Florida conservation chairman to leave post

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Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is stepping down after 10 years on the board, seven as chairman, according to media reports.

Barreto was named chairman by Gov. Jeb Bush and reappointed by Gov. Charlie Crist. Barreto told the Miami Herald that he hadn't sought reappointment from Gov. Rick Scott, but said there was no political reason for his departure.

The position is unpaid. Barreto's resignation will be effective June 1, two months before his term would expire.

In a letter delivered to fellow commissioners, Barreto praised commission leadership and the agency's accomplishments.

An avid hunter and angler, Barreto wrote that he was proud of adding 30 new areas and 135,000 more acres for hunting, along with programs to maintain the state's biodiversity and the health of its wildlife and fish stocks.

In a column at the agency's website, Barreto noted that each year $20 billion and 250,000 jobs come directly from fish and wildlife in the state, and that an additional $18 billion and another 200,000 jobs are the indirect benefit of boating in state waters.

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission oversees these waterways and protects fishing and hunting resources for this generation and beyond," he wrote. "Those of us who work for the FWC are thankful that we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor while positively impacting others by creating jobs and revenue."

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