A biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who works on the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area, has been named the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s 2016 Resource Manager of the Year.
Matthew Hortman received the recognition at the June 14th meeting of the Governor and Cabinet in Tallahassee.
The award recognizes the outstanding dedication and achievements of people managing state lands to conserve their ecological value and biological diversity.
Hortman has fostered innovative programs to help restore natural communities within the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area, which encompasses the river and its floodplains from Liberty County south to Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County.
Hortman has reintroduced prescribed burning into previously fire-suppressed areas to improve habitat for wildlife, he has also worked to enhance recreational opportunities for visitors.
The Apalachicola River basin is recognized as one of the nation’s “biodiversity hot spots,” and the Wildlife and Environmental Area supports many wildlife species, including the bald eagle, osprey, pileated woodpecker, red-cockaded woodpecker, Apalachicola kingsnake, Barbour’s map turtle, alligator snapping turtle and Brazilian free-tailed bat.