Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent
Authorized gopher tortoise agents are qualified individuals permitted by FWC to handle gopher tortoises and perform activities required for permitted responsible relocation projects. Authorized gopher tortoise agents cannot perform any activities at a site without an FWC gopher tortoise relocation permit in place.
The FWC uses authorized gopher tortoise agents to ensure the safety and well-being of gopher tortoises during responsible relocations and to ensure that all state policies, guidelines, and rules are followed during all permitted relocation activities.
Use of an authorized gopher tortoise agent is required at
- all off-site relocation projects, regardless of tortoise capture method;
- on-site relocation projects that involve the relocation of more than 10 burrows.
- on-site relocation projects that involve any method of capture other than bucket trapping, live trapping, or hand shovel excavation.
Authorized agent permits are not issued for scientific collecting or research permits.
Authorized agents assist with many activities during responsible relocation projects including surveying, trapping, marking, transporting, and relocating or gopher tortoises. Each agent permit will clearly state what the agent is permitted to do and will be conditioned accordingly.
Authorized agents must be able to accurately represent and follow FWC policies, guidelines, and rules with the public and with their clients. Please refer to the FWC gopher tortoise permitting guidelines for specifics on the experience required to qualify for an authorized gopher tortoise agent permit.
In lieu of experience, successful completion of an FWC approved course by Kleinfelder, Wildlands Conservation, and Common Ground Ecology will be accepted (for up to 2 years following course completion) for purposes of meeting the requirements for the Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent permit. Individuals can choose to be trained and permitted for as few or as many associated activities as they wish.
If you are interested in applying to become an authorized gopher tortoise agent, please visit the FWC gopher tortoise online permitting site. A username and password is required. Please refer to the authorized gopher tortoise agent permit application checklist for a list of items needed to complete the online application process. If you would like to request accommodations, please email Kirsten Hecht, Communications Coordinator.
Authorized agent permits issued or renewed before implementation of the 2020 Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines (11/2/20) have a two-year expiration date. Authorized agent permits issued or renewed under the 2020 Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines have a four-year expiration date. The permit expiration date is listed on the agent permit in the upper right corner on the first page of the permit.
Authorized agent permits can be renewed at the request of the permittee through a permit amendment process before permit expiration. If a permit amendment is not submitted before expiration, the application is processed as a new permit and requires full experience/training and a mitigation contribution of $544.00. To learn more about the renewal process, please review the Authorized Agent Renewal Training available on the FWC E-learning site.
For More Information
Further information on authorized gopher tortoise agent permits are available in FWC's Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines.
Interested in providing an FWC approved authorized agent training course? Submit a proposed course syllabus following FWC training course outline requirements to Katherine Richardson.
For other questions, please contact your regional gopher tortoise conservation biologist.