If you have had to relocate to a gopher tortoise recipient sites from your project site recently, you’ve probably found that gopher tortoise recipient sites (protected lands the tortoises are moved to) are struggling to keep up with the demand and are quickly running out of space. Three years ago, it cost $750 per tortoise to move tortoises to a protected site. This month, we’ve seen prices exceed $6,000 per tortoise. Gopher tortoise relocation needs to be a significant consideration in your construction schedule, and WRA is now recommending starting the gopher tortoise permitting process 6-8 months prior to your estimated construction start date, to minimize the potential for delays. Relocation permits are valid for 1-year, so although an updated 100% survey will be required prior to relocation activities, this added cost will help avoid more significant timing delays.
WRA’s Environmental team has conducted numerous gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) relocations under the direct supervision of a FWC certified Gopher Tortoise Agent. Among the WRA Environmental team, 5 team members are Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents through the FWC with several more in the application process. A Gopher Tortoise Agent is permitted to do; surveying, trapping, excavation, marking, transporting, and relocating of gopher tortoises.
Gopher tortoises are a Florida keystone species and a State designated Threatened species. Habitat loss, fragmentation, degradation due to ongoing urban development is a major factor in species loss. Fire suppression is leading to less suitable habitat for gopher tortoise. Conservation efforts such as relocation and habitat protection are the major contributors to maintaining the species.
At WRA, we do our part for conservation by removing and relocating gopher tortoises to FWC permitted recipient sites throughout Florida. WRA does its part in ensuring that all gopher tortoises that are present within our projects are identified and safely relocated so that this species can be present for many generations to come.
Our expert relocation process starts with you. Please contact our office if you wish to proceed with or have questions about relocation of Gopher Tortoises on your land. Our team of experienced Environmental Scientists and gopher tortoise agents will be happy to help answer any questions you may have and to assist you with any gopher tortoise services you may need.