Wildlife 2060: What’s at stake for Florida?
F lorida’s natural lands and waters are at the core
of our state’s prosperity, bringing billions of
dollars in economic benefits to our state every year.
Current land use in Florida
Our forests, rivers and creeks, and next 50 years. If that happens, as
coastal waters are invaluable to a study published by 1000 Friends
fish and wildlife, and to our own of Florida suggests (see maps
quality of life. at right), about 7 million acres
Source: Florida 2060: Population
But recent predictions indicate of land could be converted from Distribution Scenario for the State
that our state’s human population rural and natural to urban uses. of Florida
may double to 36 million in the If we develop—as we have in the
past—roads, shopping malls and
subdivisions will replace the rich
diversity our landscape currently
offers. Development also will
impact our coastal waters and allowing haphazard sprawl, we can
coral reefs. keep the Florida we love.
We have prepared this report In the following pages, you will
to help you understand the changes see predictions of what might come
that may occur in Florida’s fish to pass and read stories about
and wildlife—and in our own just a few of the many Floridians,
lifestyles—if the state’s population both in the private sector and
doubles. working for government, who have
In the years to come, leaving dedicated themselves to conserving
the work of conservation and our fish and wildlife resources.
Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation management to just a few won’t What does the future hold for
be enough. We will need fresh, Florida’s fish and wildlife? That’s
effective strategies, including up to all of us.
This report and supporting material can be found at smart growth initiatives and
Wildlife 2060: What’s at stake for Florida? is based
green infrastructure planning, to
on projections and analysis by FWC’s 060 team and direct and shape the growth that
many scientists throughout the agency.
is coming our way. By encouraging Ken Haddad
Writer: Susan Cerulean
development that is economically Executive Director
Designer: Faye Gibson
sound, environmentally sensitive Florida Fish and Wildlife
Cover photo: Thomas J. Dunkerton
and community-friendly, instead of Conservation Commission
Projected land use in 2060
Robert J. La Follette
These maps show Florida as it is
today and how it could look in 2060,
if its population doubles, as predicted, to
nearly 36 million residents.
Florida’s balancing act
Habitat loss ...................................4
Habitat isolation ............................8
Coastal challenges .................... 12
Water quality and quantity........ 16
Wildlife/human interactions..... 20
Conservation land Access to land and water .......... 23
Florida’s future and you ..............27
Wildlife need wild lands
O ver the next 50 years, unprecedented human
population growth is predicted to reshape the face of our
state. Where nature once ruled, urban development will reign.
If Florida’s population doubles and more isolated and degraded. habitat dwindles by 64 square
during the next five decades, For the most part, the animals and miles—a landmass more than
as Florida 2060: A Population fish that currently live in these three times the size of the island
Distribution Scenario for the habitats will disappear. of Manhattan. Florida burrowing
State of Florida predicts, about Statewide, the landscapes owls, already a species of special
7 million additional acres of where black bears and wild turkeys concern, will lose an additional
land—equivalent to the state of live may decrease by more than 25 percent of their current habitat.
Vermont—could be converted from 2 million acres. Gopher tortoises Some of our best strategies to
rural and natural to urban uses. may lose a fifth of their existing give large animals and sensitive
Nearly 3 million acres of existing range. species a chance to exist include:
agricultural lands and 2.7 million Most at risk will be the acquire and protect large parcels
acres of native habitat will be hundreds of animals limited to of conservation lands
claimed by roads, shopping malls small geographical areas. Known
promote compatible agricultural
and subdivisions. as endemic species, some examples activity such as cattle ranches
The addition of 18 million new are the Florida scrub-jay, the and timber operations
residents to Florida will intensely Florida burrowing owl and a roster
develop alternative protection
heighten the competition between of lovely plants restricted to tiny
techniques, such as conservation
wildlife and humans for land and habitats in Central Florida—scrub easements and tax incentives
water resources. blazing star and pygmy fringe
More than 1.6 million acres of ensure thoughtful, large-scale
tree, among them. Under the
land-use planning, development
woodland habitat may be lost and 2060 scenario, Florida scrub-jays
design and meaningful
wetland habitats will become more will shrink in number as their
How many acres of habitat might these animals lose by 2060?
1.9 million 2.3 million 200,000 300,000 700,000 200,000
acres acres acres acres acres acres
Bald eagle Florida black bear Florida burrowing owl Florida panther Gopher tortoise Wood stork
When Florida loses one black
bear’s home range (25,000 acres),
we also lose the homes for:
to the size of 25,000 acre average home range
Vermont may be
lost by 2060.
1 bobcat per 410 acres
mitigation agreements are put
in place to preserve our precious
fish and wildlife habitats. 165
Soon, the ultimate footprint foxes
of development in Florida will be 1 fox per 150 acres
set in asphalt and concrete. The
choice is ours: Do we want to see a
continuous expanse of subdivisions 580deer
spread from coast to coast, or
vibrant communities linked by 1 deer per 43 acres
a green infrastructure that
protects open space, farmland
1 bobwhite per 20 acres
1 cardinal per 12 acres
2.5 million trees
assuming a spacing of 20’ x 20’ or 100 per acre
Photos, pages 4 and 5: David
6,975 trillion insects
Moynahan, Milt Fox, Robert J.
