supplemental information is posted as well, including the draft BSR, peer review comments and any other documentation received during the process. Each BSR includes the final staff recommendation for listing the species. A total of 174 external experts and 29 FWC experts participated in the reviews, and more helped with the coordination and finalization of the reports. This required tremendous effort, and the team appreciates all the staff from across the agency who came together to create the first comprehensive assessment of the status of Florida's state-listed species.

Based on the findings of the Biological Review Group, FWC staff recommend that the Florida sandhill crane be listed as a threatened species. (FWC photo)

The final findings and recommendations will be brought to the Commission for consideration at the June 8-9 meeting in St. Augustine. (Go to to view these reports.) Based on the BSR reports and peer review comments, staff will recommend that 40 of the 61 species be listed as threatened in Florida. Five species are being recommended to remain as species of special concern because of risk to the species and the need for additional information. Sixteen have been recommended for removal from Florida's list. Florida currently has 67 federally listed species and 64 state-listed species. All state-listed species will have management plans created in the next 2-3 years. Two - the gopher tortoise and Miami blue butterfly - already have approved management plans in place. Two other state-listed species - the Florida black bear and Panama City crayfish have draft plans that are being reviewed and revised. In March, staff began drafting goals and objectives that will be the foundation for management plans for the remaining 60 state-listed species. Haubold expects draft goals and objectives to be completed by the end of May and will begin seeking stakeholder input in June. The next step will be creating other important elements of the plans: conservation actions, research needed, incentives, permitting standards and implementation and prioritization schedules. The FWC has never taken on a project of this magnitude. This will be an adaptive process as we move forward with determining the best way to conserve Florida's threatened wildlife. Another component of the threatened species management system that is under way is review and possible development of additional best management practices (BMPs) for agriculture. Teams of FWC staff have been formed for each state-listed species. Each three-member team includes a species lead, an agriculture land-use lead and a habitat-management lead.

FWC staff recommend that the pillar coral be listed as a threatened species. (FWC photo)

The Lake Eustis pupfish is one of 16 species recommended for removal from Florida's list. (FWC photo)

These teams will review existing programs to determine the extent to which current agriculture BMPs would result in avoidance or minimization of impacts to Florida-listed species. In the new threatened species rules, these (BMPs) for agriculture will be developed in partnership with the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services within three years. "We are well on our way to an exciting, new, streamlined approach to better conserve Florida's most at-risk wildlife," Haubold said. "And we look forward to the continued involvement of FWC staff in the critically important management planning and implementation process that will ensure Florida's threatened species are

here for future generations to enjoy." Top of page

Drawdown yields 50-year-old Air Force fuel tank
You never know what you'll find at the bottom of a lake until you have a drawdown. As the water drained out of Tallahassee's Lake Munson, Michael Hill and Matt Phillips (HSC) discovered some sort of fuel tank. They didn't know what it was once attached to, or how long it had been there, only that it was a hazard to navigation, so they removed it. After the Tallahassee Democrat published a story about the mysterious find, a local resident with firsthand knowledge solved the puzzle.

This is how the fuel tank looked when Michael Hill and Matt Phillips found it on the exposed bottom of Lake Munson. (FWC photo by Michael Hill)

The T- 33 is still used to train pilots. The external fuel tank can be seen at the tip of the wing. (FWC photo by Stan Kirkland)

It was an external fuel tank for an Air Force T-33 training plane. Its pilot jettisoned the tank just before making an emergency landing at the nearby Tallahassee airport in 1961 or 1962. The man who cleared up the mystery used to fuel planes at the airport and was on duty when the incident occurred. He added that the pilot safely landed his plane. The fuel tank was not the first unusual find related to Lake Munson's drawdown. A few months earlier, state archeologists discovered a 500- to 800-year-old Indian canoe in the exposed lake bottom. Top of page

By Carli Segelson, FWRI The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute recently hosted the 17th annual MarineQuest - a free open house offering the public a chance to visit and learn about FWRI's new and exciting research. On April 28 and 29, over 1,800 schoolchildren from nearly 40 schools attended MarineQuest School Daze. After a brief introduction to the FWC and an overview of FWRI's work, staff guided school groups to a selection of the 30 stations set up for the event. Saturday, FWRI opened for the general public portion of MarineQuest. Thousands of visitors explored the St. Petersburg facility, listened to presentations and spoke with researchers. Labs were open inside, and there were interactive displays and exhibits outside. Kids and adults experienced fish and wildlife research in a fun, hands-on environment, featuring touch tanks, gyotaku (fish printing) and crafts. In addition to the FWRI and Law Enforcement exhibits, more than 25 other environmental organizations were on hand Saturday with their displays.

Thanks to the dedication of FWRI employees, MarineQuest 2011 was another success.
"School Daze" is a hands - on experience for students. (FWC photo)

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Doing a good turn for terns
Armed with shovels, rakes, weed-trimmers and enthusiasm, a handful of Tallahassee employees recently put in some volunteer hours sprucing up a nesting site for least terns. These shorebirds prefer to nest in the open sand, but because of beach development and increased human activity, they have sought alternative sites including gravel rooftops or, in this case, a small spit of land in Lake Lafayette, not far from downtown Tallahassee.

