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

Serves Them Right Employee Milestones Shining Stars

In this issue...
Rethinking Species of Greatest Conservation Need list
Wildlife Legacy Initiative staff taking a closer look... [more]

Trail's new name reflects expanded focus
It's now the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail... [more]

MarineQuest 2011
The 17th annual open house is April 30 at FWRI headquarters in St. Petersburg... [more]

Japan interested in Sport Fish Restoration model
FWC hosts meeting of Japanese delegation in Lakeland... [more]

Busman's holiday for McArthur
Vacationing employee from Recreation Services comes to sea turtle's aid... [more]

Florida Shorebird Database - coming soon
Interdivisional effort results in centralized website... [more]

Rethinking Species of Greatest Conservation Need list
By Brian Branciforte, Habitat & Species Conservation In 2005, the FWC recognized 974 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Florida's first State Wildlife Action Plan. The list identifies species that are vulnerable so that conservation actions can be taken on their

behalf. The list is also used to set priorities for funding, such as through Florida's State Wildlife Grants Program. As the State Wildlife Action Plan passes the 5-year anniversary mark, Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative staff is working with state species experts and conservation partners to take a closer look at the SGCN list as a part of an overall revision of the Action Plan. Recently five FWC teams - focusing separately on birds, mammals, reptiles/amphibians, fish, and invertebrates - agreed on new criteria and are now working to create a draft list for review by stakeholders, experts and the public. The new list will include all federal- and state-listed species, as well as species that are considered keystone species, rare, biologically vulnerable due to their status or life history, and species that are of concern for other reasons, such as a specific threat or a lack of data.

The oak toad is a species proposed for addition to Florida's SGCN list. (FWC photo)

The ultimate goal of the revision is to create a science-driven list that is meaningful and useful to the conservation community. Top of page

Trail's new name reflects expanded focus
By Mark Kiser, Office of Recreation Services The Great Florida Birding Trail has a new name. The program is now called the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) to reflect the growing emphasis on promoting Florida's other amazing wildlife-watching opportunities.

The 2,000-mile GFBWT links nearly 500 outstanding destinations around the state - from world-renowned to hidden gems. Look for new, expanded guidebooks for the Trail's Panhandle and East sections coming soon, and check out the new GFBWT merchandise on the Wildlife Foundation of Florida's website. The Trail's website address remains unchanged: www.floridabirdingtrail.com. Top of page

MarineQuest 2011
By Carli Segelson, FWRI Visitors of all ages can experience science firsthand at the 17th annual MarineQuest at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last year, nearly 4,000 people attended this free open house, which features more than 60 exhibits with interactive displays and live animals. Participants can join FWRI biologists as they demonstrate how they rescue distressed manatees, tag fish and identify fish diseases. They can learn about the FWRI's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and talk one-on-one with FWC scientists and law enforcement officers. Live critters in touch tanks will be on display, as will other live animals, including sharks, rays and

hatchery-reared redfish. " School Daze" is a hands-on experience for students.
(FWC photo)

Participants can join FWRI biologists as they demonstrate how they rescue distressed manatees, tag fish and identify fish diseases. They can learn about the FWRI's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and talk oneon-one with FWC scientists and law enforcement officers. Live critters in touch tanks will be on display, as will other live animals, including sharks, rays and hatchery-reared redfish. On April 28 and 29, FWRI holds a special version of MarineQuest, called "School Daze," open to schools by registration only. The School Daze program is a fun, free, hands-on field trip that teaches students about the institute and current fish and wildlife research activities. Students will spend their two-and-a-half hour tour visiting six of the lab stations. There, researchers will use hands-on demonstrations and activities to explain individual research projects to the students. MarineQuest takes place at the FWRI headquarters at 100 8th Ave. S.E., in downtown St. Petersburg. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Research or call 727-896-8626. Top of page

Japan interested in Sport Fish Restoration model
By Gary Morse, SW Region Public Information Coordinator For more than 60 years, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act has been a funding cornerstone for fisheries conservation programs in the United States. The successful program has caught the attention of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, which sent several officials to Florida to learn how the federal program works. They met in March at the Southwest Regional Office in Lakeland, where FWC representatives described how the federal user-pay system helps fund freshwater and marine fisheries projects for state agencies. Recently, a world record-tying 22-pound largemouth bass was caught in a Japanese lake, stirring interest in FWC staff hosted officials from the Fisheries Agency of Japan to discuss how the Sport Fish Restoration Program works in the developing freshwater fishing opportunities there. United States. The Japanese government is considering creating a With that in mind, Japanese officials are hopeful of similar program. instituting a similar "federal aid" program in Japan. (FWC photo) To learn more about the Sport Fish Restoration program, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing. Top of page

Busman's holiday for McArthur
Hugh McArthur (Recreation Services) took some time off in February for a vacation in the Keys. He was

enjoying some kayaking when he spotted a sea turtle entangled in a lobster trap. Being a smart FWC employee, he knew exactly what to do. He paddled to shore and called the FWC for assistance. Officer Racquel Daniels and marine turtle biologist Sue Schaf (FWRI) responded. Together, the three untangled and released the turtle. The turtle had a rub mark from the rope, but was otherwise in good shape.

