Florida’s Biodiversity and Construction

Florida’s biodiversity is one the many reasons that make the state of Florida a beautiful and desirable place to live. Biodiversity is the variety of life in a specific ecosystem. The sunshine state is home to many flora and fauna that exist in many different ecosystems across the state and is one of the fastest growing states in the country.  Understanding how future development will impact Florida’s biodiversity is important to achieving sustainable growth.

In the process of beginning a new construction project; habitat destruction, disturbance, and fragmentation may occur. This activity can have minor or major impacts on the ecosystems in and around the surrounding areas. For example, animals that once inhabited areas where and near construction is taking place, may be forced to relocate and withdraw to areas that they normally wouldn’t inhabit.  This causes groups of animals that may otherwise depend on their family groups to be divided, thus lessening their chances of survival. When wildlife is forced to migrate from their native ecosystems their family system may become unhinged. It is important for developers and contractors to perform proper due diligence and ensure that the existing wildlife such as the Gopher Tortoise, Florida Scrub-Jay, Bald Eagle, Sand Skink, and others are protected.

In Florida, storms pose a real threat to our state.  Not only do Hurricanes create many challenges, we also have regular heavy rainfall in the summer that can cause problems with stormwater runoff.  When construction sites are not prepared with effective Best Management Practices before the severe rain events there can be an impact on biodiversity, in fact, runoff tends to create more problems than one realizes. Pollutants from the sites such as sediment, construction debris, and chemicals can enter waterbodies via runoff and create issues for the aquatic ecosystems and the wildlife that live in and around these areas. Disrupting the natural nutrient balance of otherwise undisturbed waterways can cause algae blooms, which are caused by excessive amounts of nutrients in the water. Recently, Florida was plagued with these blooms causing disease and increased bacteria levels that directly effects humans, animals, and aquatic sustainability. Contractors are required at a minimum to follow the guidelines set forth in the Florida Construction Generic Permit to help reduce the impact from the construction on active sites.

There are several preventable measures that can be taken to decrease the impacts of increased development. KCI works with developers and contractors to manage environmental complianceand stormwater management to lessen the impact on the surrounding areas. Biodiversity is important to our continued growth to help preserve our shared space. Contact us today for more information on how we can help with protection and compliance.

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