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Lake Apopka Aquatic Plant Management Meeting January 24th

Managing Aquatic Plants in Lake Apopka is the focus of a public meeting in Winter Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 24 hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The meeting is from 6-9 p.m. in Tanner Hall, 29 W. Garden Avenue in Newton Park, Winter Garden,

The goal of this meeting is to solicit public input on managing aquatic plants in Lake Apopka in order to develop the 2012-13 aquatic plant management plan for the lake.

Input from a wide variety of user groups is important to create a balanced approach to managing aquatic plants in Lake Apopka and the FWC will consider all comments.

“We want to know what business and property owners, anglers, hunters, bird watchers, boaters and others who have a vested interest in the lake think about current and future aquatic plant levels and management options; now is the time to get involved,” said Nathalie Visscher, an FWC invasive plant management biologist.

Visscher will provide a brief update and overview on past and present aquatic plant management efforts. Dr. Michael Netherland from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will make a presentation on the role of aquatic vegetation in Florida waters and the complexities associated with managing invasive plants in a multiple use system like Lake Apopka.

After the presentations, the FWC encourages the public to comment and discuss the level, types and management of aquatic vegetation desired and key areas of interest and concern.

“This is part of an ongoing process to maintain a regular dialogue with stakeholders about aquatic plant management on Lake Apopka and we strongly encourage everyone interested in aquatic plant management efforts on Lake Apopka to attend this meeting and give us your thoughts,” said Visscher.

For more details about the meeting, contact Nathalie Visscher at   321-228-3364  .

Clough returns as B.A.S.S. conservation director

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Noreen Clough, a highly respected and experienced leader in conservation and natural resource organizations, has been named B.A.S.S. conservation director, the organization announced today.

Clough, who served 20 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including director of the FWS Southeast Region, formerly served as B.A.S.S. conservation director from 2004 until her retirement in 2007. Chris Horton held the position from that time until last fall, when he became midwest director of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

“I’ve known Noreen for many years, and I am excited about the enthusiasm and dedication to sportfishing she brings back to B.A.S.S.,” said Jerry McKinnis, an owner of the company. “Anglers contribute so much time and money to conservation already. It’s great to have her providing leadership for bass fishermen on behalf of our resources.”

She will be working closely with state conservation directors and other leaders in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and she will represent sportfishing interests on national conservation and natural resource boards, in addition to other responsibilities.

Her first priorities will be to help “reenergize the state conservation director program and help them establish meaningful, exciting conservation priorities,” Clough said. “They have done a remarkable job over the years, and they are respected for the work they’ve done throughout the sportfishing industry.”

She identified efforts to make large areas of key fisheries off-limits to sportfishing, such as Marine Protected Areas, as a major threat to recreational angling. “The whole idea that giant areas need to be set aside as protected areas — in freshwater as well as saltwater — violates good fishery management,” she said. “I want to ensure that B.A.S.S. stays connected to the larger fisheries and sportfishing community and will remain a player at the table when key decisions are made regarding the future of fishing.”

Clough has received numerous honors for her work, including being named the American Sportfishing Association Woman of the Year and receiving the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service award and the Coleman Outdoors award. She currently serves on the board of the Berkley Conservation Leaders Advisory Team and is a member of the Michigan State University Fly Gals team, mentoring graduate students in sportfishing and conservation advocacy.

She resides in Clermont, Fla.

Lake Toho under NEW Hydrilla Management and Needs your Help!

News Release

October 25, 2010
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426;
Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will hold a public meeting to discuss the changes for hydrilla management on Lake Toho for the winter of 2010-2011. The meeting will be Friday, Nov. 5, from 6-8 p.m., at the Osceola County Commission Chambers in the Administrative Building at 1 Courthouse Square, Kissimmee.

Staff from both the FWC and the USFWS will present information on the upcoming hydrilla treatment plan to manage the nonnative plant. A preview of the evening’s public meeting will be offered in the same location from 3-4 p.m. for government officials interested in the topic.

“Lake Toho contains large amounts of hydrilla, which can cause navigation problems and limit access to boaters,” said Bill Caton, the FWC’s Invasive Plant Section leader. “This plant also provides an abundant food source and habitat used by a nonnative species of apple snail that lives in the lake.”

The snail is eaten by the (Everglades) snail kite, one of the most endangered birds in Florida, making Lake Toho one of the few areas in the state where kites can still find plenty of food. As a result, the FWC and the USFWS will change how, when and where hydrilla is controlled on the lake so that enough snails will be available when kites start nesting in the early spring.

This coming winter, the agencies will take an extra-cautious approach when controlling hydrilla to help the kites recover from a severe winter last year. The FWC and the USFWS are attempting to balance the needs of this endangered species with the needs of the people who use this lake. The meeting will provide information on how this plan is expected to affect hydrilla growth through the summer of 2011.

For more information on the meeting, please contact Zach Welch at 352-266-6139.

Technical Assistance Group (TAG) meeting for the development of the Black Bass Management Plan

Hello Stakeholders

Letting you know the first Technical Assistance Group (TAG) meeting for the development of the Florida’s Black Bass Management Plan will be on June 15th at the Bass Conservation Center near Brooksville, Fl.

We have assembled a great group of stakeholders, with lots of diversity consisting of several Professional Anglers, Marina Owners, Outdoor Writers, Bass Club Representatives , Conservationist and Tourist specialist.

This particular meeting is closed to additional (TAG) members, but is open to the public. This is why we have provided notice giving you ample time to send in your suggestions to the Florida Freshwater Fishing Coalition on what you would like or not like to see in the new black bass management plan. The plan is ours to design, let’s build it together for the future!

