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Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR PROPOSED GOPHER TORTOISE PERMITTING GUIDELINES REVISIONS

Staff from the FWC have developed draft revisions for the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines and are seeking feedback from the public between August 24 and September 23, 2022.

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In 2020, the FWC implemented revisions to the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines.

NOTIFICATION ON ANNUAL CPI ADJUSTMENT TO MITIGATION ON CONTRIBUTIONS

Effective July 1, 2022, Annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments were made to all gopher tortoise permit mitigation amounts as outlined in the mitigation amounts table. This table is effective for complete applications submitted after July 1, 2022. 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.

Gopher Tortoise Permits

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.

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-permitted Recipient Site. Applications for Conservation permits are submitted via the online permitting system or to a Tallahassee and Regional Office.

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.

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. 

Incidental Take (I.T.) permits are no longer issued. If you have an existing ITP or are purchasing a property with an existing ITP and would like information on options for gopher tortoise relocation, please contact the Gopher Tortoise Team by email or call (850) 921-1029

More Information

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.

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.

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