Community development is one of the top three
economic engines in Florida, which is now home to more than 18
million people (FloridaTrend.com, 2008
estimates). Conversely, Florida is literally teeming with over 700
species of wildlife on land and more than 1,250 freshwater and
marine fish species. In many instances, urban sprawl is the leading
cause of habitat loss and fragmentation and some reports indicate
at least 7 million more acres of private rural land might be
converted to development by the year 2060 (1000 Friends of
Florida's 2060 Report).
Fortunately, some developers and community leaders have come to
realize that conservation design approaches and wildlife friendly
neighborhood management practices can reduce conflicts between
human development and wildlife conservation efforts. "At first
glance, it would seem these two worlds would be incompatible, but
the impressive thing about Florida is there is room for both humans
and wildlife," says Ken Haddad, executive director of the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC, Wildlife 2060
Maintaining compatibility between human communities and wildlife
conservation doesn?t end with coming up with a good plan though.
Community Best Management Practices and land management that
incorporates fish and wildlife habitat needs are equally important.
The FWC offers both technical assistance and recognition to
landowners, land managers and community developers who pursue
wildlife conservation on their properties.
The Florida Wildlife
Conservation Guide is a partnership project between the FWC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) and Florida Natural
Areas Inventory (FNAI). This ?portal? is intended to aid the
user in identifying fish and wildlife resource needs during the
information gathering phases of land use planning, land development
and habitat management projects. To do that the Guide pulls
together much of the published technical assistance information
currently endorsed by the FWC and the USFWS that relates fish and
wildlife needs to land use project planning and habitat management
specific to Florida.
Landowners seeking more detailed assistance with habitat management
planning will likely find it offered through the FWC's Landowner Assistance Program