Panther Team and upcoming meetings

huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
I received this email on Friday and wanted to share it and some of the other communications that have been ongoing since that time.
Hello all,



We wanted to apprise you of an upcoming forum of the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team, May 22, 10am-4:30pm, at the Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida. The purpose of the forum is to discuss options available under the Federal Endangered Species Act that would reduce the impact on landowners as panthers continue to expand their range north of the Caloosahatchee River. Also discussed will be the idea of developing programs that could compensate landowners for management activities that provide quality panther habitat.



The Panther Team is hosted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Here is a link to the team website: http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/FloridaPantherRIT.html



Thanks,



Carli Segelson

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Division of Habitat and Species Conservation
8535 Northlake Blvd. | West Palm Beach, FL, 33412
Phone: (561) 882-5703 Fax: (561) 625-5129 |

[email protected]


Let me preface this by saying that USFWS has internally determined what persons and entities comprise the Panther Recovery Implementation Team. The team is comprised of 7 members, namely:


Team Leader: Larry Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Team Liaison: Dawn Jennings, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Robin Boughton, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Ron Clark, Big Cypress National Preserve
Kipp Frohlich, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Kevin Godsea, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Tom Jones, Barron Collier Companies
Laurie MacDonald, Defenders of Wildlife


As you can see, the team is all agency people with the exception of two people; Tom Jones of Barron Collier Companies representing one of the largest developers in the region, and Laurie McDonald with Defenders of Wildlife which is probably the strongest anti-hunting lobby in Florida.

Myself, Newton Cook - UWF & FHF, Todd Hallman - FSCA, Lyle McCandless - BCSA, Jim Cassleman - UHF, as well as members from ECC and other hunter-minded conservation organizations have since spoken out against the fact that there is no hunter representation on this committee. We have asked Nick Wiley, Exec. Director of FWC and Larry Williams of USFWS to include at least one representative from the hunting community to be seated on this panel in order to bring balance and parity to the decision making process.

At first, we were given excuses as to why no hunters were named to the team, including wanting to keep it small, and that Mr. Williams is himself a hunter. But, as has been pointed out by many of us listed above, there is no fealty to our cause with Mr. Williams as his primary loyalty lies with his job and the wishes of the bureaucrats in the USFWS.

So far, Mr. Williams has not endeared himself to the hunting community, and in fact may be willfully violating Florida's Sunshine Law. In a recent (Jan 29, 2014) article in the Tampa Bay Times, staff writer Craig Pittman wrote how Mr. Williams denied access to the public during the team's most recent meeting.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/group-deciding-future-of-florida-panther-meets-behind-closed-doors/2163320
Group deciding future of Florida panther meets behind closed doorsWednesday, January 29, 2014 6:08pm

ST. PETERSBURG — The future of Florida's state animal is being debated by five state and federal officials, one environmental activist and a major landowner, all behind closed doors.

The seven members of the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team began meeting last fall. They gathered Tuesday at the state's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg for a two-day session. An agenda online said the group was supposed to hear from scientific experts and discuss how to encourage the big cats to expand their South Florida population into Central Florida.

A Times reporter who attempted to sit in on the discussion was evicted by federal officials who said the meetings are "by invitation only." Environmental advocates who have previously asked to attend also have been told no.

A provision of the Endangered Species Act allows such groups to meet behind closed doors, according to Larry Williams of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A summary of the meetings is posted on the agency's website, and Williams promised there would be public forums on the committee's proposals.

"I can understand why anyone would want to come" sit in on the meetings, said Williams, who leads the agency's South Florida office. However, he said he believes the group will function better outside public view.

"The team is trying to come up with ideas for panther recovery that we can roll out to the public," he said. "They need times when they can speak candidly."

That's not the view of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an environmental group that owns land in panther habitat.

"The service should be open and transparent as a governmental agency by allowing all interested stakeholders from the public they serve to participate," said Jennifer Hecker, the Conservancy's natural resource policy director. The conservancy has been trying to get into the meetings since they began last fall.

