Ecological & Environmental Consulting


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 Brady Herrero, CE

Director of Water Resources & Environmental Services / Principal Ecologist

Laura joined the firm in 2000 and serves as director of the firm’s environmental consulting and water resources team, providing project management and oversight of large-scale public and private sector projects. As a principal ecologist, she continues to conduct:

  • 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)
    • - The 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
    • - Follow-through to permit issuance and post-permit compliance.

She is also an FWC Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent, Federal Aviation Administration Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist, and FWS qualified caracara observer with over 2,000 hours of caracara survey experience and 45 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.

Gary Nychyk, CE


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.

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, CE

Certifed Ecologist

Greg joined Johnson Engineering in April 2015. He is a Certified Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and focuses on environmental resource permitting (ERP) and State 404 permitting with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). His responsibilities include wetland jurisdictional determinations, wetland functional assessments, habitat mapping, and post-permit compliance monitoring. Protected species survey and monitoring efforts include Florida bonneted bat (FBB), crested caracara, bald eagle, Florida scrub jay, Big Cypress fox squirrel, and more.  Greg is both a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent (GTA-18-00018C) and Registered Agent (RAG-23-00021) and is permitted to oversee mechanical excavation and collapse of gopher tortoise and burrowing owl burrows. He has obtained permits for bridge replacement projects, horizontal directional drilling projects, road-widening projects, multi-family residential projects, and more.

Kyle Philpot, CE

Certifed Ecologist

Kyle, a Florida native, joined Johnson Engineering in October 2018.  His responsibilities include all aspects of SFWMD and FDEP environmental resource permitting and Section 404 permitting with FDEP and USACE, preserve management oversight, bald eagle management plan preparation and implementation, and park management plans for Miami‑Dade County. Kyle routinely conducts threatened and endangered species surveys, vegetation monitoring, wetland delineations, mitigation design, and listed wildlife species training for City of Cape Coral public works staff and contractors. Kyle is an FWC registered gopher tortoise and burrowing owl agent and is currently serving as a member of the Lee County Eagle Technical Advisory Committee (ETAC).

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.

Savannah Nease, CE

Certified Ecologist

Savannah is an certified ecologist who specializes in conducting protected species surveys, wetland jurisdictional determinations, mitigation monitoring, vegetation and habitat mapping, GIS analysis, species-specific monitoring and surveys, including gopher tortoises, burrowing owls, crested caracara and bald eagles, in addition to state and federal environmental resource permitting. Previously Savannah worked in environmental consulting for several years before she took a position with the Babcock Ranch Community. While there, she provided general oversight for 12,000+ acres of mitigation activities on-site and offsite in addition to managing wetland creation and exotic vegetation removal projects. She is a licensed drone pilot, a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager, and has her Commercial Applicator’s License in Natural Areas Weed Management and Aquatic Areas.

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