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Sarasota County, Florida

 

Project: Sarasota 2050 Conservation Planning
Client: Sarasota County, Florida
Principal Ecologist: Dr. Jay Exum led both the technical analysis and communications with environmental stakeholders for the Sarasota 2050 Conservation PlanFrequently our projects are a part of a larger-scale ecological context with a complex array of ecological issues. And more often than not, with these complexities come a variety of opinions on how to implement large-scale conservation plans involving multiple stakeholders, local governments and environmental interests. Engaging impassioned stakeholders on complicated projects affecting the natural environment is our specialty. We are inspired to lead and develop conservation plans that define future land use; prioritize land acquisition and conservation easements; and establish goals for public use and ecological restoration.

Assignment:

Create an Ecological Resources System that defines measures to protect natural resources in the Sarasota 2050 Comprehensive Plan.

Challenges:

  • Magnitude and complexity of creating a plan for conservation in a County with intense development pressure
  • Balancing the objectives of the County for planned growth and large-scale protection of natural lands
  • Litigious environment surrounding the Plan established early-on that there would be an Administrative Hearing after completion of our technical work

Primary Accomplishments:

  • Since the 2050 Plan update, the County has acquired land and easements now totalling over 65,000 acres that are managed for resource protection
  • Led communication with stakeholders and focus groups interested in economic development and resource protection
  • Determined the Greenway Spine methodology and conservation strategy with staff, resource agencies and landowners
  • Crafted Land Development Regulations to implement goals from the Comprehensive Plan
  • Accepted as an expert on Florida ecology, and conservation planning; successfully represented the County in an Administrative Hearing that upheld the 2050 Comprehensive Plan