While this section of the website will tell you a bit about Gopher Tortoises, Scrub Jays, and the Florida Alligator, you can find more information on trees and the environment on our Tree Removal & Arborist Services page.
Gopher Tortoise Review Process
Gopher tortoises are one of Florida’s threatened species, which means they are likely to become endangered in the near future unless steps are taken to protect them. Referred to as a keystone species, tortoises have an enormous impact on the local environment.
The City of North Port’s Department of Public Works is proud to have created an incredibly successful Gopher Tortoise Awareness Program to educate residents on the environmental importance of gopher tortoises and their burrows.
Recognized as a leader in raising gopher tortoise awareness, North Port has introduced new technology and taken the necessary measures to protect gopher tortoises and help conserve the City’s environment.
Gopher Tortoise homes are common in North Port. Safely transplanting these animals away from development is a priority.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has put together additional information for Developers and Residents in the state of Florida to help protect these animals from interference and harm.
Property owners may need a relocation permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) if a proposed activity is within 25 feet of a gopher tortoise burrow.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Southwest Regional Office: (863) 648-3200
Scrub Jay Review Process
Florida scrub-jays are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Prior to conducting any activities that could disturb scrub-jays or their habitat, applicants for development orders are required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and provide documentation of such coordination to the County.
To determine if a property is required to coordinate with the USFWS, please search the Parcel Identification List(PDF, 304KB). Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) if the proposed development is located on a parcel included in this list.
Once a County building, earthmoving or tree removal permit is in process, USFWS reviews the proposal and identifies potential negative effects to the birds. If impacts are identified, strategies for avoidance, minimization or mitigation of these impacts are required by USFWS.
Please note that this parcel list may be updated from time to time. Further, coordination with the USFWS may be required if verified survey information, or County, State or Federal personnel observations indicate use of a parcel by Florida scrub-jays.
The Scrub Jay Lots Parcel Identification List shows a large number of parcels. To speed up your search and learn if your property is in a scrub-jay area, use the spreadsheet "search" key combination, which is Ctrl-f (hold down the control key and press the "f" key). When the dialog box opens, type in your PID number in the format given above and click the "Find Next" button. If your parcel is listed, the cursor will advance to its PID number.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Florida Ecological Services Office: (772) 562- 3909
Tip: The spreadsheet lists a large number of parcels. To speed up your search and learn if your property is in a scrub-jay area, use the spreadsheet "search" key combination, which is Ctrl-f (hold down the control key and press the "f" key). When the dialog box opens, type in your PID number in the format given above and click the "Find Next" button. If your parcel is listed, the cursor will advance to its PID number.
What to do if your property is in Scrub Jay habitat
In all areas, only lands that are occupied by the scrub-jay may need a Federal incidental take permit to clear lands or build. The City of North Port and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have provided a detailed survey of scrub-jay areas in North Port to identify where scrub-jays occur.
Property owners must contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service upon submission of a building permit. If your parcel is identified on this list please contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who will operate under the most current information available. In areas which Scrub-Jays are not an issue, a Federal permit will not be needed at this time.
The American Alligator
North Port has a number of American Alligators swimming through its various water ways.
Alligators are opportunistic feeders. Their diets include prey species that are abundant and easily accessible. Juvenile alligators eat primarily insects, amphibians, small fish, and other invertebrates. Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.
It is illegal to feed, injure, capture or keep an alligator. Be aware that these animals are around, while they are mostly docile take care that small children and pets steer clear of waterways as alligators can be a real danger to them.
For more information on Alligators please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Sarasota County is one of 13 counties designated as a priority protection site for manatees and is required by Florida Statutes to develop a Manatee Protection Plan (MPP).
The MPP reduces the likelihood of boat-manatee interactions. In accordance with the Manatee Protection Plan Implementation Code(PDF, 9MB), if a development proposal includes spaces for 5 or more motorized boats (wet or dry slips), a county MPP review is required. The MPP does not apply to single-family docks.
Manatees are also protected under:
There are bald eagles present within the Wellen Park community. Property owners may need a Federal bald eagle permit if development is planned within 660 feet of a nest. View information on Eagle Management on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's website.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
USFWS Migratory Bird Office for Permit Information
Invasive and Exotic Plants
Additional Contacts and Resources
South District Office (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Fort Myers)
Office of Beaches and Coastal Systems (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee)
(850) 245- 7669