Big Bend Road PLAT Study

4.3 Environmental A desktop analysis using available online GIS data was utilized in the assessment of the existing environmental conditions of the study area. Figure 5 depicts the environmental conditions of the study area. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) Rare Animals and Rare Plants field guides, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) South Florida Ecological Services website, USFWS wood stork nesting colony database, USFWS National Wetland Inventory (NWI), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) May 2017 Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species List, FWC bald eagle nest locator database, FWC Florida Shorebird Database (FSD), Cornell University eBird database, Hillsborough County Current and Future Land Use, and FDOT Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS) were reviewed for protected species, and their habitat, that have been documented or have a potential to occur within or adjacent to the project limits. On June 7th, 2018, a field review was conducted to verify existing land uses and land cover within the project footprint, and to conduct a presence-absence survey for any listed species within the project study limits. Nearby wetlands consist primarily of riverine and lacustrine systems, and there are minimal amounts of freshwater marshes located on the northern and western portion of the project. There are two public lands: Vance V. Vogel Park and Golden Aster Scrub Preserve ELAPP located within and adjacent to the northern portion of the study area, which provide outdoor recreational opportunities and wildlife viewing. According to the most recent FEMA data published in 2018, the study area contains 384 acres of floodplains. Two state-listed species were observed indirectly interacting with the site during the time of the survey. A male southeastern American kestrel ( Falco sparverius paulus ) was observed perched on a powerline and hunting in the ecotone of nearby pine flatwoods. An adult Florida sandhill crane ( Antigone canadensis pratensis ) was observed foraging with a hatch-year juvenile in a grassy patch along the roadside. There is one active bald eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) nest (HL064) and one inactive nest located within one mile of the study area. The project is within the USFWS consultation area for the Florida scrub-jay and the Florida grasshopper sparrow ( Ammodramus savannarum floridanus ). Golden Aster Scrub Preserve ELAPP contains suitable habitat and the verified presence of state and federally-listed species such as the Florida scrub-jay ( Aphelocoma coerulescens ) and Florida golden aster ( Chrysopsis floridana ). Habitat for the Florida grasshopper sparrow also exists within the project study limits; however, there have been no recent verified occurrences of this subspecies near Hillsborough County. The project falls entirely within the core foraging area for one wood stork ( Mycteria americana ) colony. It is not anticipated that any listed species will be negatively impacted because of the project.


Hillsborough County • October 2019

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