FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapes
Monday, May 22, 2017
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Gary Morse, 863-648-3852; Carol Lyn Parrish, 850-556-2269
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHskZUQWTU
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold open-house style public meetings in June to provide information and gather input on the agency’s development of Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for the Florida burrowing owl.
In January, 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 the process for developing permitting guidelines and on interim permitting processes for Florida burrowing owls in urban areas. 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 manmade structures such as pipes and drains.
“The FWC is inviting the public to meet with us, ask questions and offer input about the regulatory process and permitting guidelines for burrowing owls,” said Craig Faulhaber, the FWC’s avian conservation coordinator.
The burrowing owl meetings are scheduled for:
- June 14, 4 to 7 p.m., Cape Coral Lee County Public Library, 921 SW 39th Terrace, Cape Coral 33914.
- June 15, 4 to 6:45 p.m., Marco Island Library (Rose Hall), 210 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island 34145.
The meetings will be an open-house format so members of the public are welcome to come and go at any time.
FWC staff at the meetings will provide information on the protections that apply to burrowing owls, the process of developing Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines, and the interim permitting process until guidelines for this species are in place.
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.