Panthers, which once roamed the entire Southeast, are now largely confined to the swamps, pastures and forests of Florida's southern tip. Although the population dwindled to about 30 a few decades ago, about 100 to 160 now prowl what's left of the wilderness in South Florida.

Every plan for pulling them back from the brink of extinction calls for establishing a new population of panthers somewhere else, either in Florida or in another state.

A major topic of discussions this week was how to persuade big landowners to allow panthers to live on their property, Williams said. Most of the potential panther habitat in Central Florida is privately owned, unlike the land south of the Caloosahatchee River where most of them now live, he said.

One possibility, he said, is to pay them for maintaining, restoring or creating a landscape that's inviting for panthers.

To view agendas, meeting summaries and a list of members of the Panther Recovery Implementation Team, click on: http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/FloridaPantherRIT.html.

Craig Pittman can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @craigtimes.

At this time, Mr. Williams has agreed to place adding a member of the hunting community on the Team's agenda for a vote. However, this is not acceptable to me and many others as it can easily be defeated in committee and we will be no better off than we are now; seatless at the decision making table.

I urge all of you to write to both Nick Wiley and Larry Williams, demanding at least one person representing hunting community be given a voting seat on the Panther Recovery Implementation Team.

You can write to both of them here:
[EMAIL="[email protected];"][email protected];[/EMAIL]
[email protected]
Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

I had you pissed off at hello.
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Replies

  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    DONE... and like I told both of them, Sportsmen have been denied more then just access in this issue,and these 7 along with a handfull of others will be judged by God when that day comes. That is one burden I don't want on my shoulders when that day comes. He don't care what agency you worked for,what your boss told you to say...you are judged by the man you are. This issue has gone this far IMO.
  • gottheitch22gottheitch22 fort Meade FLPosts: 4,319 Captain
    sent
    living life as i like
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,126 Captain
    This situation is a bit complicated....and the FWC staff and Larry have dropped the ball as is obvious. I am meeting with Larry tomorrow in Vero Beach and hope to have some indication of a way forward. Not having a "balance" to the Defenders of Wildlife is simply unacceptable and the panther restoration group will have no credibility as it is now put together. Some of this is simply bureaucrats being "tone deaf" and I hope we can come to a resolution. The Atlanta office of the USFWS will have to agree and I believe that can be accomplished. I will be the first one to "raise hexx" otherwise....I will be at the meeting on Thursday as well.....perhaps this little dust up can be settled...I hope so. I have contacted Bishop Wright (FSCA) regarding suggestions for a representative.....we need someone who can attend the meetings and be a positive contributor...if we get the ok for a spot. Bishop has been our designated leader of the TRUST GROUP for all the traditional users as we work through the establishment of the Headwaters NWR which is directly related to the panther expansion north of the Caloosahatchee.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    I sure hope we are not saying these same things in 25yrs after our kids,or grandkids have been locked out of the Everglades Headwaters project.
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    How did that woman get on that board to begin with?
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    good question?
    DOW has no reason to be on the board,too bad they don't recognize the animal abuse the poor cougar is being put in..or the other fur bearing animals with the verocious pressure of overpopulated flugars.
  • SLW210SLW210 Posts: 2,226 Captain
    DOW

    The reason is simple, BOHICA.

    I've already mentioned, need to start electing more pro-hunt candidates, only way change will happen, from local to federal level. The Liberals have unimaginable amounts of money.
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,126 Captain
    Part of the problem with the selection of the current group was that it replaces a much larger group that had a long list of the enviro/anti- hunting organizations included. Everyone wants to be on this group and I have heard that there were "hurt feelings", etc....At this time I don't believe hunters were on the first group either!!!!! Which is another matter to be considered...How did that happen???

    What we are trying to do here is to correct that omission....

    There will not be any group set up with a lot of hunting advocates, but neither should the group be weighted with "non-hunters". The current group is reasonably close to what can be expected IF a hunting advocate is added to balance with the Defenders of Wildlife. The FWC and USFWS staff people "balance" and the one large land owner is a must in the mix. I know Larry to be a hunter and supportive of hunting on NWRs. I would be supportive of the balance.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    I'd be supportive of getting rid of all of them,starting over w a clean slate...too many deeply embedded motives in place.

