Land Use Planning

Community development is one of the top three economic engines in Florida, which is now home to more than 18 million people (, 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 Report).

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 (LAP).

FWC Facts:
Gutters and storm drains can transport excess lawn chemicals to coastal waters and damage seagrass beds.

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