Have you included gopher tortoise removal costs in the site development budget for you new custom home?
If your lot has any gopher tortoises living on it, this will likely end up being a line item in the budget for your new home.
These are the steps that need to be taken if you discover gopher tortoises on the lot you are about to build your new custom home on.
The first thing to understand about gopher tortoises is that you can get into big trouble if you attempt to relocate them or handle them on your own. They are a protected species and only approved environmental specialists are authorized to relocate or interact in any way with gopher tortoises.
Therefore your first step upon learning that you have gopher tortoises is going to be to contact an environmental specialist. In our case we chose to work with Jeff Harris of Harris Environmental. The specialist will then make a site visit to assess the situation and write a proposal.
You have a couple options when it comes to gopher tortoises. One option is to install buried silt fence that will separate the construction area from the habitat of the tortoise. If your lot is large enough this can be a good option. However, that still means that after construction is complete you will have tortoises living on your lot. In our case – with the horses – having a tortoise roaming around the horse turnouts and pastures, and the riding ring was not a good idea. Therefore, we chose to send our tortoises on a permanent vacation.
We chose to capture our tortoises and relocate them to a “reservation”. Yep, that is what is is called. If relocation is your best option, then your environmental specialist will set up simple traps in order to trap the tortoise and relocate it to the reservation. Once set, the traps need to be checked daily. In order for anyone else to monitor the traps the environmental specialist must provide training. I have been officially deputized (my word, not theirs) as a gopher tortoise assistant, which means I can also check on the trap daily. This is helping to keep the cost of the operation lower.
As for your lot site preparation budget on your new home, you should anticipate that relocating a single tortoise will cost you in the range of $1000-$3000, depending on which environmental specialist you choose, and what the available reservations are charging per tortoise. This is certainly a lot of money, but the bottom line is that dealing with the tortoise on your own can result in a big fine and big trouble for you for endangering a protected species. For more information on gopher tortoises in Florida click here.
For more information on site prep cost considerations for you new home, you might be interested in checking out our previous blog about Electrical Transformers. For more information on Charter Bay please visit our About Us page.
We are a boutique custom home builder, specializing in on-your-lot new home construction, and large-scale renovations throughout Tampa Bay, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. We have the experience to design and build every detail of your new home from start to finish; or if you prefer, we can partner with your architect and/or interior designer. In addition, we are a green certified custom home builder and have the experience to ensure your home is not only beautiful, but built on a foundation of the most current building science.