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HISTORIC RESOURCES ADVISORY COMMITTEE _HRAC_

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					CONSERVATION LANDS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CLAC)
Joseph Carroll, Eugenia Chapter - Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) Heather Stapleton, Environmental Learning Center (ELC) Jens Tripson, Pelican Island Audubon Society (PIAS) Tim Glover, Friends of St. Sebastian River (FOSSR) Frank Wegel, FOSSR Alternate Doug Carlson, Indian River Mosquito Control District (IRMCD) Rich Wilson, IRMCD Alternate Jorge Rey, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) Sheila O’Connell, FMEL Alternate Ken Grudens, Indian River Land Trust, Chairman Peter D. O’Bryan, Commissioner Liaison

The CONSERVATION LANDS ADVISORY COMMITTEE will meet at 10:00 a.m. on WEDNESDAY, April 18, 2007 in First Floor Conference Room A of the County Administration Building, 1840 25th Street, Vero Beach. AGENDA
1. 2. 3. Call to Order Approval of February 21, 2007 Minutes Consideration of Biotech Consulting Proposal to Relocate Gopher Tortoises to the Wabasso Scrub Conservation Area Introductory Discussion on CLAC Participation in Review of Evaluation and Appraisal Reports (EARs) for the Conservation and Coastal Management Elements of the County Comprehensive Plan Status Report on Conservation Lands Management Activities Other Matters Adjournment

4.

5. 6. 7.

Cc:

Joseph A. Baird Roland DeBlois Misty Pursel

Michael C. Zito Ken Oristaglio Press

William G. Collins II Beth Powell

Robert M. Keating Scott Johnson

Anyone who needs a special accommodation for this meeting may contact the County's ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator at 226-1223, at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. Anyone who may wish to appeal any decision made at this meeting will need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which includes testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is based.

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CONSERVATION LANDS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CLAC)

The Indian River County (IRC) Conservation Lands Advisory Committee (CLAC) met at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2007, in the First Floor Conference Room “B” of the County Administration Building, 1840 25th Street, Vero Beach, Florida. Present were members: Chairman Ken Grudens, Indian River Land Trust Representative; Jens Tripson, Pelican Island Audubon Society Representative; Joseph Carroll, Eugenia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society Representative; Sheila O’Connell, Alternate University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory Representative; Rich Wilson, Alternate IRC Mosquito Control District Representative; and Heather Stapleton, Environmental Learning Center. Absent were members Doug Carlson, Indian River Mosquito Control District Appointee; Jorge Rey, University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory Representative; Non-voting Commissioner Liaison Peter O’Bryan (all excused); and Tim Glover, Friends of St. Sebastian River Appointee (unexcused). Also present was IRC staff: Roland DeBlois, Chief of Environmental Planning and Beth Powell, Conservation Lands Manager. Others present: Dr. David Cox, interested citizen and Reta Smith, recording secretary. Call to Order Chairman Grudens called the meeting to order. Approval of November 15, 2006 and January 17, 2007 Minutes Chairman Grudens pointed out in the minutes of January 17, 2007, in the last paragraph on page six, instead of Early Learning Coalition it should read Environmental Learning Center; on page two, the last paragraph should read “…the Florida Communities Trust (FCT)”, not …the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and at the top of page five, add the word “relocation” so the sentence would read “…map to the County for its use in future relocation opportunities”. In that same paragraph, Chairman Grudens also wanted to clarify, where it read “…Chairman Grudens mentioned it was the best likelihood…” instead of the word it, the sentence should read “…the North Sebastian Conservation Area” and add the words on County lands after the word tortoises.
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February 21, 2007

