Community development is one of the top three economic engines in Florida, home to more than 20 million people (U.S. Census Bureau 2015 estimate) and third in population behind California and Texas. Florida is also home to over 700 species of wildlife on land and more than 1,250 freshwater and marine species. With its anticipated growth, Florida may have 7 million more acres of its private lands converted to businesses, schools and homes by the year 2060 (1000 Friends of Florida's 2060 Report ).
Fortunately, Florida has private landowners, environmental consultants and community leaders who realize the value of conservation design approaches and wildlife-friendly neighborhood management practices. They understand the multiple benefits that include preserving people’s quality of life, bolstering tourism and particularly ecotourism, and reducing conflicts between development and wildlife conservation.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Office of Conservation Planning Services can assist private landowners, environmental consultants, land use planners and regulators with wildlife-related technical assistance.
- Private landowners seeking assistance with wildlife habitat management associated with rural land use should contact the Office’s Landowner Assistance Program (LAP)
- Private landowners, environmental consultants, and local governments interested in wildlife surveys, land use planning, including site design considerations for avoiding, minimizing and mitigating fish and wildlife impacts associated with changes to land use should contact the Office’s Land Use Planning (LUP) program.
To assist these efforts, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide was created as a partnership project among stakeholders, the FWC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Natural Areas Inventory . The Guide aids the user in identifying information regarding fish and wildlife resource needs that will be useful during the information-gathering phases of land use planning and development, as well as habitat restoration and management projects. It includes much of the published technical assistance information endorsed by the FWC and the USFWS in regard to fish and wildlife needs associated with land use planning and habitat management in Florida.