    BOHICA...
  • gladesmangladesman Posts: 1,362 Officer
    N. Cook wrote: »
    This situation is a bit complicated....and the FWC staff and Larry have dropped the ball as is obvious. I am meeting with Larry tomorrow in Vero Beach and hope to have some indication of a way forward. Not having a "balance" to the Defenders of Wildlife is simply unacceptable and the panther restoration group will have no credibility as it is now put together. Some of this is simply bureaucrats being "tone deaf" and I hope we can come to a resolution. The Atlanta office of the USFWS will have to agree and I believe that can be accomplished. I will be the first one to "raise hexx" otherwise....I will be at the meeting on Thursday as well.....perhaps this little dust up can be settled...I hope so. I have contacted Bishop Wright (FSCA) regarding suggestions for a representative.....we need someone who can attend the meetings and be a positive contributor...if we get the ok for a spot. Bishop has been our designated leader of the TRUST GROUP for all the traditional users as we work through the establishment of the Headwaters NWR which is directly related to the panther expansion north of the Caloosahatchee.

    This is also a Golden opportunity for hunters to express concern for folks other than hunters since nobody else does. The Positive PR gained from that could be extremely helpful in the future. That could be done right now by pushing for an additional member on this team whose primary purpose would be to look out for the Safety of the general public - especially in Central Florida the current target for may more panthers. Looking at Central Florida on google earth quickly illustrates the near impossible feasibility of cramming more panthers into the region without seriously endangering residents. It won't happen quickly but over time the same serious problems of SW Florida will be installed there by this program sadly. I wonder what the fix will be for that.

    After recent serious bear attacks (e.g. Lake Mary, Fl near Orlando) and the 1st panther attack since the 1800s this issue's time has come. The proof of that was the Apr 15th, 2014 FWC meeting at this link http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/41514-florida-fish-wildlife-conservation-commission/ where the issue of rogue carnivores or ("conflict animals" the new gentler term) was discussed for almost 4 hours straight. If one really wants to know how serious the issue is I suggest watching all of this video soon before it's pulled so you know for yourself rather than having to rely on rumors or heresay.

    Hopefully the long overdue expansion of this team will happen.

    Gladesman/Frank
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,126 Captain
    I met with Larry Williams today and the addition of a new member to the committee will be discussed with the group and considered. That discussion will be at the June meeting. Any change has to be approved in Atlanta. Larry is well aware of the position of the sports community. Actually, there was a member from the Quality Deer Management group on the original team but he quit coming to the meetings. Larry is a deer hunter and supportive of hunting on the NWRs. I will be attending the meeting in Venus Thursday (10 am) but expect little discussion of this issue. It is a public meeting and it will be interesting to see which stakeholders attend and their comments.
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    I would find out why that member "quit".
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    probably quit because he didn't have boots high enuff to wade thru all the BS...probably quit DMTAG for the same reasons
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    The member of the DMTAG in question from QDMA is still a member of the DMTAG and usually weighs in via email as it's hard for him to travel to FL for these meetings. However, the Panther Team required in-person appearance and that was not always feasible. Hence his departure from the Panther Team.

    Personally, I feel someone from QDMA holding that seat was the wrong person to represent Florida hunters. We need a local with local knowledge and personal experience to sit in that position. Someone with a brain, a vocabulary, and the ability to understand complex issues and the laws surrounding them.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    what do we do with the other 7 then?
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,126 Captain
    These committees are "what they are".....and we will need at least a "seat at the table" to have any input. The panther is an endangered species and that means special status that is often in conflict with our positions....sadly, the federal law trumps everything else. I support being "on the train" when these situations arise. Otherwise, the recommendations from the committee will have no concern for our issues. The panthers will be put north of the Caloosahatcee one way or another.....three individual populations of 250 each are needed to get the panther off the Endangered Species list....That is a lot of panthers....they are currently over populated in S. Florida at about 200....so you can look at a map of the "corridor" and see where the future plans are for the population....There is going to be a lot of conflict for sure.....I say this as just a statement of fact....not to personally support such a large number of these animals in a highly populated state....
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,533 Captain
    In other words,and stated simply: Future Landscape,defense from development no longer dependent on Hunter.

