If you have property that you are planning on developing, or obtaining development approvals, before March of 2019, in Lake, Polk, Marion, Highlands, Putnam, and portions of Orange and Osceola counties that meet the 3 criteria established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), i.e. location, soils, and above 80′ msl elevation, then you are required to conduct a survey for the Florida sand skink.
The survey is a two-tier approach. First, a pedestrian survey is conducted. This can be conducted any time of the year. If the results are negative, than a coverboard survey is initiated. You can only conduct the coverboard survey for sand skinks from March 1st through May 15th and the survey must occur over 4 straight weeks.
The USFWS requires the placement of 40 coverboards, 2’x2’x.50″, per acre. The boards are to be made of plywood or another similar rigid material. The coverboards should be allowed to acclimate for 7 days before the first sampling event. Each board is to be checked for signs of sand skinks a minimum of once a week for 4 straight weeks.
Following the completion of the survey, a report is prepared and submitted to the USFWS. The USFWS will issue a “Clearance Letter” if the survey was negative for the presence of sand skinks. The boards can be deployed at anytime.
Guest writer- Stillwater Enviromental