The listed species surveys included species specific surveys for the crested caracara, red-cockaded woodpecker, Big Cypress fox squirrel, and burrowing owl. The Big Cypress Stewardship District is located within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service primary zone for the Florida panther. Surveys for panther prey species, including the white-tailed deer and feral hog, were also conducted. Following the wetland delineation and flagging in the field, our ecologists accompanied South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff on site visits to review and verify the wetland lines. A formal wetland determination was obtained from the South Florida Water Management District, and an Approved Wetland Jurisdictional Determination was obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Big Cypress Stewardship District.
We provided environmental services for the preparation and submittal of applications for federal and state approval for the agricultural operations within the Big Cypress Stewardship District. Services performed included preparation of the environmental portions of South Florida Water Management District Environmental Resource Permit modification applications and responses to District staff’s requests for additional information; preparation of the applications for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permits and responses to Corps staff; and preparation of Biological Assessments for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- 22,000± acres
- Focused development plans within existing agricultural fields and incorporated lake buffer systems to deter large mammals and minimize human-wildlife conflicts
- Preserves were designated in environmentally sensitive and significant areas and includes thousands of acres of habitat restoration, enhancement, and preservation
- Wildlife crossings and corridors were utilized to maintain habitat connectivity for large mammals
The Big Cypress Stewardship District (BCSD) consists of 22,000± acres located in Collier County and is a mixture of lands that have continuously been used for agricultural operations since the early 1900s as well as natural areas which include Shaggy Cypress Swamp and the Camp Keais Strand flow-way. The BCSD is located within Collier County’s Rural Lands Stewardship Area.
The BCSD is located within Collier County’s Rural Lands Stewardship Area (RLSA). The RLSA program is an incentive-based land use overlay system that encourages smart growth patterns in rural areas of the county. For those projects, whose proponents choose to participate in the RLSA Program, compact development at higher densities is directed to areas that have been mapped as having limited natural resource values and employs the use of stewardship credits to entitle development.
Stewardship credits are generated by establishing Stewardship Sending Areas (SSAs) which require removal of various layers of development rights from the property to generate credits. The number of credits generated by an SSA is based on the number of layers removed, the ecological value of the land, and if restoration work is proposed and implemented. The ecological value is determined using a Geographic Information System (GIS) model called a Natural Resource Index Assessment. These credits are then used to entitle developments which are referred to as Stewardship Receiving Areas (SRAs). There are multiple proposed SRAs and SSAs located within the BCSD.