Ecological & Environmental Consulting

EXPERTS IN

Ecological & Environmental Consulting

Florida’s ecology is delicate and irreplaceable, which makes it a critical element in many engineering projects. The services that our environmental team offers is ecological assessments, threatened and endangered species surveys habitat restoration, preparation of permit applications, mitigation design, digital image mapping and wetland determinations. Through careful planning, a balance between nature and man can be achieved, preserving the environment for future generations. 

 

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What We Provide

Our ecologists provide land management oversight, implementation and compliance monitoring for over 35,000 acres of conservation lands in Florida; making us highly qualified for biological monitoring and assessments of the diverse habitat and the flora and fauna of South Florida.

We have been conducting wetland assessments throughout Florida for decades on projects ranging from under one acre to more than 90,000 acres. Our ecologists routinely conduct jurisdictional determinations with the ACOE, FDEP, and state water management districts. Our team is trained in federal and state wetland delineation methodologies, including the 1987 ACOE wetland delineation manual and Florida Administrative Code 62-340.  

We navigate through ever-changing environmental regulations and wildlife agency requirements concerning threatened and endangered species and their habitats. We have assisted the USFWS and FWC in developing guidelines for development activities near nesting crested caracaras, bald eagles, and gopher tortoises. We have conducted environmental assessments for two prospective Florida panther conservation banks totaling more than 1,700 acres. We routinely prepare listed species inventories and management plans, and conduct endangered species surveys, monitoring, relocations, and wildlife hazard assessments.  

Our environmental team has experience designing successful mitigation areas through innovative approaches. We are able to pull from the expertise in our ecology, hydrogeology and engineering experts to design mitigation areas that meet their success criteria in a timely manner and hence quickly benefit the environment. We also provide the ecological services necessary to effectively monitor areas. 

Our team offers a broad range of services to marine and coastal projects (i.e. docks, boat ramps, dredging, coastal park amenities, boardwalks, dune restoration). We have experience in conducting the environmental surveys necessary for such projects. The information from these surveys is used to assist the client with project design and minimization of environmental impacts. Our ecologist’s knowledge of local, state, and federal rules and regulations related to marine and coastal projects, as well as good working relationships with various agencies staff, facilitates agency review of projects. If marine and coastal projects involve work on state-owned submerged lands, we are extremely familiar with the items necessary to obtain sovereign submerged lands authorizations.  

Our team of ecologists and GIS specialists has integrated the use of GIS when setting up and conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments to provide meaningful results to the airport. We also have the expertise to conduct Design Review, based on FAA regulations, for projects on and near airports to determine their potential contribution to the hazardous wildlife risk at an airport. Our ecologists have received FAA-approved training for the management of hazardous wildlife on airports. 

We offer our clients aerial drone services as part of our due diligence and to monitor the progress of projects. We have Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 107-Certified Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) certified pilots. Having an in-house drone pilot allows us to create cost-effective, high-quality drone-based aerial images and video, data for analysis, surveying, aerial mapping, and more. Our drones use a 12-megapixel camera mounted on a three-axis gimbal, which provides the stability and resolution required for high quality imagery and map production. Drone-based imagery and videos can be used for a variety of applications in the engineering, environmental, construction, mining and agricultural industries.

Using the latest ESRI ArcGIS software, we combine regulatory agency data with survey quality GPS-located field data for vegetation, land use and species locations. This allows us to produce project analysis and mapping for development project permitting and mitigation processes. We analyze this information using sophisticated GIS modeling techniques based on the most current regulatory criteria. This results in establishing the most environmentally sound and efficient development strategy. 

Ecological & Environmental Consulting Projects

Ecological & Environmental Consulting Team

Laura Herrero, CSE

Director of Environmental Services / Principal Ecologist

Laura joined the firm in 2000 and serves as director of the firm’s environmental consulting team, whose ecologists have more than 100 years of combined experience. As a certified ecologist, her duties include State and Federal wetland jurisdictional determinations, protected species surveys, habitat and species management plans, coordination and permitting with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), FWS Biological Assessments and Biological Opinions, wetland/listed species mitigation proposals and mitigation monitoring, Environmental Resource Permit and Federal Dredge and Fill applications, as well as follow-through to permit issuance and post-permit compliance. She is also an FWC Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent, Federal Aviation Administration Qualified Wildlife Biologist, and FWS qualified caracara observer with over 1,600 hours of caracara survey experience and 40 nests found to date.