La Follette, Kate Boulos, and
VISITFLORIDA assuming 275 million insects per acre
acres Development of 2.7 million acres of native habitat will result in significant losses for
Habitat loss is driving a statewide
decline of gopher tortoises (below).
These animals were listed as a
threatened species in 2007 by the
FWC. The Commission’s goal for gopher
tortoise conservation is to protect a
total of nearly 2 million acres of suitable
habitat. But instead, if development
proceeds as anticipated, a fifth of
this animal’s present range may be
converted to urban uses.
Working for wildlife: Landowners get it right
“I’ve got serious concerns about “In the years to come, we simply “In North Central Florida, we’ve
overdevelopment in our state,” said aren’t going to be able to afford to buy identified the Watermelon Pond
Watermelon Pond landowner Kate all of the land that needs protecting,” focal area in Levy, Alachua and
Boulos, a native Floridian. “But said FWC biologist Scott Sanders. Gilchrist counties,” said Chris Wynn,
through the Landowner Assistance “We’ll be more effective if we assist who coordinates FWC’s statewide
Program of the Florida Fish and folks who own key wildlife habitats to Landowner Assistance Program.
Wildlife Conservation Commission manage and protect their own land.” “We’re concentrating on about 8,000
(FWC), I have seen my own property The agency’s Landowner acres of really important sandhill
transformed into lush open fields Assistance Program does just that: habitat that’s anchored by several
and forests that attract quail, cavity- partnering with private owners to important chunks of public land,
nesting birds, bald eagles, turkeys and achieve conservation benefits on including the Goethe State Forest.”
many other kinds of wildlife in greater private lands. Two habitats particularly Some of the Watermelon Pond
and greater numbers.” at risk due to urban development are landowners are interested in hunting
in the spotlight: sandhill and scrub. and want help managing their land
Landowner Kate Boulos pauses with
two of her setters on the Watermelon
Pond acreage she manages in Alachua
County with advice from the FWC
Landowner Assistance Program.
Endangered again? Bald eagles have
done so well in recent years, they have
been removed from the endangered
list. But if the state’s human population
doubles, eagles could lose ground.
That’s because only 40 percent of
Florida’s 1,248 bald eagle nests are on
protected public lands. Smart growth
strategies can help protect eagles and
other Florida wildlife.
Faye Gibson David Moynahan
Floridians at work
for deer and quail. Others want to necessary. We also teach the art of When the people of Florida
encourage wildlife, such as box prescribed burning. know and value local native
turtles, fox squirrels, woodpeckers “Then we’ll visit their individual species and communities,
or songbirds. properties and suggest what they they take steps to protect
All acknowledge the common could do to improve their habitat. local ecosystems. Since 19,
thread they share—the stewardship If they’re agreeable, we write up residents in 0 Florida counties
of declining habitat. a contract, typically including a have voted to tax themselves
“When we get together with the 0:0 cost share,” Wynn said. “The to preserve important local
landowners, we talk about why this landowners bring their lands, time landscapes, raising more
particular habitat is valuable to wild- and energy to the table. We provide than $ billion to purchase
life,” Wynn said. “We demonstrate information, technical assistance and approximately ,000 acres
how to plant longleaf pines and how some financial help.” of conservation lands.
to use herbicides carefully where
Islands in an urban sea As development surrounds conservation lands,
and new roads splinter the landscape, wide-ranging
animals like the Florida panther may be unable to
ore than 2 million of 7 million move safely between shrinking patches of habitat.
acres projected to be developed
by 2060 lie within a mile of existing
public conservation lands.
So, even though we’ve protected several million
acres of wildlife management areas, parks, forests
and preserves in Florida, these lands will become
increasingly isolated from one another.
For wildlife, this means their remaining habitats
will come to be islands within an urban sea. And these
disconnected fragments of habitat will support reduced
populations of animals and plants more vulnerable to
extinction as their genetic viability declines.
Along with projected development, comes new roads
that will splinter and dissect the Florida landscape.
Animals with large home ranges, such as panthers
or black bears, will find themselves more and more
What else will happen to wildlife as habitats are
isolated by development?
It will become much more difficult for land
managers to maintain healthy habitats through
natural ecological processes, such as prescribed fire.
Towns and roads stop fire from moving across the
landscape as it once did, and fewer prescribed burns
will make it more difficult to renew the landscape in a
safe, controlled fashion.
