FWC seeks input on draft Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking public input on draft revisions to the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines.
The goal of the proposed revisions is to better protect gopher tortoises by incentivizing relocations to protected recipient sites, clearly defining roles and responsibilities in the relocation process, and clarifying other provisions in the guidelines.
Key revisions and information included in the guidelines will be presented at two public webinars. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. Webinars are scheduled for the following dates:
Wednesday, Sept 7, 8:30-10:30 a.m. ET
Wednesday, Sept 14, 3-4:30 p.m. ET
Written comments will be accepted between Aug. 24 – Sept. 23, 2022.
Information on the draft guidelines, instructions on how to join the webinars and a link to the comment survey are available at MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise. A PDF copy of the presentation will also be posted on the website following the webinar.
Individuals who would like to comment but are unable to do so in the specified timeframe or prefer an alternate format in which to comment, should contact Katherine.Richardson@MyFWC.com.
The gopher tortoise is a state-listed Threatened species. The Gopher Tortoise Management Plan and associated Guidelines provide the management framework for gopher tortoise conservation in Florida. Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines clarify protections, outline activities where permits are needed, provide methods and qualifications for individuals conducting gopher tortoise relocation, and outline requirements for sites that receive gopher tortoises. The initial Guidelines were approved in 2008 and several revisions over the years have allowed for continued improvement in the permitting process and in conservation for the species.