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Grants at Work: 2023 Bear License Plate Grants

Our Conserve Wildlife license plate is more than just a striking addition to your vehicle. $25 annually from each plate is used by our Foundation to benefit a wide variety of native Florida species and habitats, as well as confront invasive species like the Burmese python.

Thanks to the generosity of “bear tag” owners, we were able to give away $380,000 last month in support of eight Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission projects around the state.

Our largest grant this year, nearly $171,000 will be used to protect northeast Florida’s last-remaining populations of Black Creek crayfish. Another species of crayfish not native to the area, the white-tubercled crayfish, is rapidly outcompeting its Black Creek cousin and may be spreading a disease.

This grant will create a structural barrier to prevent the invading crayfish from reaching the last Black Creek crayfish populations.

As the statewide population of the once-endangered Florida black bear continues to rebound, scientists are interested in updating what’s known about their genetic diversity and abundance. A $20,000 grant will be used to study bears in Highlands and Glades counties north of Lake Okeechobee. Genetic studies over time will also reveal the bears’ ability to travel long distances to other Florida subpopulations, which is critical information for the design of the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Other grants awarded include:

  • Refined mapping of coral reefs in the lower Keys and beyond ($31,452). Our updated understanding of the condition and location of these reefs will aid their continuing restoration.
  • The first comprehensive population mapping survey of the threatened Suwannee alligator snapping turtle ($60,571).
  • Identification of wildflower species critical to pollinator diversity in north Florida’s longleaf pine forests ($51,086).
  • Flora and fauna study of “solution holes” created by red grouper and other Florida Keys fish. These microhabitats host an array of species important to the ecological health of the Keys and provide food for game fish and other animals ($16,576).

These projects are happening thanks to those who have purchased our Conserve Wildlife license plate. Your tag does make a difference. Match your plate to your passion by checking out our full range of license plates, and become a force of nature!

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