Protected species assessments/surveys are often required by the regulatory agencies to determine the presence of plant and animal species protected by federal, state, and local laws. The vegetative community types on a site provide an indication of the potential plant and animal species that could be present on a project site. As part of preliminary site assessments and permitting requirements, our team of trained and experienced ecologists regularly performs habitat mapping and conducts protected species surveys in appropriate community types. We can provide you with a preliminary habitat analysis and discuss mitigation that may be required by government agencies for impacts to potential protected species habitat.
Habitat mapping is an important element in preliminary site assessments, project planning, and permitting. The natural community types occurring on a site indicate the plant and animal species that may be present and serve as a guide for conducting the appropriate surveys for protected species. For large-scale environmental planning our experienced AutoCAD/GIS team has the capability of creating habitat maps utilizing existing federal and state land cover databases. For more comprehensive habitat mapping, our team of ecologists performs field surveys and documents the community types present on a site using recent aerial photographs. We are familiar with a range of habitats and natural community classification schemes including the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS); Florida Natural Areas Inventory’s Guide to the Natural Communities of Florida; and the natural communities of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Protected Species Surveying
We are experienced in the identification of protected species and their sign (i.e., nests, tracks, scat, etc.). Our ecologists are highly trained to conduct field surveys of appropriate habitats for plant and animal species that are protected by federal, state, and local regulations such as the bald eagle, wood stork, red-cockaded woodpecker, flatwoods salamander, manatee, Florida bonneted bat, Florida panther, beautiful pawpaw, and Canby’s dropwort. Protected species vary by state, but a few of the protected species in the Southeastern U.S. include the gopher tortoise, peregrine falcon, least tern, and Big Cypress fox squirrel.
We regularly conduct preliminary listed species surveys for due diligence assessments and initial project planning purposes. If a particular protected species, such as the gopher tortoise or red-cockaded woodpecker, is identified on a site the regulatory agencies may require species-specific surveys as part of the permitting process to further document the species use of the site. Our team of ecologists is trained in the various species-specific survey methodologies and has the expertise to conduct these in-depth surveys, provide you with detailed reports, and assist you with protected species permitting, mitigation strategies, and habitat management plans for protected species.
The various U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service regional offices have established methodologies for assessing a site’s habitats and determining the value the habitats provide to threatened and endangered wildlife. These assessments are used to determine the amount of mitigation a development project may be required to provide as compensation for impacts, or the amount of habitat credit that could be generated by the land if proposed as a habitat conservation bank. Our ecologists are highly experienced in utilizing the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service’s habitat analysis methodologies to assist you in obtaining your permits.