Nonnative and invasive species establish
themselves more easily along the disturbed edges
of habitat fragments. Hundreds of these invasive
species already infest more than a million acres of
Florida’s natural areas. Land managers already
battle melaleuca, Brazilian pepper, Japanese climbing
fern, Chinese tallow tree and others that crowd out
8 continues on page 10
and as project-
ed to occur in
2060 (maps at
Babcock-Webb WMA Babcock-Webb WMA
Developed land Developed land
Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, 00 Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, 060
Green infrastructure is open continues from page 8 should be thought of no differently
native species and smother their from the cost of the upkeep of
space managed for conservation,
habitats. We can expect to see other public infrastructure, such
recreation or compatible agricul- many more invaders as the fast as roads, buildings and bridges.
ture. Florida’s green infrastruc- pace of development increasingly But a 2005 study of a selection of
fragments our state’s green public lands found that while 96
ture connects public and private
infrastructure. percent of our public lands are
lands; some parcels are as big as Overall, land managers expect open for public access, funding for
a watershed, others as small as a that both freshwater and terres- land management is at 56 percent
trial systems will have to be even of need, and land management
footpath. more actively managed by 2060 staffing is at just over half of need.
than they are now. Lake draw- It just makes sense to protect
downs, chemical and mechanical what we can of Florida’s remaining
invasive plant control, prescribed natural areas and minimize the
fire and moving wildlife around effects of habitat fragmentation.
to combat genetic inbreeding will Connecting large areas of con-
help, but at great cost. servation lands by protecting a
Effective land management series of natural or compatible
requires a commitment to agricultural areas makes a more
sufficient funding. The cost of functional landscape overall and
prescribed fire, invasive plant will help our wildlife thrive in
management and lake drawdowns the future.
Working for wildlife: Brevard connects the pieces
Brevard County made conservation Most individual Florida scrub-jays
history in 1990 when voters support- never fly more than a mile from their
ed a bond referendum to purchase birthplace. Moreover, these birds can
environmentally endangered lands only live in rare oak scrub, a fire-
in the county. Since that time, the dominated shrub community unique to
Brevard County Environmentally Florida and found only on well-drained
Endangered Lands Program has sandy soils. In Brevard County, nearly
protected more than 1,000 acres 0 percent of scrub habitat has been
of threatened habitat. lost to agriculture and commercial
Brevard is dedicated to protecting and residential development, as the
what’s left of its natural biodiversity, area’s human population skyrockets.
using science to guide its land What scrub parcels remain are highly
selection process. fragmented and of poor quality due
This is good news for Florida to the suppression of natural fire.
scrub-jays, azure-feathered birds The scrub-jay’s biological needs and
that are on a collision course with Florida’s development trends are
10 David Moynahan development in Florida. directly at odds.
Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service
More than a million acres of Florida’s natural areas are infested by invasive nonnative plants such as Old World climbing fern, kudzu
and hundreds of others.
Yet biologist Dave Breininger, a priorities on the FWC’s 199 Closing Will scrub-jays survive
long-term member of the county’s the Gaps report. in bustling Brevard?
Science Advisory Committee, is “We brought in the regional Breininger thinks so: “We can
optimistic about the fate of scrub-jays perspective of our local naturalists, maintain the jays, as long as we’re
in Brevard. Breininger and his fellow scientists and biologists to develop a able to continue burning,” he said.
scientists meet at least once a month really viable local plan for protection “These are small landscapes we
to guide the county’s land acquisition and acquisition,” Breininger said. are protecting, and we will have to
priorities. “You can’t look at sites indepen- manage them very carefully.”
“We have spent an incredible dently of one another,” Breininger With its partners, Brevard’s
amount of time forming our said. “You have to think about which Environmentally Endangered
perspective on what are the most are the critical landscapes so you Lands Program has acquired more
important sites to protect in our can have a system of reserves large than 10,000 acres of scrub and
county to preserve biodiversity,” said enough and connected enough surrounding habitat; there remains an
Breininger. Brevard based some of to support rare creatures like additional 16,000 acres to complete
its early thinking about conservation scrub-jays.” the project.
Crowding coastal wildlife
F lorida’s tidal shoreline is so enduring that some of the earth’s
most ancient creatures, sea turtles, have evolved to make their
nests on our state’s sandy beaches. In fact, more sea turtle species
(five) nest in Florida than any place else on the planet.
Our shoreline also is ephemeral. Nesting shorebirds, sea turtles,
Its nature is to shift, roll over and migrating manatees, fishes and
rebuild, in response to the rhythms the habitats they all depend on are
of the seas. increasingly pressured by a tide of
Florida’s coral reefs and keys, beachgoers and boaters.
barrier islands and sugar-sand For example, 27 of Florida’s
beaches, mangrove forests, salt 35 coastal counties offer nesting
marshes and fertile estuaries beach habitat for sea turtles.
powerfully lure residents and The majority of these beaches
tourists alike to linger. Seventy- already are affected by nearby
two percent of Florida’s estimated development. Some human
18 million residents live or work impacts, such as beach lighting,
in coastal areas. The population of can be managed. More permanent
our coastal counties is predicted to changes, such as coastal armoring,
Robert J. La Follette
More than 26 million people may double from 12.3 million to more are more difficult to mitigate and
crowd Florida’s coasts by 2060. than 26 million by 2060. result in a loss of nesting habitat.
