TAMPA, FL –Biological Research Associates (BRA), a division of ENTRIX, Inc., one of the largest natural resource management firms in the nation, today announced the successful completion of a gopher tortoise relocation project for Stiles Corporation. Seven tortoises were moved from a commercial tract being developed by Stiles in Hernando County to a new home in a nearby nature preserve.
“Knowing that doing the right thing is not always the easiest and cheapest way of doing business, Stiles Corporation chose to take the high road to protect the tortoises,” said Lee Walton, senior project scientist for Tampa-based BRA. “Even after fulfilling all the conditions set in the original permit, which included a monetary contribution to the Wildlife Resource Mitigation Fund for the acquisition of protected tortoise habitat, Stiles chose to go the extra mile and requested our assistance to ensure that the tortoises on-site would be relocated out of harm’s way.”
For several months, BRA surveyed and marked tortoise burrows on Stiles’ Villages of Avalon commercial tract in the Spring Hill area, in preparation for the relocation to the 2.5-acre Tower Island preserve, located within Manatee County’s Emerson Point Park.
“The Tower Island site, managed by Manatee County Conservation Lands Management Department, is a good home for the tortoises because it is a protected site with plenty of suitable habitat,” said Walton. “The site also has a nature trail to allow the public to view one of the state’s oldest residences.”
Once a safe and permanent new home was identified for the tortoises, a petition to amend the original permit was submitted to the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which granted the request.
In September, BRA safely excavated every tortoise burrow on the site. Some of the burrows were 20 feet in length and up to 12 feet below existing grade. All the tortoises were transported to the Tower Island site and released to their new home.
A full-service environmental consulting firm providing a broad spectrum of environmental services, Biological Research Associates provides innovative solutions in regulatory permitting, environmental assessment, natural resource management, ecology, GIS and other related services. BRA serves all of Florida, the southeastern United States, Caribbean, and Central America from full-service offices in Tampa, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Destin, Panama City, Vero Beach, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach, Florida. For more information, please visit www.biologicalresearch.com.
Stiles Corporation is a full-service commercial real estate development and investment company. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, the company has additional regional offices in Miami, Tampa, Ft. Myers, and Orlando, Florida. The company, with assistance from companies like BRA, is dedicated to its clients and the community. It is also responsible for more than 37 million square feet of office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use residential projects throughout the southeastern United States. For more information, visit www.stiles.com.