FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2015 - (Page 6)

Wildlife BMPs I n October 2014, the Florida Forest Service adopted Forestry Wildlife Best Management Practices for State Imperiled Species ("Wildlife BMPs"). The stated purpose of the Wildlife BMPs is to set forth sound, responsible forestry practices to foster land management that avoids or minimizes harm to Florida's threatened or endangered species. Compliance is voluntary, but those who choose to enroll in the program will avoid the need to obtain incidental take permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ("FWC"). I. Requirements for Incidental Takes Under Federal Law The Endangered Species Act ("ESA") makes it illegal to take (kill or harm) or otherwise violate any U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("USFWS") regulations relating to federally listed species without first obtaining an incidental take permit. To obtain an incidental take permit, an applicant must submit a conservation plan that (i) describes the taking, (ii) sets out steps to minimize harm, (iii) addresses alternatives and (iv)  incorporates any additional requirements of USFWS. The public is then provided an opportunity to give  input before USFWS makes a decision whether to issue the requested permit. There is no exemption under the ESA for Agriculture or forestry. However, the ESA's general prohibitions and incidental take Florida Forests 6 Spring/Summer 2015 By Edward Cole and Jeff Vowell permitting requirements do not apply where: (i) USFWS has entered into a cooperative agreement with a state; (ii) that state's laws are at least as restrictive as the ESA; and (iii) a person follows the state's laws. II. The Cooperative Agreement and Prior Florida Law USFWS and FWC's predecessor first entered into a cooperative agreement in 1976, and that original agreement has since been renewed a number of times, most recently in May 2012. The current version specifically authorizes FWC to issue permits to take federally listed species so long as the permits "include impact avoidance, minimization and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2015

Executive Outlook
Wildlife BMPs
A Conversation about Conservation Easements
Jim Karels Appointed President of NASF
Phil Gornicki Retires
Florida Forestry Association Annual Meeting & Trade Show
Snapshots: Membership Matters
Business Card Exchange
Products & Services Marketplace
Advertisers’ Index/ Advertisers.com

FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2015