Unpredictable natural events
Loving our beaches to death in coastal ecosystems, such
And, once we have established a as hurricanes or red tide, can
foothold in this paradise, we want exacerbate impacts from human
For more information visit to stay put. activities. In 2005, the Gulf of
MyFWC.com/wildlife060 Development often occurs Mexico experienced the worst red
very close to the dunes that tide outbreak in 34 years, resulting
buffer the coast from storms, in economic and wildlife losses,
interrupting the natural cycle of including dead manatees, dolphins,
erosion and rebuilding. The result sea turtles and millions of pounds
is often an expensive cycle of of dead fish washed ashore.
beach renourishment and seawall But the greatest challenge by
construction. In fact, seawalls far for our gently sloping coasts
now extend along an estimated may be the rate and magnitude
14 to 20 percent of sandy beaches, of climate change. Although
eliminating vital wildlife habitat. we cannot accurately predict
how much sea level will rise,
it will bring dramatic changes -7% -32%
to Florida’s coastal habitats, Flagler
significantly affecting both the -49%
state’s natural habitats, and its
fish and wildlife populations. Potentially impacted
Our challenge, then, is to sea turtle nesting area
balance the protection of our The largest impact to sea turtle
wondrous coastline—the state’s nesting beaches is predicted St Lucie
economic engine, after all—even to occur in Collier, Flagler,
as ever more people come to live Gulf, Okaloosa, St. Johns and
and work close to its edge. St. Lucie counties. This map
displays the potential reduction Collier
of sea turtle nesting habitat -13%
associated with development.
Rising sea levels will threaten the
coastal habitats of many species. With
significantly fewer sandy beaches, rare
and beautiful shorebirds such as the
American oystercatcher may have no
place to nest, lay eggs and raise the
Much of Florida’s low-lying coastline is
vulnerable to sea level rise. Climate change
will determine the height of sea level rise
Florida will experience.
0 1 2 3 5 8 12 20 35 60 80
Height above sea level (m)
David Moynahan Robert A. Rohde
Working for wildlife: What they are doing to save Tampa Bay
“Here’s what gives me hope: seeing Often working with local parks
how much people really care about and Tampa Bay Watch, O’Hara
Tampa Bay,” said Nanette O’Hara, focuses her eager workforce on
public outreach coordinator for the shoreline and upland restoration that
Tampa Bay Estuary program. directly improves the water quality of
“I have 00 people in our volunteer Tampa Bay. Over a period of years,
database, some of whom have never volunteers have succeeded in creating
missed a workday since 001.” the first park in Hillsborough County
The Estuary Program, a regional that is free of invasive plants. “That’s
alliance of residents, industry and a lot of backbreaking labor, sweat
government at many levels, is equity and commitment,” O’Hara said.
changing the face of Tampa Bay for Most importantly, though, has
the better. been the residents’ insistence on
Tampa Bay Estuary Program
For more information visit
Key West: Sandhill Key, August 19, 1993, a healthy reef
Coral cover has declined from
12 percent to 6 percent in the Florida
Keys reefs since 1996, according to
FWC’s Coral Monitoring Team. Sixty
percent of the world’s coral reefs may
die by 2050 if current levels of pollution,
and stressors such as bleaching and
hurricanes, continue unabated (Coral
Key West: Sandhill Key, August 19, 2001, a dying reef Reef Task Force, 2000).
dramatically improving the Bay’s finances cutting-edge research into Bay—Hillsborough, Manatee and
overall health. key problems impacting the bay; Pinellas. That number is expected
“People said they wanted Tampa sponsors demonstration projects to grow by more than half a million
Bay to look like it did in the 190s, in to test innovative solutions to these by 01. With a total land area
terms of water quality and sea grass problems and provides “mini-grants” of ,0 square miles, this is an
cover,” O’Hara said. “Our scientists to community groups to engage the average increase of more than 0
agreed that was an achievable goal.” public in bay restoration. The program people per square mile.
And that restoration has come also develops educational programs “Every new person moving into
to pass. Surveys have recorded some targeting key segments of the Bay our area has an impact,” O’Hara
6,000 acres of new or expanded sea community—including teachers, said. “One of our primary jobs is to
grass beds in the Bay since 1988, boaters and homeowners. teach people how to reduce that
some in areas like Hillsborough Bay As of 00, it was estimated that impact.”
where they hadn’t been for decades. . million people lived in the three
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program counties directly bordering Tampa 1
Water qualit y and quantit y
Enough water to go around?
A generous 55 inches of rain soaks the Florida landscape
each year, recharging our aquifers (the source of 92 percent of our
human drinking water) and sustaining the flow of our rivers and springs.
