Gopher Tortoise Program
Revised Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines
Stakeholder feedback received during the public comment period held from April 20th - May 20th, 2020 has been incorporated into the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines. This draft of the guidelines was presented at the July 2020 Commission meeting. More information is available in the revised permitting guidelines flier, including a summary of the revisions made in response to stakeholder feedback from the public comment period.
Gopher tortoises are long-lived reptiles that occupy upland habitat throughout Florida including forests, pastures, and yards. They dig deep burrows for shelter and forage on low-growing plants. Gopher tortoises share their burrows with more than 350 other species, and are therefore referred to as a keystone species. In Florida, the gopher tortoise is listed as Threatened. Both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law. Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the FWC before capturing and relocating tortoises. For more information on gopher tortoise permitting, or how to get involved, please see links below.