Florida’s ecology is delicate and irreplaceable, which makes it a critical element in many engineering projects. The services that our environmental team offer include 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. We also 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 and routinely prepare listed species inventories and management plans, and conduct endangered species surveys, monitoring, relocations, and wildlife hazard assessments that may be needed to support State and federal permitting. Our team was recently tasked with coordinating with USFWS to evaluate the effects of a public park expansion in east Lee County on the Florida panther. Although located in a suburban area surrounded by roadways, residential and commercial development, the project is within the Secondary Zone of the USFWS-designated Panther Focus Area (Focus Area). Typically, projects located in the Focus Area are required to provide mitigation for impacts to panther habitat as part of the federal environmental permitting process. Our team analyzed various geographic information system (GIS) databases, habitat and land use mapping, and panther radio telemetry data from the past 18 years. We prepared a traffic impact statement (TIS), which estimated minimal project-generated traffic volume increases. Using the data assembled by our team related to project size, location, and analysis of traffic impacts, the USFWS determined the following, “…the Service does not expect the panther to be adversely affected by this project and no further consultation is required”. The USFWS decision that panther mitigation was not warranted for this project resulted in a cost savings to Lee County and its taxpayers of approximately $288,000.With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team has solid knowledge of the environment in Southwest Florida and what it takes to provide our clients with successful projects. If you need species management assistance on your project, contact Laura Brady Herrero, CSE with any questions at mkt@johnsoneng.com.