District to Hold Series of Hog Hunts in 2020-2021, Permits Will Be Available Online

District land managers plan to hold a series of hog hunts on District lands throughout the year to help reduce the feral hog population.

Feral hogs, which are not native to Florida, can cause damage with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field. They also prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, hogs may facilitate the spread of exotic plant species by transporting seeds and/or providing germination sites through rooting.

The District has a three-phased hunting system. The first two phases of hunts will have separate registration processes. The single top producer from each Phase 1 and Phase 2 hunt will be asked to participate in hog management activities for Phase 3.

All hunts will adhere to the hog-dog format. No still hunts will be available. The program works like this:

Phase 1 Hunts

  • Registration will occur on Oct. 6, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • Includes six hunts that occur November through December 2020.
  • A $75 nonrefundable fee must be paid for each permit.
  • Permits are transferable.
  • The top producer of each Phase 1 hunt will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be awarded participation in the District’s Phase 3 hunts, free of charge. We no longer award free admission into Phase 2 for our top two producers of the Phase 1 hunt.

Phase 2 Hunts

  • Registration will occur on Dec. 8, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • Includes six hunts that occur January and February 2021.
  • A $75 nonrefundable fee must be paid for each permit.
  • Permits are transferable.
  • The single top producer of each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October 2021 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge.

Phase 3 “As-Needed” Management Hunts

  • Includes management hunts that may occur March through October 2021.
  • Only those registrants that qualify as “top producers” following the Phase 1 and 2 hunts will be contacted to take part in management hunts during this period.
  • Management hunts offered to “top producers” will be free of charge and non-transferable.
  • All Phase 1 and Phase 2 top producers, without rule violations, will be offered participation on a minimum of four management hunts occurring March through October 2021.

The District-managed properties will be temporarily closed to the public during the hog hunts. Only permitted hunters will be allowed access.

Prospective hunters can purchase permits for Phase I hunts beginning at 9 a.m. Oct. 6 on the District’s WaterMatters.org/HogHunts. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis until they are sold out. The cost is $75 for each permit. A complete list of hunts with locations and dates is also available online.

This is the 12th consecutive year for the hunts. Last year’s hunts removed 625 hogs on 13 different tracts of land throughout the District.

 

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District Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Funds Water Resources Projects

On Tuesday, the Southwest Florida Water Management District's (District) Governing Board adopted a $183.5 million budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, including more than $65.7 million for the Cooperative Funding Initiative and District grants for water resources projects.

The budget reflects the District’s commitment to protect Florida’s water resources and to improve Florida’s economic vitality. Some of the key initiatives in the District’s FY2021 budget include:

  • $20.9 million for development of alternative water supplies to ensure an adequate supply of water resources for all existing and future reasonable and beneficial uses.
  • $15.9 million for springs initiatives to restore springs and spring-fed rivers to improve water quality and clarity as well as restore natural habitats.
  • $26.3 million for Watershed Management Program plans to support floodplain management decisions and initiatives, and address potential and existing flooding problems.

Through cooperative funding partnerships, District funds are typically matched up to 50% and will result in a total regional investment of more than $119 million for sustainable alternative water supply development, water quality improvements and other water resource management projects.

The adopted FY2021 millage rate is 0.2669 mill, 4.7% lower than the current fiscal year which will help lessen the tax burden for Florida residents by saving taxpayers approximately $6 million in property taxes. For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, the District tax would be $26.69 a year, or about $2.22 per month. The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021.

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Governing Board Meeting to be Conducted Remotely (Note: 3 p.m. start time)

Public participation will be provided through online viewing or conference call options

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. remotely.

A public hearing on the FY2021 budget is scheduled for 5:01 p.m. remotely.

In-person attendance by Board members and staff will be limited in accordance with the directive in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Emergency Order to conduct all public meetings electronically. With the exception of the Governing Board chair, all other Board members will be participating remotely. Only staff that are necessary for the meeting will attend in person at the Brooksville Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville.

To view the Governing Board meeting and the public hearing on the FY2021 budget online, click on the live video stream link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

If you would like to provide input and watch the meeting, please use the Zoom option rather than the traditional livestream. You will need to register in Zoom and receive information to connect as an attendee by clicking here to register. You will be taken to a page to complete information to help the District ensure you have an opportunity to speak on the correct agenda item. Each registration is unique for each connection. The District recommends using the Chrome browser and downloading the Zoom application for optimal performance.

A backup telephone only option is available if you have trouble connecting to the Zoom meeting. Call in toll free at 1-888-585-9008 or 657-220-3242, then enter conference room number 346-054-201. If possible, please use a landline for the best connection. Please do not use speakerphone or put your phone on hold.

The Chair will take a recess at the beginning of the meeting to ask if anyone from the public wishes to speak. During the recess, a staff member will take your name and the topic you wish to speak about through the question and answer option on Zoom. The staff member will create a blue card to be used by the Chair to call on you at the appropriate time during the meeting. 

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found at WaterMatters.org by clicking on the “Go to District Calendar” link.

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