Officer Daniels retrieves the entangled sea turtle while Hugh McArthur observes. (FWC photo by Sue Schaf)

Cutting loose the lobster trap rope from around the flipper of the sea turtle. (FWC photo by Sue Schaf)

Despite the rub mark left by the rope... (FWC photo by Sue Schaf)

...the turtle was healthy enough to be released. (FWC photo by Sue Schaf)

McArthur seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In 2010 he and two co-workers encountered a young boy cruising down the highway in his toy, battery-powered car. They got him off the road, called 911 and stayed with him until authorities arrived - quite likely averting a tragic outcome. Top of page

Florida Shorebird Database online soon
By Naomi Avissar, Habitat & Species Conservation The FWC is pleased to announce the pending launch of the Florida Shorebird Database (FSD), a centralized website for shorebird and seabird data. This online tool provides users with shorebird and seabird monitoring protocols and allows them to submit and share their monitoring data. Once data are entered, they can be accessed online, allowing researchers, managers and conservationists to easily collaborate. This website combines a state-of-the-art, user-friendly Web interface and Google mapping features with a standardized monitoring protocol that will greatly improve populationmonitoring efforts. Even in its development stage, this ground-breaking database has drawn the attention of other states and federal agencies.

The FSD is the product of the dedication and commitment of "Operation SeaShore," an interdivisional effort between staff of the Species Conservation Planning Section of HSC and FWRI. Janell Brush, Chris Burney, Bobbi Carpenter, Nancy Douglass, Samantha Dupree, Jake Gipson, Alex Kropp and Kristin Rogers took on this ambitious project to address a critical need, despite full workloads and limited funding. The FSD was further strengthened by input from members of the Florida Shorebird Alliance, a statewide network of partners committed to advancing shorebird and seabird conservation in Florida. Regional staff has been conducting workshops statewide to train partners on this new tool. The FSD is expected to launch in mid-April at www.flshorebirddatabase.org. Until then, we encourage you to visit the demonstration site at https://publictest.myfwc.com/CrossDOI/Shorebirds/index.html and explore the features of this exciting new database. For more information, please visit www.flshorebirdalliance.org or contact naomi.avissar@myfwc.com. 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 MyFWC.com/Contact: Lt. David Dipre - "...and his younger officer 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 ..." Tim Donovan, Gus Holzer, Tim Lewis (CR) - "...every time their assistance is requested by the Division of Law Enforcement, they are thorough...prompt...professional...They consistently put aside their personal schedules and interests to do what is requested...commend them all on their work ethic and attitude." Renee Hays (HGM) and George Handley (Volunteer) - "...George...has been outstanding in so many ways on the two youth hunts that my son and I participated in. Renee has always been extremely helpful arranging and coordinating these events." Trina Heil (OED, Southwest Region) - "...was extremely helpful in answering my questions. I could tell by speaking to her she takes pride in her job. Every business could use more Trinas." Monica Howell (L&P) - - "...always a breath of fresh air to talk to and so knowledgeable. You serve FWC well by consistently offering great customer service..." Joe Morcate (OED, NW Region) - "...took the 5 minutes that I need to get the correct information...was very helpful with an out-of-state person who did not know what they needed to do to fish on a vacation..." Officer Stephen Rice - "...my wife and I were involved in a boating accident...her back was broken...officer showed great concern for my wife...showed up at the hospital to check on her condition...gave me a cell phone number to contact him at any time...We are so very pleased with the way we were treated..." Bill Turner (HSC) - "...very polite, informative and friendly. He provided the information I needed with no need for follow-up. He is very helpful!" Unidentified (NE Region) - "...It doesn't matter what the question or where, they are always supportive. Thanks everyone for a great job with such limited resources." Officer Jeff ?? - "...in Lake George State Forest...I was stung by a yellow jacket and went into serious anaphylactic shock...Jeff took me into the store and along with the help of the clerk took care of me until EMTs arrived and I was able to be taken to the hospital...I appreciate his professionalism and courtesy."

Unidentified - "...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..." Top of page

Shining stars
Congratulations are in order for agency coordinator Ming Lee and FWC employees in the Big Bend for their generosity during the 2010 Florida State Employees Charitable Campaign (FSECC). At the campaign's recent awards banquet for the 8county Big Bend region, the FWC received the Special Achievement Award for Highest Per-capita Giving ($83) among agencies with 501-1,000 employees in the region. For having 19 Leadership Givers, the FWC received the Art of Leadership Giving Award. All told, FWC Big Bend employees pledged $41,227 to the 2010 campaign.
Lisa Zullo (HSC), Ming Lee (L&P) and Greg Holder pose with former Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and Ken Armstrong, United Way Big Bend.

The Big Bend Region of the FSECC includes Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Top of page

Congratulations to the following employees, who reach 5-year milestones of employment with the FWC in April. Numbers in parentheses indicate total state service, if different.

35 Years
Earnest Truby - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

30 Years
Jeffrey Ardelean - Law Enforcement William Murphy - Law Enforcement (36 years) Alton Ranew - Law Enforcement Norman Runkle - Law Enforcement Dennis Sharpe - Law Enforcement Jeffrey Summers - Law Enforcement

25 Years
John Benton - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Bruce Jaggers - Habitat & Species Conservation

20 Years
Rodney Bertelsen - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Angelina Stoliker - Law Enforcement (24 years, 3 months)

15 Years
Billie Carlton - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Kim Dipre - Law Enforcement

10 Years
Kathy Barnes – Licensing & Permitting (20 years, 11 months) Howard Brown - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Conrad Ender - Law Enforcement Monica Howell – Licensing & Permitting

Adrienne Ruhl – Recreation Services William Wheat - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

5 Years
Lisa Clancy - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Carlos Llull Jr. - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Kim Palmer - Law Enforcement Clinton Peters - Habitat & Species Conservation Brenda Regan - Habitat & Species Conservation Michelle Sempsrott - Marine Fisheries Mgt. Michael Sowinski - Habitat & Species Conservation Chasen Yarborough - Law Enforcement Top of page

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