Vulcan Materials owns a more than 400-acre property in Lake Wales, Florida, along an elevated ridge that extends through the center of the state. The Lake Wales Ridge is characterized by scrub vegetation and sandy, well-drained soils that host wildlife and plant species found nowhere else in the world.
Several properties along the Ridge are cited on local, state, and federal land acquisition lists due to their rarity and species diversity. Environmental constraints include presence of the federally Threatened Sand Skink and Bluetail Mole Skink, the state-listed gopher tortoise and Sherman’s fox squirrel, and the federally protected bald eagle. Kleinfelder was charged with identifying feasible use options for the property that would benefit Vulcan Materials while conserving these protected natural resources onsite.
Kleinfelder experts worked with the client, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine the viability a sand skink species conservation and mitigation bank; to assess, permit, and approve the bank; and to sell natural resource “credits.” Kleinfelder staff also collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida to address long-term management and financing of the new Tiger Creek Conservation Bank management plan.
Vulcan Materials is generating revenue from the property by selling sand skink credits to mitigate offsite impacts to skink habitats. Additionally, Kleinfelder and Vulcan developed strong working relationships with federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as state and national not-for-profit conservation entities, that should facilitate and expedite future permitting efforts.