    It's been a long time since the vision,and implementation of Hunter Driven C.A.R.L. ( Conservation And Recreation Lands Act-and related derivatives...)

    The hesitancy of the FWCC to interject "hunt" 'interest' at this immediate time (further compounded by credible,most potentially effective "Hunt Interest" perhaps only willing to Lurk at this time.......)might in fact be appropriate, a gift to hunter,state and all..It's a State In Flux.

    Onward-
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Newton, correction.... the SE Cougar is EXTINCT has been for yrs

    The so called FL panther/flugar is just an excuse to do everything they can to re introduce the newly created species and call it a FL panther and let it populate the SE. No such thing as a Fl panther scientifically except in the minds of THEM

    The current amount of available land has more then 100% of the carrying capacity of a Flugar ..........

    Do you accept farm raised GMO salmon and consider them a native species?
  • JohnnyBanditJohnnyBandit Posts: 8,305 Admiral
    Newton, correction.... the SE Cougar is EXTINCT has been for yrs

    The so called FL panther/flugar is just an excuse to do everything they can to re introduce the newly created species and call it a FL panther and let it populate the SE. No such thing as a Fl panther scientifically except in the minds of THEM

    The current amount of available land has more then 100% of the carrying capacity of a Flugar ..........

    Do you accept farm raised GMO salmon and consider them a native species?

    No it is not...


    That being said..... There NEEDS to be a hunter on the committee and DOW has NO business there.....
    And have sent emails voicing that...
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Johnny, read here it is extinct. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/03/eastern-cougar-officially-declared-extinct/1#.U38dvfldUo4

    Thus is the plan to re introduce the species by a technical error....that being the so called Fl Panther

    It is a big plan, real big plan we've just been the test cell,but let the expansion begin
  • gottheitch22gottheitch22 fort Meade FLPosts: 4,319 Captain
    Johnny, read here it is extinct. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/03/eastern-cougar-officially-declared-extinct/1#.U38dvfldUo4

    Thus is the plan to re introduce the species by a technical error....that being the so called Fl Panther

    It is a big plan, real big plan we've just been the test cell,but let the expansion begin

    now thats a good artical
    living life as i like
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,539 Admiral
    How in the hell do these non-pro always end up on fed/state committee's in the first place?
    ****?
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,539 Admiral
    email sent
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • SLW210SLW210 Posts: 2,226 Captain
    huntmstr wrote: »
    The member of the DMTAG in question from QDMA is still a member of the DMTAG and usually weighs in via email as it's hard for him to travel to FL for these meetings. However, the Panther Team required in-person appearance and that was not always feasible. Hence his departure from the Panther Team.

    Personally, I feel someone from QDMA holding that seat was the wrong person to represent Florida hunters. We need a local with local knowledge and personal experience to sit in that position. Someone with a brain, a vocabulary, and the ability to understand complex issues and the laws surrounding them.

    Then maybe you would be the one that needs to sit on the board.

    Who do I need to contact to suggest that you be on the board and if not you, who would you suggest?

    It is interesting to note that the Eastern Cougar has been declared extinct despite sightings and actual evidence they still exist throughout the Appalachians yet no effort to force a repopulation anywhere but Florida. Seems more of an agenda of (?) than anything to me, they certainly add nothing to the ecosystem that I can see, the Appalachians are doing well without them, why wouldn't Florida?

    If not repopulating to hunt them, then what is the intended purpose? There are plenty out west, tell the Libs to move out there, lots of illegally confiscated government land out there as well, Liberal paradise I tell you!
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,539 Admiral
    "Thanks for your note. We have heard similar concerns about representation on this committee. I am confident these concerns will be addressed. I don't believe you are getting all the facts about Mr. Williams. He is carefully following the process for conducting these meetings regarding panther recovery under federal guidelines. In fact he hosted an open public meeting yesterday. We are working close with Mr. Williams and his team and will continue to make sure the interests of Florida hunters are well represented. Thank you for taking the time to provide these comments.

