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Natural Resource Experience across Florida and the Southeastern US

Dr. Exum has worked on conservation issues in every state in the southeastern United States with a particular focus in Florida. He has conducted natural resource inventories and wildlife surveys over hundreds of thousands of acres in Florida and across the Southeast. He has delineated wetlands and been involved with wetland functional analyses on thousands of acres and across dozens of miles of linear corridors. He has also provided ecological analyses in other selected states across United States, and in the Philippines and Grand Cayman Island.

Natural Resource Management Planning

Dr. Exum has led, or served as the principal ecologist on more than 50 natural resource management plans for local state and federal resource agencies. These have included every county in Central Florida, and extensive work across the state of Florida. In addition, Dr. Exum has created conservation and open-space plans for municipalities across the Southeast including Aiken, South Carolina, Jekyll Island, Georgia, Atmore Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina; wildlife conservation plans in West Tennessee and South Alabama; and industrial forest assessments covering hundreds of thousands of acres across the Southeast.

Environmental Regulations

Dr. Exum has led multidisciplinary teams to obtain environmental permits for private and public projects across the Southeast. These have included obtaining approvals through local, state and federal regulatory authorities, and included a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations affecting each entity. This has resulted in the approval of mitigation banks, conservation banks, adherence to Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act, NEPA policies and processes, and wetland regulations of Florida and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Environmental Policy

Dr. Exum has led the development of the environmental strategies for comprehensive plans for local governments such as Pasco, Seminole, Sarasota, Brevard, St. Lucie, Osceola, and Charlotte counties. These have included development of specific resource protection goals, policies, and objectives; as well as land development codes for these municipalities. Dr. Exum has testified in administrative hearings and sustained the changes to the Plans in Sarasota and Brevard Counties.

Conservation Group Facilitation

Dr. Exum specializes in the facilitation of technical working groups towards consensus or majority conclusions. These have included facilitating the technical working group towards the development of the Jekyll Island Conservation Plan, the Environmental Land Acquisition Selection Committee in Pasco County, Florida, and the advisory board of the Forestry Wildlife and Fisheries department at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Exum’s group facilitation work has been conducted to create a comprehensive’s conservation strategy for developers, the strategic plan for the Florida chapter of The Wildlife Society, and to create an outline of the management plan for the gopher tortoise technical subcommittee in Florida. He has also facilitated working groups for specific conservation projects for Sarasota and Miami-Dade Counties, and Aiken South Carolina. He has facilitated the development of natural resource management plans through working groups with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Suwanee River Water Management District, Porch Band of Creek Indians, and the National Park Service.

Wildlife Habitat Assessments

Dr. Exum has completed general wildlife assessments for birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians across the state of Florida. He has conducted specific surveys for breeding frogs in wetland systems from Pensacola to Osceola County, nighttime surveys for alligators, radio telemetry studies of wild turkeys and aerial surveys for the West Indian Manatee. He has assessed habitat conditions and assessed population densities over thousands of acres for numerous listed species including gopher tortoise, snail kite, Florida scrub-jay, and crested caracaras. Dr. Exum has had a particular focus on bald eagles, red-cockaded woodpeckers and sand skinks. His work has included long-term monitoring, relocation, technical publications, radio telemetry, and assistance with survey protocol used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Act permitting through state and federal agencies and the establishment of Conservation Banks.

Wetland Delineation

Dr. Exum has delineated wetlands on dozens of thousands of acres in numerous wetland types across the Southeast. These delineations have been conducted for clients such as the Walt Disney Corporation, Lockheed Martin, the Orlando Orange County Expressway, Authority, Lake Nona Corporation, and dozens of private development entities. Reviews of these determinations have been completed with local, state and federal regulatory agency representatives in order to agree on any site-specific methodology and to evaluate vegetative dominance, hydrology and soil characteristics. Notable projects have included 30,000 acres of wetland delineation for the Walt Disney Corporation, 8000 acres of wetland delineation for Lockheed Martin in Alabama and Florida, approximately 90 miles of remotely-delineated wetlands for beltways around Orlando, and delineations on private development projects totaling more than 20,000 acres in Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties, Florida.

Conservation History in the Wekiva Basin, Central Florida

Dr. Exum has been involved with conservation in the Wekiva basin for more than 20 years. He has served as president of the Friends of the Wekiva River for four terms, and still serves on its board of directors. He has been a guest lecturer on ecology and conservation policy at Rollins College, and organized Riverfests to celebrate the environmental value of the springs and rivers in the basin. He has led more than 100 scientists on “BioBlitzes” that have led to the identification of more than 2000 species of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates in the basin, many of which had not been documented until completion of the BioBlitz. He was asked to facilitate the Wekiva Trail working group and he presented an award to Gov. Jeb Bush for his efforts in the passage of the Wekiva River Protection Act.

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