Volunteer Wendy Dial (foreground) pulls weeds from the gravel area, while others hack away at the brush. (FWC photo by Liz Sparks)

Volunteers spread sand around the perimeter of the gravel boxes to enhance the area's appeal to least terns. (FWC photo by Liz Sparks)

The little island already had a manmade nesting area, complete with patches of gravel. In late March, Liz Sparks (Recreation Services) led a work group of employees and other volunteers to prepare the island for the coming nesting season. They made their way from shore by kayak or Michael Hill's (HSC) airboat shuttle. The volunteers commenced to weed-whacking, weed-pulling, raking and smoothing, followed by back-and-forths to the boat ramp for bucket-loads of sand to spread around the perimeter of the gravel patches.

The finished nesting area site. (FWC photo by Scott Ball)

The volunteers pose before getting to work. They were much less photogenic by the time they finished. (FWC photo by Liz Sparks)

Apparently, their work is paying off. From a respectable distance, observers have sighted least terns flying, feeding and perching on the island on numerous occasions in recent weeks. Top of page

Employee Disaster Relief Fund
By Carli Segelson, FWRI Disaster struck last month when severe storms rolled through the Tampa Bay area, spawning tornados that damaged an FWC employee’s house. The roof was ripped off, damaging most of his belongings. Fortunately our agency was able to supply immediate help for the staff member through the FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The primary mission of the fund is to provide immediate cash assistance to FWC employees in the wake of a natural disaster or a house fire. The fund can also assist affected employees with utilities, rent or house payments in certain situations. When disaster strikes, it is important for our coworkers to know help is available.

A tornado tore the roof off the house of an FWC employee, destroying most of his belongings.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to this fund through payroll-deduction, make an online donation at, or send a check to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida at the following address: Wildlife Foundation of Florida P.O. Box 11010 Tallahassee, FL 32302 Ref: FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund Thanks to those who already have contributed to this fund. Top of page

Governor, Lt. Governor come to call
On April 22, Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll paid a visit to the FWC's Bryant Building headquarters in Tallahassee. Their morning tour included a brief meeting with the Senior Leadership Team and a gathering with employees in the parking lot. Below are a few photo highlights of the visit, taken by Tim Donovan.

Top of page

Serves Them Right
Citizens and FWC customers were so impressed by the following employees, they told us about it through the "Praise an Employee" page of Officers Michael Albert and David O'Regan, Duty Officer Valerie Wilder - "...I called to report a burrowing owl nest that was being bothered...I was dealt with professionally and courteously...I just want to thank everyone for the prompt action, you just don't get service like this anymore..." Mike Blondin, Steve Burger, Doris Durden, Will LaFever, Lance Logan (HSC) - "Subj: Osprey Unit (Hilochee WMA). Huge Thumbs Up On This Site's Improvement. The changes to this site have been fabulous...full site turnaround...Thanks for making the FWC unit of Osprey a premier site. Keep spending my tax dollars on projects like this!!!!!!!!!!" Kate Dragon (HSC) - "...friendly, professional and helpful. She took time out of her busy day to help find the person best able to answer my questions...She is a credit to her team and the FWC." Mark Kiser (Rec. Svcs.), Liz West (CR/HSC) - "I just had the pleasure of reading through the new GFBWT (Panhandle) guide. To put it in one sentence, I am blown away at the quality!...please congratulate the whole crew for me. Y'all get an 'A+.'" Lt. Roy Payne, Officer Seth Wingard - "...came to our neighbor's assistance. She collapsed while at Picnic Island in Newfound Harbor...officers managed to jury-rig a stretcher, transport her to marina, where an ambulance was waiting. She is OK ..." Sara McCutcheon (FWRI) - "...was very happy to share all her knowledge about fish biology, in particular the otoliths...She was exceptionally courteous and went out of her way to educate us..." David Nicholson (HGM) - "...very knowledgeable...passionate about birds and the biology, hunting, and passing on knowledge...gave me tips that couldn't be found in magazines or most books..." JoAnne Peagler (HGM) - "...highly regarded as a person who can get the job done no matter the

circumstances...unselfishly gives of her time..She just goes and goes like the Energizer Bunny." Officer David Robison - "My children and I were on the side of I-10 with a bad tire. He stopped on his way to training in Quincy and changed my tire...We appreciated that he took his time out and helped us...represented the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in a very upstanding fashion..." Brandon Schad (HSC) - "...took the time to meet with me the afternoon before the hunt. He went out of his way to make me comfortable. He made a great hunt even greater." Magda Soliman (HSC) - "Thank you so much. You are very helpful and considerate of your vendors!" Eddie White (L&P) - "...always the go-to guy for the many questions that pop to mind when applying for a quota hunt or regulations...always professional and courteous...I have met other friends that mention him by name, and all say the same..." Officer Mike ?? - "...was very courteous to us every time we saw him. Of course he made sure we were in compliance with the rules. He was doing his job and we were very thankful he was there..." Unidentified officer - "...on I-4...A lady pulled over and got out to investigate...Without hesitation your officer pulled over and offered assistance to her. I was glad to see law enforcement assisting the public. Hopefully, if I ever get into a situation like that I'll have FWC by my side. Good Job...Thanks!" Unidentified officers - "...pulled my 9-year-old son and me over for speeding in a Manatee Zone...let me off with a warning based on was truly important to show their professionalism in the presence of a young citizen and rabid fisherman..." Top of page

