Gulf County commission backs access to St. Vincent

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM.

“That is bad news because over the last five years the island has been severely understaffed and under-budgeted,” Luther said. “We as supporters are opposed to any status change that would result in staffing and funding cuts.”

The island staff has already been cut in recent years with a biologist position eliminated and management staff reduced to one.

Funding for the island is now funneled through St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the island no longer has leased office space in Apalachicola after the city declined to renew the lease.

That has conspired to put a highly-successful red wolf breeding program at risk and resulted in actions such as moving the annual meeting of the Supporters from a weekend to a weekday event due to staffing reductions.

The island is considered an environmental jewel.

The late Dr. Joe Collins, a world-renowned herpetologist from the University of Kansas, spent nearly a decade surveying the wildlife on the island.

He wrote several papers in addition to a pocket book on the snakes of the island.

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