John Curtis, CSE

Certified Senior Ecologist

John joined Johnson Engineering in 1997 as an ecologist and provides expertise in environmental consulting for many of the firm’s large public and private projects. He has extensive experience in all aspects of state and federal environmental permitting, including environmental impact assessments, conservation bank permitting for threatened and endangered species, listed species surveys and relocations, wetland delineations, wetland mitigation design, habitat restoration and expert witness testimony.  John is an Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent and Registered Agent for Burrowing Owls by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). In 2013, John met the qualifications established by the Board of Professional Certification of the Ecological Society of America to become a Certified Senior Ecologist. In 2016, John also met the education, training and experience requirements as stipulated under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular 150/5200-36A to be classified as a Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist.

David Ceilley, MS, CSE

Certified Senior Ecologist

David joined Johnson Engineering in 2013 as a Certified Senior Ecologist. David is also a Research Associate and Courtesy Graduate Faculty member at the Florida Gulf Coast University. David has three decades of professional experience in limnology, aquatic and wetland ecology, fish, wildlife, macroinvertebrate, and water quality studies. David was trained in the QA/QC protocols for State and Federal agencies (for drinking water, ambient water quality, extractions, bacteriological, bio-assay, radon, and bio-assessments) as Aquatic Biologist at Lee County and as Limnologist at the University of Iowa. David assisted in the implementation of a bacteriological source identification study of the Philippi Creek watershed for Sarasota County. As a member of the Johnson Engineering team, David routinely conducts benthic resource surveys, wetland delineations and functional assessments, mitigation monitoring, listed species surveys (inclusive of caracara and Florida bonneted bat) and permitting of aquatic restoration projects.

Gary Nychyk

Ecologist

Gary worked with Johnson Engineering from 2004 through 2006 as an ecologist. He rejoined the Johnson Engineering team in 2015. His duties include vegetation mapping, wildlife surveys, track surveys, protected species management plans, wetland jurisdictional delineations, and wetland preserve mitigation monitoring. Gary works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Lee County Port Authority, as well as local city and county government agencies.

Dr. Jennifer Korn, Ph.D, CWB

Wildlife Biologist

Dr. Korn joined Johnson Engineering in 2017 as wildlife biologist. She has extensive experience working with the federally endangered Florida panther, other protected species, as well as coordinating with federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners. She has given close to 100 outreach presentations to both professional organizations and the public on land management and living with panthers. She has been a certified wildland firefighter and is currently a certified burn boss in the State of Florida. She has authored almost $50,000 in research grants for her work on ocelots in Texas and received $5,000 in remote camera equipment funds for panthers from the Brevard Zoo. She provides clients with wildlife surveys, GIS analyses, habitat management plans, vegetation mapping, and wetland jurisdictional determinations. Dr. Korn is also an adjunct professor in natural resources at South Florida State College.

Greg Thomas, AE

Ecologist

Greg joined Johnson Engineering as an ecologist in 2015. He is a Certified Associate Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and focuses on permitting with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as well as post-permit compliance monitoring. As part of this work, Greg routinely conducts protected species surveys, vegetation and habitat mapping, wetland delineation, wetland functional assessments, piezometer installation and oversight, and crested caracara and bald eagle monitoring. Greg is a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent and is permitted to oversee mechanical excavation of tortoise burrows.

Kyle Philpot

Ecologist

Kyle is a Florida native who joined Johnson Engineering in 2018 as an environmental technician and is now an ecologist.  He routinely conducts listed species surveys, vegetation monitoring, wetland delineations, environmental assessments and report preparation. Before joining Johnson Engineering, Kyle worked for Biotech Consulting Firm in Orlando for approximately four years following his high school graduation. Kyle initially served as an exotic vegetation maintenance technician within environmentally sensitive wetland mitigation areas and later gained valuable experience conducting bald eagle monitoring, gopher tortoise surveys and relocations in accordance with applicable state and federal protocols.

David Isley

Environmental Technician

David a Fort Myers native who joined Johnson Engineering in January2017 as an instrument tech with the survey department.He then transferred into the environmental department in September 2017 assisting the project managers on species surveys, vegetation surveys, wetland delineations, monitoring, and reports. David is aCertified FAA drone pilot providing the firm and clients with aerial observation/reconnaissance for marketing and monitoring of project construction.

Contact any of our office locations by calling

our toll free number 1-866-367-4400

Fort Myers (Corporate Office)

Phone: (239) 334-0046
Fax: (239) 334-3661

Clewiston

Phone: (863) 805-0707
Fax: (239) 334-3661