Tallahassee, FL – The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida (FWFF) has announced $385,000 in grants for conservation, wildlife management and outdoor education and recreation.
Funds for the current round of grants come from two of Florida’s specialty license plates and will benefit 20 nonprofit and public conservation organizations, said FWFF CEO Andrew Walker.
18 grants totaling $209,000 came from the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” license plate, which includes an image of a deer. Proceeds from the purchase of the so-called deer tag support protection and management of lands open to public hunting, hunting safety programs and training in archery and other shooting sports for women and men of all ages and backgrounds.
Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources is receiving $28,000 for its youth archery program, including support for outreach to new audiences, Walker said. The Foundation is awarding the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission $40,000 to increase surveillance for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a contagious, fatal disease for deer that is spreading across North America.
FWFF is also making grants of $176,000 for research, conservation and restoration of Florida’s freshwater springs. Funding comes from the “Protect Florida Springs” license plate containing the image of a scuba diver.
Springs conservation grants include $16,000 to the Sea to Shore Alliance to monitor manatees in Silver River, $11,500 to Alachua County for habitat enhancement at Poe Springs, and $9,000 to Jacksonville University to track habitat use in Wekiwa Springs by the Florida red-bellied turtle and peninsula cooter. FWFF is also making grants to monitor water quality and nutrient transport in several important spring watersheds.
FWFF Board Chair Richard A. Corbett said, “The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is dedicated to conserving nature and our outdoor heritage. We are excited to support these projects, which will benefit our state’s world-famous springs, on which so much of Florida’s freshwater biodiversity depends. We’re equally committed to ensuring Florida remains a land of abundant wildlife and open space, for present and future Floridians to enjoy sustainably for hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and much else.”
Every deer and springs license plate sold provides $25 for conservation, Corbett said. The Foundation also administers the proceeds from the “Conserve Wildlife” specialty plate, which includes the image of a Florida black bear. Proceeds from the bear plate are used to conserve Florida’s bears and other iconic or endangered animals. Specialty plates can be bought at your local tax collector’s office.
About the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated more than $30 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education.