But it doesn’t all come at once. as nature intended. During periods water a day for drinking, watering
More than half the year’s rainfall of high flow, streams and rivers lawns, industry and agriculture.
may arrive in just two hot summer sometimes crest their banks, Agriculture uses more than half
months. In the fall and winter, allowing fish and crustaceans of this fresh water each day—about
water levels fall, flows dwindle. to shift temporarily into newly- 4 billion gallons.
From freshwater mussels to flooded habitats to feed, breed, Already, parts of South and
delicious blue crabs to long-legged and avoid predators. At dry times, East Florida drink more ground-
wading birds, many Florida birds feast on the fish concentrated water than the rain replenishes.
creatures depend on the distinct into shrinking pools. Without these Saltwater intrusion, dried-up lakes
wet and dry seasons that have alternating wet and dry periods, and an increased number of sink-
characterized Florida’s weather many plants and animals cannot holes are a few of the symptoms of
patterns for thousands of years. reproduce, or even survive. over-tapped aquifers.
They rely on not just a consistent Enter into this equation a Our water woes will be
amount of water in their wetland single species, Homo sapiens. intensified by predicted dramatic
16 habitats. They also require depths Florida’s human population uses growth in Florida’s human
and salinities timed and delivered nearly 7 billion gallons of fresh population.
For more information visit
Florida has lost more wetland acres
than any other state. Millions of acres
were filled in or paved over by the
late 1980s, when protections were
strengthened. But if our population
doubles by 2060, many more
wetlands will be isolated or degraded
by surrounding development. Many
thousands of white ibis, wood storks and
other wading birds will disappear as their
nesting and feeding habitat is lost.
Thomas J. Dunkerton
Now the fourth-most populous wildlife. Wide public support for We must continue to establish
state in the nation, Florida in the Everglades restoration and many minimum flows and levels for lakes,
next decade is predicted to grow other smaller scale projects makes rivers and springs, below which
another 21 percent, exceeding 21 clear that most Floridians want to significant harm to the water
million residents. Total demand for conserve water for the environment resources or ecology of these areas
water is projected to reach nearly as well as for people. would result. This will become ever
8 billion gallons a day—at least 1 more essential as
billion gallons more than at Statewide fresh water demand projection pressure mounts
present. Moreover, models predict to withdraw more
that as global climate patterns and more surface
change, there will be less rainfall 7.84 water for industry
in South Florida, where the and urbanization.
majority of humans reside, and It will take all
more in the northern region of 7.33
of us to protect
the state. Florida’s fabulous
How will there be enough storks, spoonbills,
Billions of gallons per day
water to go around in 2060, if our 6.56
human population expands by an largemouth bass
additional 18 million as projected? as more and more
As competition among users fresh water is
heightens, it will become more appropriated for
important to protect water for Florida’s demand for fresh water will increase by at least a human needs.
people, agricultural and other billion gallons per day over the next 10 years. That’s enough to
businesses—and for fish and fill a swimming pool every two seconds all day . . . every day.
Water qualit y and quantit y
The rise and fall of the Hillsborough River
The fish and wildlife in Florida’s illustrates the difference in flow surfaces and dams have significantly
rivers and streams are well between a natural river and a altered the river’s flow.
synchronized with seasonal managed one. The blue shows the
rising and falling in water Hillsborough River as it naturally rises Hope on the horizon
400 level. This graph and falls near Zephyrhills, while the A group of landowners along the
yellow section shows that only 0 river (Friends of the Hillsborough
miles downstream, near Tampa, paved River) took a very active role in the
Natural river near Zephyrhills
Managed river near Tampa
Jun 06 Jul 06 Aug 06 Sep 06 Oct 06 Nov 06 Dec 06 Jan 07 Feb 07 Mar 07 Apr 07 May 07 Jun 07
Working for water: It’s
more than a local story
“Our job is to talk to whoever will
listen about the protection and
preservation of Florida’s most
endangered and precious river
and bay—the Apalachicola and
its tributaries,” said Andy Smith,
executive director of Apalachicola
Riverkeeper. “We use water quality
data and technical information to
educate and empower citizens.”
“The Apalachicola is recognized
as a national ecological treasure,”
added Dan Tonsmeire, who holds the
title of Riverkeeper for the 1,00-
member organization. “The protection
of endangered fish and mussels in the
Apalachicola River, and the seafood
industry in Apalachicola Bay, is well
understood by the local community.
Harvesters and wholesalers of highly-
prized Apalachicola Bay oysters are
especially concerned about the con-
nection between the river and the bay.”
“We are a hands-on organization,”
Smith said. “We are all about getting
18 into the water, doing some positive
establishment of minimum flows
and levels (MFL) for the river.
