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FWC Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guideline Updates

On November 2, 2020, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) implemented revisions to the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines. These revisions clarify previous guidance on survey methods, commensal encounters, registered agents requirements, phased relocations, interim after action reports, and maximum transect length and width, in addition to many other definition updates. The After Action Reporting timeframe was also revised from 30 days from release to 45 days from date of capture. One of the significant changes is the revised requirements for Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents permit renewal. The Authorized Agent permits are now valid for a four-year period, which is an increase from the previous two-year duration. To renew, agents must show documentation that they have completed 25% of the experience requirements within the past 4 years, for each listed activity which they request authorization on their permit.  For example, to renew a permit for authorized activities that include surveying, supervised backhoe excavation, capture, and mark/release the agent must have:
• Completed a minimum of 30 hours (25% of 120) of pedestrian surveys
• Supervised at least 13 (25% of 50) burrow excavations using mechanical equipment with at least 5 (25% of 20) gopher tortoises captured
• Successfully captured at least 5 (25% of 20) gopher tortoises for each of the following capture activities for which the agent requests to be authorized: bucket trapping, live trapping, hand shovel, and pulling rod
• Marked and released a minimum of 10 (25% of 40) gopher tortoises.
For more information, click here: Permitting Guidelines

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