The makeup of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is poised for changes
Gov. Rick Scott announced the appointments on Friday afternoon, which is a typical tactic used in recent years to avoid immediate press scrutiny.
The new commissioners, subject to Senate confirmation, are Sonya Rood of St. Augustine, who is listed as a farm manager, and Gary Nicklaus of Jupiter, the son of professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, a major Donald Trump supporter.
They succeed Liesa Priddy, who drew attention for proposing allowing people to shoot Florida panthers to protect livestock at southwest Florida ranches, and Ron “Gator” Bergeron, who recently was featured in the news over his dismay that the Everglades floods following hurricanes.
Another upcoming vacancy to be filled will be the seat held by Brian Yablonski, who is leaving the state to take a job with a conservative Property and Environmental Research Center in Montana with whom he had previously served as a fellow.
Some of the most controversial issues before the FWC for the conservation will involve efforts to continue to protect the Florida panther and the Florida black bear, both of which have large habitat needs in an increasingly urbanizing state.
Furthermore, there is a need for FWC to review the methods for funding the agency to consider tapping the growing ecotourism user groups rather than the shrinking hook-and-bullet crowd.