Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide an assessment of a project on a regional scale. If you don’t have GIS software to use, there are a few online mapping programs available (examples below). These Web sites enable the user to zoom-in or out, turn on and off different layers, and import specific project boundaries. You will be able to view conservation lands adjacent or near your project area, wildlife species that have been documented, habitat communities, critical habitat and priority habitat zones, and other natural features. This gives you an idea of the natural features, habitats, and wildlife species that may be associated with your area and which may need to be considered during project planning. The identification of wildlife corridors is an important component of the GIS and mapping steps.
Data in GIS programs or online data sources are only valid for occurrences that are reported and often only documented from public lands. Although some of the wildlife information in GIS databases is collated from field observations, much of it comes from predictive models. Therefore, a field reconnaissance should be conducted to ground-truth the available GIS information collected. Species-specific surveys may be necessary by a qualified biologist following the general natural resource evaluation process. _________________________________________________________________________________________
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Southeast Watershed Assistance Network:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection:
Florida Natural Areas Inventory:
National Wetlands Inventory: Geodatabase
St. Johns River WMD: GIS and Data
Southwest Florida WMD: Data and Maps
South Florida WMD: Technical Data
Northwest Florida WMD: GIS Data
Suwannee River WMD: GIS Data
Disclaimer: The internet sites listed are a sample of external sources rather than a comprehensive list.