Through persistent work with the Springs are crystalline conduits to
Florida’s groundwater aquifers—and
water management district, water
essential to our drinking water and
utility and county, they were able
the habitat for many kinds of fish and
to have the MFL revisited and wildlife. But we are withdrawing water
increased. Millions of gallons of from aquifers faster than it can be
fresh water that were diverted replenished. Decreased flow at many
from the river now will be returned springs is stressing sensitive, spring-
to augment its flow. Such citizen dwelling striped bass and other animals
initiatives can achieve powerful FWC and plants.
results for fish and wildlife.
restoration that everyone can see,
leaving a lasting physical legacy.”
Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s staff
and hard-working volunteers monitor
Franklin County’s important nesting
shorebird colonies and assist with
sea grass restoration on Lanark
Reef. They also participate in periodic
coastal and river cleanups, operate
the Riverkeeper’s tiny storefront in
Apalachicola and fly with nonprofit
Southwings to document changes
along the coast. One of the group’s
most exciting projects currently is
to convince a string of waterfront
landowners to install wave-breaking
boulders, a coastal restoration
alternative much more wildlife-friendly
“Riverkeeper runs on the passion
of our members and volunteers,”
Tonsmeire said. “We all love this
place. This river. This bay.”
There are 1 similar Riverkeeper
or Waterkeeper nonprofit organizations
around the nation. Apalachicola’s
group is one of four in Florida.
Too close for comfort?
F lorida’s wildlife and human populations are
encountering one another more often than ever.
You might even say we’re on a used to live—their habitats, their subdivisions that have replaced
collision course—with alligators, homes. The problem is made their forest and wetland homes.
black bears, sandhill cranes, worse by unplanned development Sandhill cranes, alligators and
Florida panthers, raccoons and that lacks rural buffers between other species, such as raccoons,
many others. It’s not only the wildlife-rich areas and suburban opossums and deer can adapt to
increasing numbers of roads and homes. and even thrive very close to our
vehicles (and structures like cell residences—if we allow them.
phone towers) that are directly Where did the wildlife go? Many Floridians, especially
killing our wildlife. It’s also that Evicted animals don’t always new residents, are inexperienced
we are moving into their territories go easily. Sometimes they try to with wild animal neighbors or
and taking over the places they continue to share back yards and scared by their presence. Their
Development crowds the protected
Susan, this NASA image is of Ormond by
the Sea and is backed up by land in the
Volusia Forever program - according to
concerns include property damage, become more isolated from the The Internet research. We need a good
my Florida 2060 report
the possibility of disease or natural world, and less caring. projects that within the next 50
cutline and maybe some confirmation
predation on pets or livestock. Entomologist Robert M. Pyle calls years, Florida’s human population is.
about exactly what the green space
Sometimes development results this the extinction of experience will more than double. Without any
in uncomfortably close quarters and said, “When a creature dies changes in our land-use policies,
for wildlife and humans, but it can out within your ‘radius of reach’— the additional acreage converted
also result in too little connection. the area to which you have easy to urban use also will more than
Most people want and need contact access—it might as well be gone double. This means not only loss
with the natural world. For altogether because you will not be of habitat and wildlife, but more
example, in 2001, nearly 2 million able to see it as you could before.” encounters with wildlife that we
Floridians reported feeding birds More than 90 percent of Floridians don’t choose in this increasingly
in their yards. now live in urban areas; we hear crowded world.
But when local populations bird songs and frog calls far less How will we balance our love of
of wildlife are displaced frequently than leaf blowers and Florida’s diverse wildlife and their
from suburban areas, people air conditioners. need for habitat?
Complaints about alligators
are on the rise Hope on the horizon
People and alligators are encountering each other more and Defenders of Wildlife, FWC and
more frequently in Florida. Human population growth and others have teamed up to help
the remarkable recovery of the state’s alligator population Floridians living in panther
are leading to steadily increasing complaints. If complaints country—and in turn, help
continue to increase save the last remaining Florida
at the same rate, panthers. Local families and
Based on current trends,
they could more than volunteers in Collier County
complaints about alligators
will continue to increase: triple by 060. came together in 00 to
1980 ........., build predator-proof pens to
20,000 00 ....... 1,00 protect livestock and pets
0 ...... 8,00 from panthers.
2060.......47,800 As development continues
15,000 to boom in Florida, panther/
human conflicts are on the
rise. These new pens help
Number of complaints
keep communities safe while
significantly reducing pressure
on the big cats living nearby.
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Working for wildlife: Community bear management
1,500 Based on current trends,
What’s at the heart of the conflicts complaints about bears
between people and bears? Think will increase dramatically:
Number of complaints (average)
food. Bears eat 8-10,000 calories 198 ........................... 8
each day, and more than 0,000 a 1,000 00 ...................1,
day in the fall as they begin fattening 0 ................... ,900
up for the winter. It’s easier (but 2060 ................33,800
unhealthier) for bears to get their
calories from rich human food
sources—garbage, pet food and bird
feeders—than from acorns, berries
Feeding of bears, whether 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
intended or unintended, is the number
one source of human/bear conflict.
It’s also illegal.
