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Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines

On January 1, 2017, the FWC implemented revisions to the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines (April 2008 - revised January 2017). To assist with the implementation of changes, a summary of these changes is provided and an email notification was sent to all Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents registered in the FWC online permit system. If you have questions regarding the new revisions or implementation of the revised guidelines, please contact the Gopher Tortoise Program at gtpermits@MyFWC.com, or by phone at (850) 921-1031.

Guidance regarding acceptable forms of local government approval for Gopher Tortoise Conservation and 10 or Fewer Burrows (off-site) relocation permits (January 2017) is included as a reference for permittees authorized to relocate gopher tortoises off properties. This guidance document provides a list of acceptable forms of local government approval and may be updated as these types of approvals change.

Gopher Tortoise Permits

10 or Fewer Burrows

The 10 or Fewer Burrows Relocation permit is for projects, usually single residential construction, which require the relocation of five or fewer tortoises (10 burrows or less).

If tortoises are going to be relocated on-site (within the boundary of the development specified in the application), the individual capturing and relocating the tortoises must complete the FWC online training prior to capturing gopher tortoises. If tortoises will be relocated off-site (outside the boundary of the development specified in the application), a permitted authorized agent must capture and relocate the tortoises.

Conservation

The Conservation permit is available for development projects which require the relocation of gopher tortoises when more than 10 burrows occur on the development site. This permit allows for relocation off-site to a FWC-certified Recipient Site. Applications for Conservation permits are submitted via the online permitting system or to a SCPS Tallahassee and Regional Office.

Temporary Exclusion

Temporary Exclusion permit is available specifically for the installation of major linear utility transmission lines. This option applies to situations that require the temporary exclusion of tortoises from utility construction corridor where habitats within the corridor will be restored to provide suitable habitat for tortoises following completion of utility installation.

Disturbed Site

The Disturbed Site permit may be required for development projects where premature disturbance to the ground has occurred before gopher tortoise burrow surveys are complete or before gopher tortoise capture and relocation activities have been completed at the development site. This permit allows for the mitigation and relocation of gopher tortoises from disturbed portions of project sites. Disturbed Site permits are not punitive and will not be issued until all associated FWC law enforcement investigations have been completed. 

FWC Policy Protecting Tortoises and Their Burrows

Agricultural, silvicultural, and wildlife management activities which impact gopher tortoises or gopher tortoise burrows do not require a permit if they are conducted in accordance with the Gopher Tortoise Enforcement Policy. These activities include tilling, planting, harvesting, prescribed burning, mowing, disking, roller chopping, and tree cutting. For additional guidance on activities that do not require a permit, refer to the Gopher Tortoise Enforcement Policy.

Incidental Take Permits

Incidental Take (I.T.) permits are no longer available.

NOTIFICATION ON ANNUAL CPI ADJUSTMENT TO MITIGATION ON CONTRIBUTIONS

(Updated 14 June 2018)

Annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments were made to all gopher tortoise permit mitigation amounts, effective 1 July 2018 as outlined in the mitigation amounts table. Please refer to the Gopher Tortoise Permiting Guidelines (p.7) and email notification that was sent on 14 June 2018 to all Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents and applicants (for 10 or Fewer Burrow, on-site permits) with information regarding current and future permit applications effected by this adjustment. Tying these changes to the Consumer Price Index ensures mitigation contributions are adjusted relative to actual price increases or decreases. The FWC uses the "All Urban Consumers Price Index"(CPI-U) for the South region, which reflects the highest percentage of the population. Information on the Consumer Price Index is available online at www.bls.gov/cpi.

For More Information

If you have questions on gopher tortoise permitting please contact the gopher tortoise conservation biologist in your county.