Chairman Grudens noted on page five of the November 15, 2006, minutes, under the first bullet, the third sentence should be overgrown grove, not oak grown grove as reported. Ms. Powell advised under the second bullet, it should read: “…management of existing native scrubs…”, and in the following sentence under the same bullet, it should read”: … delay management of existing native scrubs”. The third sentence under the second bullet should read: “Mr. Bowman advised he did not know much about the restoration of groves to scrub, but because scrub jays responded so strongly to habitat structure, the cleared grove would certainly attract them”. Chairman Grudens continued on page seven of the minutes of November 15, 2006, paragraph six should read “…stormwater pond area”…, not “stone water” as written in the minutes. On page eight, paragraph four should reflect the Committee’s title as “CLAC”, not LAAC as stated. ON MOTION BY Mr. Tripson, SECONDED BY Mr. Carroll, the Committee voted unanimously (6-0) to approve the minutes of November 15, 2006, and January 17, 2007, as amended. Update on Indian River Land Trust (IRLT) Gopher Tortoise Study at the North Sebastian Conservation Area (NSCA) Dr. David Cox gave a PowerPoint presentation, a copy of which is on file in the Commission Office. He explained he had tried to identify areas within the overall NSCA that would likely be suitable as receiving sites for relocated gopher tortoises, and these were numbered one through seven on a map. Dr. Cox pointed out the most promising site consisted of 11.8 acres with an existing fence and a wetland that acted as a natural fence, and it was thought tortoises could be transported there and be contained with minimal expense. He described the topography of the subject property and noted it was estimated there were 52 burrows, or 2.2 per acre, on the site. Dr. Cox advised when the GPS data was received this information would be updated and would give a more complete picture. Dr. Cox discussed some of the other areas that had been looked at for gopher tortoise relocation and talked about the plusses and minuses of each site. He referred to an excerpt from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) draft Gopher Tortoise Management
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February 21, 2007

Plan, contained in the backup and on file in the Commission Office. He suggested in the future it might be looked at complying with the FFWCCC methodology because we would have to coordinate with them and get their approvals in the long run. Chairman Grudens asked what the time frame was to get a complete report in order to make recommendations. Dr. Cox thought it would be available within the next month. A discussion followed about predator control and problems connected with raccoons. Mrs. Powell pointed out we would have to be very careful in trying to manage the NSCA for two species. She felt we should acknowledge the fact our first priority was whatever was best for scrub jays, and perceived a problem with maintaining herbaceous ground cover of 50% or greater. She noted we had to make sure we were only keeping the cover at 50% minimum for the scrub jays, because you had to have 30% open space. Mrs. Powell continued it was difficult to burn scrub every five years because often there was nothing to burn, and she did not want to get locked into something that would take away the County’s commitment to the scrub jays. Dr. Cox noted the FFWCCC Gopher Tortoise Management Plan was only a draft and they were open for comments. Mr. DeBlois advised the way the plan was written it was prefaced with finding optimum conditions, and he did not think there was any mandate to comply 100%. He felt it was important to make sure the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) understood there was some give and take, based on specifics of each site. Chairman Grudens suggested Mrs. Powell and Dr. Cox bring their issues to the next meeting for discussion before making a recommendation. A discussion ensued about environmental studies being done in connection with the widening of County Road 510. Mr. Tripson suggested having the County do surveys of the most desirable gopher relocation areas and leaving some of the more difficult areas for developers’ mitigation. Mr. DeBlois pointed out if an area was surveyed by the County and a developer came in five years later, they would have to do it again. He felt the County needed to do enough to account for any emergency relocation that might come up, but not go so far as to hire a consultant to do the work.

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February 21, 2007

A discussion followed. Dr. Cox thought it might be a good idea to list all public owned lands, including parks and airports, and devise a score sheet to identify and prioritize which lands should be surveyed first. He appreciated the shortage of staff time and resources, but was concerned about consultants with inaccurate estimates of gopher tortoises working with developers. Mr. DeBlois suggested conceptually thinking of a phased approach, with the first phase being County managed scrub lands such as the NSCA and Wabasso Scrub property, so it did not occur all at once but would be headed in the right direction. ON MOTION BY Mr. Tripson, SECONDED BY Ms. Stapleton, to recommend the County move ahead with in-house surveys of the highest priority suitable gopher tortoise habitat for use by the County and for emergency relocation. ON AMENDED MOTION BY Mr. Tripson, AMENDED SECOND BY Ms. Stapleton, the Committee voted unanimously (6-0) to recommend the County move ahead with inhouse surveys, including utilizing volunteers, of the highest priority suitable gopher tortoise habitat for use by the County and for emergency relocation. Status Report on Conservation Lands Management Activities Mr. DeBlois reported owners of a block of land to the northwest of the NSCA had approached the County to see if there was interest in purchasing 132 acres for conservation. He described the property and mentioned other areas the LAAC might be considering for future acquisition. Mr. DeBlois advised the County had succeeded in getting some hurricane grants from the Division of Forestry (DOF), and one of them was for restoration of the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA). He related the south ORCA link was being cleared of exotics and we were working on re-vegetation of the site. Mr. DeBlois stated another DOF grant

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February 21, 2007

was being used to replace cabbage palms at the Wabasso Causeway and a third grant was for hurricane replacement of trees at Harmony Oaks. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

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February 21, 2007