FWC biologists and partners conflicts. But even the Panhandle’s Complaints
across the state are learning Franklin County has chronic and about bears
techniques to minimize bear/people escalating issues with bears. are rising fast.
problems, including the development “Human/bear conflict manage- As development
of local ordinances that require ment is new in the Southeast,” said continues to
bear-resistant garbage containers. FWC biologist Mike Orlando. replace bear
habitat and as
The FWC and partners have helped “We are finding that community-
purchase dumpsters and trash cans based partnerships are the way to go,”
Milt Fox from historic
for hot spots like Franklin County and added Stephanie Simek, FWC’s Bear lows, people
Wekiwa Springs State Park. Ultimately, Management Program coordinator. and bears are
Feeding of counties and schools statewide can “Most people are willing to do the right
bears, whether coming into
help bears stay wild by requiring thing if you help them understand contact more and
the use of these bear-resistant what’s at stake.” more. If current
is the number garbage containers and dumpsters. In this case, it is the peaceful trends continue,
one source of When bears learn that food is no coexistence of humans and the state’s complaints will
human/bear longer available at trash sites, they largest mammal. increase to
conflict. It’s also stop coming. 5,900 by 2025
illegal. Florida black bears have come and will soar to
33,800 by 2060.
back from the edge of extinction in the
past 0 or 0 years, increasing six-
fold to ,00-,000 individuals—just
in time to run afoul of the massive
influx of new Florida residents.
The Central Florida counties of
Seminole, Lake, Marion and Sumter
report the majority of human/bear
Access to land and water
Outdoor legacy at risk?
E asy access to land and water has long been one of the chief
factors in Floridians’ quality of life. For some, fishing, hunting
or watching wildlife are pure pleasure; for others, it’s a living.
No room at the ramp trailered boats vying for existing
For more information visit Whether you’re a commercial boat ramps is estimated to double
MyFWC.com/wildlife060 fisherman, recreational boater or along with the human population
simply an angler who wants some between 2006 and 2060 from about
weekend time on the water, you’re 900,000 boats on trailers, to nearly
probably feeling the congestion of 1.8 million.
too many boats and too little access Finding available and afford-
to the water. able waterfront property for new
In many places, inland waters launching facilities is a tough
and boat launches are jammed. challenge for state and local
And it’s no wonder—more governments. Purchase of public
than a million registered boats access points to the Atlantic and
(more than any other state) Gulf has largely stalled under
actively ply Florida waters. It’s the pressure of rising land prices,
going to get worse. The number of increased insurance cost and the
Access to land and water
Boat registrations will continue to rise through 2060, but boating access points are
not expected to keep pace. Many communities have nowhere left to build. In numerous
locations, public access has declined as marinas and other access points are converted
to private use. As a result, wait times can be expected to increase significantly.
B oat r
10,000 1.0 million
5,000 0.5 million
facilities Access facilities registrations
1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060
privatization of existing ramps and to offer boat slips to their new
boat facilities that provide access. residents. We are losing traditional
working waterfronts (think of
Oysters versus yachts? historic Cortez in Manatee County,
Times are tough for commercial the Panhandle’s oyster-rich town
anglers, as well. Working marinas of Carrabelle or Mayport in Duval
and boatyards are giving way to County), and with them, not only Florida’s status as the top destination for
luxury condo builders who want an important economic sector but if we do not properly manage predicted growth.
Working for waterfront:
“All over the state, fish houses are
going out of business,” said Captain
Ed Olson, a fifth-generation fisherman
born and raised in Martin County’s
Port Salerno, a natural harbor at
the intersection of the St. Lucie and
Indian rivers. “We need a place to
Captain Ed bring our product. Otherwise we can’t
Olson and his keep our fishing alive.”
father, Butch, But the local economy has
changed dramatically, shifting from
one based on commercial fishing to a
24 fishing Olsons. recreational fishery. Today, only one
Saltwater fishing trips are projected to rise dramatically as
population increases in Florida.
Estimated saltwater fishing trips
120 (from MRFSS survey data)
Projected saltwater fishing trips
100 (based on continued annual 2.5% increase)
Projected saltwater fishing trips
80 (linked to population growth)
also part of our state’s history that many may compete for the
and culture. same resources.
