Polk County Habitat Conservation Plan
Polk County is developing an HCP to provide a streamlined permitting process and regional approach to meeting the existing Federal regulations regarding protected species. Wildlands Conservation is assisting with this process; we have assembled a team of landscape ecologists and species experts with HCP expertise from several different state universities and Archbold Biological Station. Stay tuned for more information.
What is an HCP?
An HCP reduces conflicts between endangered species conservation and economic activities- such as development. The HCP provides a legal mechanism for permitting projects that will result in the ‘incidental take’ of federally listed species. The HCP describes the anticipated impacts to protected wildlife and how they can be minimized and mitigated.
What are the benfits to an HCP?
The HCP is designed to meet the needs of wildlife and landowners. It allows a landowner to legally proceed with an activity that would otherwise results in the illegal take of a listed species. It enables long-term planning and provides certainty for landowners.
An HCP enables us to plan for comprehensive long-term conservation. It ensures that impacts to species are minimized and mitigated. Habitat fragmentation and degradation is reduced and habitat can be preserved and restored.
A multi-species HCP, which covers all of the listed species, is a holistic approach to conservation. It provides various stakeholder groups and the public at large with a long-term strategy that is designed to ensure that both natural Florida and the economy can thrive. The benefits to this approach versus a piece-meal approach is that it enables us to plan our development around our natural resources, not vice versa.