Shining Stars
At the April Commission meeting in Havana, two Law Enforcement employees received awards from outside organizations. Shikar-Safari Club International honored Officer Marc Shea of Naples as its Officer of the Year. The organization presents awards annually to wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces and territories in the United States and Canada for outstanding performance and achievement. "Shea is an outstanding example of a wildlife officer," said Jim Harrison, representative for the club. "I am delighted and proud that the state of Florida is maintaining this caliber of individuals working for Florida's wildlife." The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County Inc. paid tribute to the FWC's boating access coordinator, Pat Harrell of Tallahassee, with a Beacon of Light award. "The award is presented to an individual, group or organization whose work supports, promotes and protects the sound growth of the marine industry in Palm Beach County for the benefit and education of the boating public and the environment," said John Sprague, director of governmental affairs for the association.
(FWC photos by Tim Donovan) Pat Harrell (center) with Commissioners, John Sprague (Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach Co.) and Col. Jim Brown.

FWC Officer Marc Shea (center) with Commissioners, Jim Harrison (ShikarSafari) and Col. Jim Brown.




The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented an award to Michael Hill (HSC) for his work on behalf of the FWC with Eglin AFB and other agencies in restoring Okaloosa darter habitat and leading the way for the species to be downlisted from endangered to threatened. Ö Ö Ö

Don Francis (HSC) is the FWC recipient of the Department of Environmental Protection's Jim Stevenson Resource Manager of the Year award. Gov. Scott and the Cabinet will present the award and resolution to him at a Cabinet meeting May 3. Francis has served as area manager and biologist on the Joe Budd WMA for over 30 years. He is known as a tireless leader and champion for the stewardship of slope forests. His measures to catalog and protect rare natural communities have included discovering and recording the presence of a new state and national champion pyramid magnolia.
Michael Hill (R) receives his award from the Dept. of Defense and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (FWC photo by Stan Kirkland)




For the second year in a row, Jake Gipson (HSC) and his partner have won the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. Representing the University of Florida, Gipson and Matt Wercinski landed 15 bass weighing 41½ pounds during the three-day tournament in Kentucky. For winning the championship, the duo receives $50,000. The university will receive $25,000 and a Ranger bass boat. Read the full story at When he isn't winning fishing tournaments, Gipson is part of an interdivisional team working on the Florida Shorebird Database (featured in the April issue of the Inside Job). Top of page

Editor's note: The FWC has a great many non-FTE employees, and they deserve recognition for reaching 5year milestones too. Unfortunately, the system doesn't keep track of such statistics; but we don't want that to stop us. If you know of a non-FTE employee about to reach a 5-year milestone, please have his/her section leader notify the Inside Job by e-mail. Congratulations to the following employees, who reach 5-year milestones of employment with the FWC in May. Numbers in parentheses indicate total state service, if different.

30 Years
Roy Brown - Law Enforcement

25 Years
Joanne Adams - Law Enforcement James Estes - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Steven Golden - Law Enforcement Jeffrey Hamblen - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Robert Jefferson - Law Enforcement Michael Nobles - Law Enforcement George Waldeck - Law Enforcement

15 Years
Sharon Bussey - Finance & Budget (21 years, 3 months)

10 Years

Mark Cunningham - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Hedy (Fredericks) Havel - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Meghan Koperski - Habitat & Species Conservation Alice Mason - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

5 Years
Jennifer Culver - Finance & Budget Laura Jerome - Human Resources Angela Jones - Executive Director's Office Peter Klocksien - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Mark Marcucci - Freshwater Fisheries Mgt. (6 years, 6 months) Wendy Nakamaru - Habitat & Species Conservation Emily Norton - Law Enforcement (5 years, 6 months) Edwin Pulido - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (12 years, 7 months) Daniel Stermen - Law Enforcement (8 years, 11 months) Susan Trammell - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute And "Congratulations; we're jealous," to these retirees:

Esther Lehmkuhl - 18 years, 8 months (FWRI)

William Johnson - 37 years (FWRI) Charlene Landry - 24 years, 8 months (F&B)

William Arnette - 36 years, 6 months (Law Enforcement) Lee Schlesinger - 29 years, 7 months (Marine Fisheries Mgt.) Llyn French - 24 years (Fish and Wildlife Research Institute) Top of page

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