But urbanization, water
Let’s go fishing supply development, and pollution
During the past decade, 1.4 million associated with growth could
Sandy Beck anglers enjoyed Florida’s abundant radically impact the ability of
bird watchers nationwide will be challenged and diverse freshwater fisheries; by Florida’s freshwater systems to
2060, estimates are that twice produce an adequate quantity
active fish house still operates in Port Salerno provides an ideal year-round, tending their nets six
the port. harbor for fishermen working the to 10 hours a day, five or six days
To preserve their way of life and Atlantic Ocean and is the principle a week.
livelihood, the commercial fishermen reason Port Salerno was settled “I’d be lost without this work,”
of Port Salerno dug deep into their during the 190s. At its height, the Olson said. “When you’ve been
own pockets and secured a long-term fishing industry supported eight fishing for a living all your life, you
lease for a portion of the county- wholesale fish houses here. wouldn’t know where else to start.
owned waterfront. They maintain the “Fishing is really in my blood,” “That’s why we’ve put
commercial docks to county code, and Olson said. “My grandfather moved so much time and effort into
have incorporated themselves as a here to Port Salerno from Norway in maintaining a good relationship
nonprofit entity. Thirty-four fishermen the early 1900s.” with the county,” Olson said.
participate. Captain Ed Olson and his father “We’re dedicated to doing this
“We needed to be sure we’d have work out of two small skiffs, netting right.”
a place to offload and sell our fish, tie Spanish mackerel, mullet and
our boats, and work on our gear,” said sheepshead for the local wholesale
Olson. “This waterfront is our home.” fish market. They fish mostly inshore,
Hayes, who has
most of his
life, worry that
as much as Hunting in 060:
25 percent Will it break your budget?
of the private
The cost of a hunting lease on
private lands is skyrocketing.
opportunities 198 ..............................$/acre
if the 2060 00 ............................$1/acre
development 060 ......................... $00/acre
of species such as the Florida expected human population in- enjoyed with plenty of open space
largemouth bass, a popular sport crease and impacts to important and elbow room. Nearly 6 million
fish targeted by anglers. nursery habitat, and it’s clear that acres are currently available for
What does the future hold for management is likely to become hunting and other public access,
Florida’s saltwater recreational increasingly restrictive. Catch-and- yet Florida’s hunters say they
anglers? Saltwater fishing is one release fishing only, significant already feel the squeeze.
of our most popular and economi- closed areas or seasons and If the 2060 development
cally important outdoor activities. increasing reliance on fish projections are realized, Florida
Occasionally, competition for “fish- hatcheries may be required to may lose 25 percent of the private
ing space” is a problem, even today. maintain fishable populations. lands currently providing hunting
Productive patches of ocean bottom As Florida grows, our opportunities.
may be nearly continuously fished anglers—both salt- and fresh- As Florida’s population more
by anglers pursuing grouper or water must prepare for more than doubles over the next 50
snapper, thanks to modern elec- limited access to the sport they years, public lands will be increas-
tronics. The world famous Boca love, and increased costs to support ingly pressured by urban develop-
Grande tarpon fishery has already management activities like habitat ment. Buffering conservation lands
seen user conflicts and competition, restoration, hatcheries, and from development will require
and the debate is growing over resource protection. everyone who enjoys our public
the issue of protecting important lands—from bird watchers to
marine areas from fishing pressure. Hunting for wild lands bicyclists, and hunters to hikers—
Combine the prospects of Hunting—whether for deer, ducks, to work together to find solutions
6 increasing fishing effort, the turkey or quail—is a sport best for sharing public access.
Back cover photo credits: from left, Robert J.
La Follette, Mary Wozny, Anne P. Birch and
For more information visit
These LAKEWATCH volunteers
are working to protect local wetland
habitats. What can you do to help
Florida’s wildlife and wild lands?
So, what does the future hold Does your community view the
management of its green infra-
for Florida fish and wildlife? structure in the same way it does
upkeep and management of
public roads, buildings or bridges?
It’s really up to all of us to decide.
How does your community
We can’t stop growth in Florida. agencies and organizations that support prescribed burning of
But we can set ourselves to the nearby public and private lands?
share a common love of our state
task of making sure the pattern and its fish and wildlife. How is your community
of growth that does come has Here are some places to start. conserving coastal forests, dunes,
minimal impact on our natural Visit MyFWC.com/wildlife2060 for beaches and wetlands?
lands, waters, fish and wildlife. a more comprehensive list of the How is your community
The future may seem tasks at hand. safeguarding your region’s water
overwhelming, but if we work resources?
Does your city or county have a
together on smart growth local land acquisition program? Is your community protecting
initiatives, green infrastructure shoreline access and working
Are roads in your community
planning and other innovative waterfronts?
being designed and located
strategies, we can help protect to accommodate the needs of What are you doing to ensure
the state we love. We encourage wildlife? that future generations will
you to get involved, joining forces benefit from the same robust fish
Are you incorporating wildlife
with the Florida Fish and Wildlife and wildlife resources that we
habitat conservation measures
Conservation Commission, and all on your property? enjoy today?
“The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak . . . so we must . . . and we will.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
What’s at stake for Florida?
Floridians have long recognized light of what is predicted to be an
the link between the preservation explosion of human population in
of habitat and species and their the next 0 years?
own quality of life. These challenges, while
Now, we face what may be the formidable, can be met if we all
biggest challenges we have ever work together. Look inside to learn
been given: How do we manage how you and your community can
fish and wildlife to ensure their start helping today.
survival, and our enjoyment – all in
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Our mission: Managing fish and wildlife resources for their
long-term well-being and the benefit of people.