Silverleaf Plantation


Located in St. Johns County, Florida, Wolfe Plantation became a mixed-use residential and commercial development known as Silverleaf Plantation.  Formerly used for cattle ranching, agriculture, silvicultrue, and wetland mitigation, the site continues to develop into a clustered development.

ESI in cooperation with Nokuse Plantation, and The U.S. Humane Society completed the excavation of 1,198 gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows and the relocation of 468 gopher tortoises for a 7,500-acre development called SilverLeaf.

A species specific survey for the gopher tortoise and their commensal species was originally conducted in January 2005, on behalf of Whites Ford Timber and Investment Company, Ltd. An Incidental Take Permit application was sought and obtained (STJ-80) and in consideration of the takings, Whites Ford Timber and Investment Company, Ltd contributed $519,400.00 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

In May 2007, ESI requested to modify the above referenced permit to allow the off-site humane relocation of an estimated 468 gopher tortoises. Prior to initiating the relocation process, an updated species specific survey was conducted by ESI, between the dates of 15-23 April 2007. In total, 464 active burrows and 734 inactive burrows were identified prior to the relocation. In corporation with Nokuse Plantation and The U.S. Humane Society, 358 tortoises were relocated to the Carter Branch Tract Relocation Site at Nokuse Plantation. Of this total, 97 males, 99 females, and 162 juveniles were relocated.


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