Florida Holding Public Meeting On Bear Plan

Florida Fish and Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is holding its second public workshop for input on a draft plan that will ensure a sustainable and socially acceptable Florida black bear population throughout the state. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 6 pm at Deltona City Hall in Volusia County, Florida.

The first meeting was held in late August in Apalachicola; other meeting dates will be announced as arrangements are finalized.

"The plan proposes a framework to manage bears at the local level," said Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management coordinator. "This includes conserving appropriate amounts of bear habitat, stabilizing the level of complaints about bears, and securing adequate funding to implement the plan.

FWC staff drafted the Bear Management Plan with assistance from a technical advisory group that included representatives from environmental, hunting and government organizations.

The Florida black bear is a state-threatened species whose populations are expanding in some areas and but still quite restricted in others. Because of this variability, the plan proposes to create several bear management units, which will consider specific challenges and characteristics of the different geographical locations.

The plan sets up broad objectives under which each bear management unit would operate. Within those units, local stakeholder groups will work with the FWC to set management objectives and standards for resolving human-bear conflicts. If the plan is accepted, the next stage would be to recruit stakeholders to participate in advisory groups within each bear management unit.

At the meetings, FWC will give a brief presentation outlining the plan objectives and take questions from attendees. Anyone attending the meetings interested in making statements about the plan will be able to do so verbally or through written comment cards.

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