Protected Habitats and Species

butterflyAre There Special Habitats Protected by the County?

There are six different imperiled or rare natural community habitats protected by the County. If these particular imperiled habitats are present on a particular parcel of land, a percentage of these habitat areas are required to be preserved in the development planning process.

Significant Natural Community Habitats

Sandhill and Scrub habitats occur on well-drained sandy ridges and rolling hills throughout the mainland portion of the County. These “Significant Natural Community Habitats” were at one time widespread, but most have been degraded or fragmented by timbering, overgrazing, plowing, or fire exclusion and have been converted to pastures, pine plantations, or residential and commercial developments.

The other four rare and imperiled habitats are found in sporadic areas along the coastline and include Maritime Hammock, Beach Dune, Coastal Grassland and Coastal Strand Communities.

For more information on these types of habitats, access the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Are There Specific Animals That Are Protected by the County?

All lands scheduled for development are reviewed for state and federal listed species prior to approval of the development.  Any listed species found on a particular parcel of land are protected in the County by applying the state and federal protection measures.  As well, bald eagles and marine turtles have specific protections in the Land Development Code.

Bald Eagle Protections - 4.01.10
Bald eagles have special exclusion zones for human activities out to 1500 feet from the nest location. The County monitors nesting activities for roughly 30 known nests located mainly along the St. Johns River and Intracoastal Waterway. Bald Eagle Nesting Season runs from October 1st- May 15th each year. Bald Eagle Nest Map

Marine Turtle Lighting - 4.01.09
In conjunction with lighting restrictions required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are also special exterior lighting requirements required by the County for marine turtles. These restrictions apply to existing and proposed developments affecting ambient lighting conditions on the beach.

Are There Any Protected Plants and Animals I Should Know About?

A list of plants and animals with special protections are defined by law and the appropriate state or federal agency with jurisdiction. In most instances, the County requires an environmental survey for the presence of protected species in the review of proposed land development activities.

State/Federal Listed Species Links

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services