It is often helpful to potential property buyers to determine the develop ability of their proposed site prior to purchase.  Particularly with large acreage parcels, environmental constraints such as the presence of jurisdictional wetlands and protected species can have a profound impact on the suitability of a site for development.  It is important for a potential buyer to understand how these factors may affect the overall acreage available for development; the costs associated with addressing wetland and wildlife concerns; and any additional time that may be required to address these concerns.

 

In central Florida, wetlands are considered jurisdictional by the ACOE and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), using the State’s unified methodology.  In addition, many local governments also exert jurisdiction over wetlands (i.e. Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management).  These agencies often have their own rules for the definition or delineation of wetlands.

 

In central Florida, approximately 30% of the total land area is considered jurisdictional wetlands.  Wetlands impacts may be permitted in some cases, but typically require justification and compensatory mitigation.  The need to obtain wetland permits and design wetlands mitigation generally increases the development costs beyond those of a project without wetland impacts.  Having to obtain wetland permits also generally increases the time required before a project can go to construction.  These costs vary depending on the type and quality of wetlands, and the extent of impacts proposed.  EAP, Inc. can help you determine these costs prior to closing on a property.  In some cases this information can be utilized to obtain a better purchase price on a property. 

 

The presence of protected species (those listed as endangered, threatened, or species of special concern in F.S. Chapter 39) on a property may also have a profound effect on the development, which may be achieved on a property.  As an example, the presence of a Bald Eagles nest generally precludes development of 40 acres, and restricts development in approximately 160 acres.  The removal of some protected species from a property can be permitted, but generally at some cost (time and money).  EAP, Inc. can provide information on the constraints and cost prior to closing on a property to help you avoid taking on a property that is not suitable for your project.

 

The scope of a preliminary ecological assessment can be tailored to the clients needs.  Typically it involves quantifying the wetlands on the site, and determining the likelihood of protected species on the site.  In addition, if wetland impacts will be necessary for project development we can provide a cost estimate for permitting and compensatory mitigation.  Likewise, we can assess the costs associated with the presence of protected species and provide input on potential options for mitigation or management to increase develop ability of a site with protected species involvement.

Ecological Assessment

Text Box: EAP, Inc. can provide information on the constraints and cost prior to closing on a property to help you avoid taking on a property that is not suitable for your project.

To contact us:

Environmental Analysis & Permitting         Ecologists Environmental Scientists