University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #CIR1472

Improving, Restoring, and Managing Wildlife Habitat in Florida: Sources of Technical Assistance for Rural Landowners1

Martin Main, Chris Demers, and Mark Hostetler2

Introduction

In Florida, roughly 50% of the rural land area is held in private ownership and engaged in some form of agriculture or forestry (Florida Statistical Abstract, 1992). Privately owned lands in Florida provide critically important wildlife habitat for many species. Effective management of wildlife habitat on private lands in Florida is essential for maintaining healthy wildlife populations into the future.

Managing for wildlife essentially includes maintaining the natural processes on the land. For example, fire in pine flatwoods and seasonal flooding of wetlands are essential for maintaining plant and wildlife communities that are adapted to these natural processes. However, multiple land uses, invasive non-native species, and other factors may interfere with natural environmental processes. In these cases, active management is needed to maintain or restore healthy and productive wildlife habitat.

Expert advice can be helpful when deciding on specific management actions needed to maintain or restore wildlife habitat. This is especially useful when attempting to benefit wildlife species of special management interest or concern. Landowners are advised to consider the types of habitats that exist on their property and that they are interested in managing, such as wetlands, pine forests, hardwoods, abandoned pasture, and so forth, to assist them when they begin searching for information.

This document summarizes sources of information from federal, state, and non-governmental organizations that provide technical assistance to rural landowners interested in managing or restoring habitat for wildlife (Table 1). Additional information regarding conservation and management of wildlife habitat in Florida is available on the University of Florida/IFAS Cooperative Extension Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). Related documents present information on programs that provide:

1. Financial assistance to private landowners
• Improving, Restoring, and Managing Natural Resources on Rural Properties in Florida: Sources of Financial Assistance (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR156)
• Paying Private Landowners to Conserve Wildlife Habitat: A Unique Approach to Conservation (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW138)
2. Technical assistance for homeowners:
• Improving, Restoring, and Managing Natural Resources in Florida: Sources of Technical Assistance for Urban Homeowners (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW212)
3. Conservation options (easements, etc.) for private landowners
• Conservation Options for Private Landowners in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW194)
• Conservation Easements: Options for Preserving Current Land Uses (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR149)
4. Evaluating private lands for conservation
• Evaluating Private Lands for Conservation of Wildlife (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW195)
• What is in a Natural Resource Management Plan? (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR126)

Additional information

Demers, C., Long, A., and C. Latt. 1999. Establishing and maintaining wildlife food sources. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR062.

Demers, C., Hawkins, L., Long, A., and C. McKelvy. 2001. Providing wildlife cover. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR124.

Hostetler, M.E., Klowden, G., Miller, S.W., and K. N. Youngentob. 2003. Landscaping backyards for wildlife: top ten tips for success. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Fact Sheet Circ 1429. University of Florida, UF/IFAS EDIS Database, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW175.

Jacobson, M., and A. Long. 2003. Ecosystem Management (EM) as a basis for forest stewardship on private lands. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR046.

Long, A. 2002. Benefits of prescribed burning. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR061.

Main, M. B., Karim, A.K., and M. E. Hostetler. 2003. Conservation options for private landowners in Florida. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW194.

Main, M. B., Karim, A. K., and M. E. Hostetler. 2003. Evaluating private lands for conservation of wildlife. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW195.

Main, M. B., Roka, F. M., and M. E. Hostetler. 2000. Paying private landowners to conserve wildlife habitat: a unique approach to conservation. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW138.

Main, M. B. 2000. Management of white-tailed deer in Florida – Part I: collecting information on herd health. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW136.

Main, M.B., and G.W. Tanner. 1999. Effects of fire on Florida's wildlife and wildlife habitat. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW132.

Marion, W. R., Werner, M., and G. W. Tanner. 2002. Management of pine forests for selected wildlife in Florida. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW098.

University of Florida/IFAS Center for Natural Resources. 2000. Florida's invaders: exotic pests. University of Florida/IFAS, Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CR008.

Tables

Table 1. 

Organizations and programs that operate throughout Florida (statewide) to provide technical assistance for management of wildlife habitat and natural resources.

Organization

Contact Information

Comments

Federal

Department of the Interior

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Partners for Fish & Wildlife:

http://www.fws.gov/partners/

Assistance to private landowners to restore wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

Bureau of Reclamation:

http://www.usbr.gov/waterconservation/planning.html

Financing, in-kind services, and educational programs for on-farm water management.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs

Multiple programs that provide technical and financial support to assist with managing and restoring wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

Farm Service Agency:

http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=landing&topic=landing

Technical and financial assistance to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on farms and ranches.

State

University of Florida/IFAS

Cooperative Extension Electronic Data Information Source:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/

Searchable database for technical information on many topics related to management of natural resources.

Florida Cooperative Extension Service

Cooperative Extension Service County Offices:

http://extension.ifas.ufl.edu

Provide technical assistance and conduct public workshops. Services vary by county.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Landowner Incentive Program:

http://www.wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/LIP/LIP.htm

Financial and technical assistance for landowners to manage, enhance, or restore habitats to benefit species at risk.

Florida Division of Forestry

Forest Stewardship Program (FSP):

http://www.fl-dof.com/forest_management/cfa_steward_index.html

UF/IFAS FSP website: http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension/ffws/fsp.htm

Technical assistance and educational programs through cooperation with UF/IFAS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and other organizations.

Water Management Districts

South Florida Water Management District, Water Savings Initiative Program: http://www.sfwmd.gov/watersip

Technical assistance to implement water-efficiency measures that reduce water use demands and promote water conservation.

Southwest Florida Water Management District, Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS):

http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/business/farms/

Incentives to farmers to install and maintain irrigation best management practices (BMPs) to the agricultural community within “water use caution areas” (WUCA).

Suwannee River Water Management District, Private Landowner Initiative Program:

http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/

Assistance to private landowners to develop and implement land management plans that enhance, improve, or restore fish and wildlife habitat.

Non-governmental

National Wildlife Federation

NWF Species Recovery Fund:

http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife.aspx

Funding and technical assistance for habitat restoration, species reintroduction, and other efforts that benefit species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

American Forest Foundation

Conservation Incentives:

http://www.conservationforestry.org/

Directs forestland owners to AFF volunteer foresters, conservation groups, land trusts, and natural resource professionals who can provide assistance in developing forest conservation and wildlife management plans to promote wildlife habitat improvement, watershed protection, and forest health.

Stewardship America, Inc.

Farmland Stewardship Program

http://www.privatelands.org/FSP

(scroll down to program information)

Provides agricultural producers access to conservation and profit improvement information.

Footnotes

1.

This document is CIR1472, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date May 2005. Revised May 2008. Reviewed October 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Martin B. Main, Associate Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Immokalee, FL 34142; Mark E. Hostetler, Assistant Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; and Chris Demers, Forest Stewardship Coordinator, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.