    Nick Wiley
    Executive Director"
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 13,724 AG
    Check out what reintroducing the wolf did to Yellowstone and the elk heard....

    Year Elk Population
    2012 3,915

    2011 4,174

    2010 4,635

    2009 6,070

    2008 6,279

    2007 6,738

    2006 6,588

    2005 9,545

    2004 8,335

    2003-02 9,215

    2001 11,969

    2000 13, 400 (prior to late season elk hunt)

    1999 14,538 (prior to late season elk hunt)

    1998 11,742

    1997 no count taken

    1996 no count taken

    1995 16,791 (when wolf reintroduction began)

    1994 19,045 (year before wolf reintroduction)
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    I cant believe everyone isn't outraged what's going on...seriously as the above illustrates,we've been decimated with the wolves in the Upper Penninsula,it will and is happening right down here.
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,539 Admiral
    sometimes I wonder what happened to the Sabre Tooth Cats in Florida?
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    SLW210 wrote: »
    Then maybe you would be the one that needs to sit on the board.

    Who do I need to contact to suggest that you be on the board and if not you, who would you suggest?

    It is interesting to note that the Eastern Cougar has been declared extinct despite sightings and actual evidence they still exist throughout the Appalachians yet no effort to force a repopulation anywhere but Florida. Seems more of an agenda of (?) than anything to me, they certainly add nothing to the ecosystem that I can see, the Appalachians are doing well without them, why wouldn't Florida?

    If not repopulating to hunt them, then what is the intended purpose? There are plenty out west, tell the Libs to move out there, lots of illegally confiscated government land out there as well, Liberal paradise I tell you!

    I am not the one for this committee. It's not my back yard and there are others better suited to this task. I would suggest Lyle McCandless or Byron Maharrey for starters. Both are very knowledgeable and hunt the immediate areas affect by panthers. Further, they both have the ear and respect of the south Florida hunters and are leaders in the community. I know both of them were at yesterday's meetings. Pretty much a dog & pony show as usual.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,126 Captain
    Interesting meeting.....It was directed toward the large cattle ranchers north of the Caloosahatchee...and attended by cattlemen from both south and north of the river. The committee (USFWS) has a scheme to pay ranchers by the acre for maintaining panther habitat....$22 for natural land, $4 for pasture. The USFWS does not intend to "move cats" north, but expects them to migrate naturally and they want them to be "welcomed" by the private land owners.....Unfortunately for the committee not a single rancher seemed to like the idea...they are getting money already from the Feds for other programs (and cannot have both programs)....and the ranchers from south of the river had nothing good to say about panthers as they are not being compensated for their loss of calves.....Which cannot be found after being killed, but the ranchers know the percentages of loss before and after the increase in panther population....and areas without panthers and the say they are losing substantial numbers of their herds each year.

    Not very pleasant reception for the committee.

    Regarding our issue of representation....that will be discussed at the June meeting and a decision made.
    Several names have been floated that I believe will be agreeable to those on this Thread, but it is best to let them respond if the position is created. Each of the committee was personally lobbied by several of us....Lyle, Byron and Todd were there beside myself...and the need to have a sports/hunter on the committee in order for the committee to have any credibility (or acceptance of their proposals) with a large stakeholder group was emphasized.

    It is a lot of work to be on this committee, time and technical expertise or the willingness to study and learn what is needed.
    Frankly, there is nothing but grief for our sports/hunter representative in the long run as the panthers are coming one way or another and there is no good news, especially for deer hunting, when panthers are present. That representative is not going to be able to stop the inevitable. All the members of the committee are good folks, whatever their convictions....or their government jobs.....and are trying to do what can be done to work with the USFWS to reach the USFWS goal of two separate populations of at least 240 cats in Florida. That would remove the species from the endangered list.....The USFWS is charged to accomplish that mission. This committee is being utilized to prepare the plan and to work with the stakeholders to establish those two populations.
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