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FWC holds public meetings on proposed conservation measures, permitting guidelines for burrowing owls

News Release

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Media contact: Sarah Lessard, 850-617-9383; Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHskZUQWTU External Website 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold public meetings this month to provide information and gather input on newly developed draft conservation measures and permitting guidelines for the Florida burrowing owl.

In January 2017, the listing status of the Florida burrowing owl changed from Species of Special Concern to State Threatened, as part of rule changes implementing the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan approved in November 2016. 

The meetings will focus primarily on reviewing the agency’s draft Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for Florida burrowing owls. The burrowing owl’s habitat was once native dry prairies, but today this owl is as likely to be found in open areas of urban and suburban landscapes. They dig their own burrows, but also may move into the burrows of other species, such as the gopher tortoise, or occasionally inhabit man-made structures such as pipes and drains.

“The FWC is inviting the public to meet with us, ask questions and offer input about proposed Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for Florida’s burrowing owls,” said Craig Faulhaber, the FWC’s avian conservation coordinator.

The meetings will be held in Broward and Lee counties:

FWC staff will briefly present the protections that apply to burrowing owls, the draft Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines, and anticipated next steps for this species. Members of the public who attend will be welcome to share their suggestions or concerns. From June to August 2017, the FWC held six public meetings and stakeholder workshops in south Florida to solicit input on the development of the guidelines.

The Florida burrowing owl lives primarily in peninsular Florida and is the only burrowing owl east of the Mississippi River. As one of 57 species in the Imperiled Species Management Plan, the burrowing owl has a Species Action Plan that describes its biology, habitats and the FWC’s goals and actions for conserving this threatened species.

Learn more about the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan at MyFWC.com/Imperiled.

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