Please send all comment regarding the Black Bass Management Plan to bassplan@flffc.org

Thanks once again to all of our  conservation and recreation advocate partners!

“We are standing together to protect our fisheries”

Fishing Survey for NEW Florida Bass Management Plan

Dear Florida Angler,

Whether you are an occasional angler or an avid, whether you fish with a cane pole in your back yard or traveling to Florida “The Fishing Capital of the World” from afar, or if you have a business that depends on quality sportfishing–we want your opinion. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is developing a “Long-Term Black Bass Management Plan” and is interested in your input.

The following links provide some introductory material that you may want to review prior to taking this survey, but it is not critical that you do so. We mostly need your opinions to help ensure that we create a plan that addresses everyone’s concerns.

Background article published by Fish Busters’
First-Draft Black Bass Management Plan.
PowerPoint presentation (PDF 3 mb), first given October 2009 to the Florida Freshwater Fishing Coalition.
To take the survey click HERE.

Thank you for participating,

Darrell Scovell, Director

Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management

Florida's NEW Bass Management Plan

Lake Trafford stocked with 150,000 bass from FWC

April 21, 2010
Contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will stock 150,000 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings in Lake Trafford, the largest lake south of Lake Okeechobee.  The 1,500-acre freshwater lake is an important resource for boating, fishing and wildlife-viewing.

Over the past few years, the lake has been the focus of a multimillion-dollar, multi-agency restoration project.  So far, participants have dredged the lake of 8 million cubic yards of muck that, in the past, triggered algal blooms and fish kills.  To date, the FWC has contributed over $3 million for dredging and re-vegetation of Lake Trafford.  Dredging could be complete by 2011.

As part of the restoration, the FWC will restock the lake with native largemouth bass on Thursday, April 22.  The agency will stock an additional 50,000 advanced fingerlings about four weeks from now. These fingerlings are from the Florida Bass Conservation Center in Richloam.

“We are working to re-establish a self-sustaining, healthy fish population in the lake,” said FWC freshwater fisheries administrator Barron Moody. “We anticipate that this stocking, and a similar effort planned for next year, will bring about the return of largemouth bass fishing to the lake.”

An 18-inch-minimum-length regulation for largemouth bass specific to Lake Trafford is in effect in anticipation of these stockings and to protect the fish from premature harvest.  For complete freshwater fishing regulations, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing.

Fishing license sales help pay for stocking and other bass conservation efforts. Currently, the FWC is offering freshwater anglers a special value-added bonus package when they upgrade to a five-year or lifetime freshwater fishing license.  For details, visit MyFWC.com/License.

In addition, the FWC is seeking angler input on the proposed draft Black Bass Management Plan. To learn more and complete a survey, go to MyFWC.com/BassPlan_Survey.

What Is A Fishery Issue?

The post title omits the term, “Freshwater” because at this point I am sure you understand that fishery issues are discussed in the context of non-saltwater bodies.

For the sake of future ease of reference, allow me orthographical license to abbreviate an idea and a title with one acronym. Instead of refering to “bodies of freshwater” continually and combining the additional subject of “issues” to it, let’s reverse the first subject to “Freshwater Bodies” and add the second subject “Issues” to result in something easy to remember, “FBI“.

FBI’s are first created when people become involved with freshwater bodies in all the varities of ways they have interests in. Eventually when enough people are using them without the proper safeguards in place and proper implementation, the nature and state starts to change for the worse and responsible action is required to maintain an optimum level of health.

Herein lies the challenge which was first addressed by Florida’s people about a century ago. Without presenting a complete history of freshwater management in Florida, let’s start with the federal, state, and county agencies as they are today, in place and operating under the current State Statues the lawmakers put in place.

The people interested in FBs vary greatly in those interests, however many of the issues are shared in common within that diversity. It is this common ground that many FB users hope to build relationship upon in order to stand and be heard as one unified voice in the ears of the legislature.

A coalition is essentially a partnership centered on one or more reasons, efforts, and causes, that ulitimately have the same shared goal which all parties have a stake in.

Therefore their “issues” are defined as problems or deficiencies with the current plan, policy, and laws, that does not have an adequate or correct result as they veiw it. The end result is that people who expect to benefit from the lake management agencies plans and work, in the end do not, but instead suffer decline in the level of ability to enjoy their FB, thus an FBI is created and the need for responsible action arises on the part of the people involved.

The only way we can know what our issues are is for each one of us to sit down together in order to compare our information and understanding of situations we find unacceptable within the federal, state, and county management agencies’ end results and proposed future plans.

We hope you’ll partner with us so that we will work to define our issues correctly and form a plan by which those FBIs will ultimately become tomorrow’s optimum FB management plan, legislation, law and policy.

Newly Formed: Florida Freshwater Fishing Coalition

March 10th marked the start of a historic change in Florida’s Freshwater Industry – the initiation of an organizational coalition platform upon which partnerships across the broad specturm of state fishery interests are united and empowered.

The Florida Freshwater Fishing Coalition held their inaugural meeting at the Bass Pro Shops store in Orlando, Florida.

The Tuesday 9am-5pm meeting featured guest speaker Darrell Scovel, the Director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC).  

The Issues-Topic Presentation:  “Florida’s Fisheries Funding Sources and Spending

Also scheduled:  The FLFFC founders discussed, partnerships & issues management, the organizational structure, and the formation of the 2009-2010 agenda.

The immediate progress – organization business plan, coalition-engine mechanism, marketing strategies, and incorporation development schedule.

The established purpose – to provide a coalition-vehicle through which representation of freshwaterbody-users rights are voiced before the various levels of the Florida government.

All are invited to partner with us in this most important, essential, coalition organization.