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Biologist to talk imperiled species at Mound House

December 5, 2018
By JESSE MEADOWS ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

If you want to learn about threatened species in your own backyard and what is being done to help them, the Mound House has got you covered.

On Dec. 11, they will host Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation biologist Amy Clifton as part of their lecture series.

Clifton will present Florida's Imperiled Species Management Plan, a comprehensive plan meant to conserve and protect 57 threatened fish and wildlife species from 2016-2026.

This includes eight mammals, 21 birds, 12 reptiles, four amphibians, nine fish, and three invertebrates.

Each species on the list has a detailed Species Action Plan, which outlines specific steps necessary to protect them.

Clifton, who has worked what she calls her dream job at the FWC for almost eight years, helped write some of these Species Action Plans, like that of the Florida Sandhill Crane.

Her lecture will help residents better understand the entire management plan and its effects.

"I'll go over the history and the background of why the agency wanted to create the Imperiled Species Management Plan and what effect it's had since then, and go over the components, like the Species Action Plans, and what led to the Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines," Clifton said.

Because 12 counties-worth of conservation work keeps her busy, she doesn't normally do these types of presentations, but she's making a special exception for Fort Myers Beach because of all the work she does here.

"In the spring I do a lot of shore bird protection, where we go out and we put these wood posts with string and signs to let people know they shouldn't walk through the colony because they might destroy nests," she said.

She also helps residents co-exist with burrowing owl, bald eagle, and bat populations.

"Fort Myers Beach is a very good place if you want to see these imperiled species," she said, noting that her team counted 22 threatened Roseate Spoonbills in a lagoon at the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area.

Residents who want to help put the Imperiled Species Action Plan into practice can participate, too.

Clifton always needs help installing posts to protect the shore birds in the springtime.

"There's also a stewardship program where you can be trained to meet beach-goers and educate them on shore birds and their nesting habitats," she said.

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, with wine and light refreshments, and the lecture will begin at 6 p.m.

Attendance is free for members and $5 for non-members. RSVP is required by calling 239-765-0865.



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