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Hillsborough County, FL

Project: Hillsborough County Conservation Lands Master Plan
Client:Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Land Management (CELM) Department
Principal Ecologist: Dr. Jay Exum served as the principal ecologist for the project and created the outline for management planning for nearly 80,000 acres of conservation land owned by the county.

Highlands County CELM needed a comprehensive management strategy for the 80,000 acres of land that the county had acquired through an ambitious acquisition program over the last 20 years. Limited staff and budget require a focused approach to achieve stated goals and objectives for restoration and management.

Assignment:

Teamed with Barth Associates, Exum Associates prepared a plan that tackles short-term needs and long-term objectives for County Conservation Parks, Preserves and Trails.

Challenges:

  • The 80,000 acres of conservation lands consisted of dozens of Conservation Parks and Preserves bought during even more individual acquisitions.
  • Creating a comprehensive master plan required redefining goals and objectives and prioritizing actions in the short and long term.

Accomplishments:

  • We defined Destination Sites for which targeted resource-based recreation would be prioritized.
  • We created a visitor capacity model that outlines the process for establishing Desired Future Conditions, Indicators of Success and monitoring protocol to assure a balance between conservation and approved recreation activities.