Ecological Services


• Due Diligence/Ecological Site Assessments
• Wetland Delineation
• Protected Plant & Wildlife Surveys
• Wetland Quality Assessments (UMAM/WRAP)
• Functional Habitat Evaluations
• Wetland Mitigation Construction
• Wetland Mitigation Monitoring
• Wildlife Monitoring
• Gopher Tortoise Excavation & Relocation  Click here to see video of a Gopher Tortoise relocation
• Conservation Land Management
• Water Quality Monitoring
• Benthic & Seagrass Surveys
• Aquatic Habitat Management

 

Due Diligence/Ecological Site Assessments – Modica & Associates routinely conducts preliminary site assessments to identify ecological constraints (i.e. wetlands, listed wildlife) that may affect the entitlement processes of properties.Wetland Delineation – Our team conducts formal wetland delineations in accordance with Chapter 62-340 F.A.C. and with the Corp’s 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. Other tools used to conduct delineation may include historic aerial photography, soils maps and land use maps.

Protected Plant & Wildlife Surveys – Modica & Associates conducts formal, species-specific surveys for a variety of listed wildlife including, but not limited to: bald eagle, Florida scrub-jay, southeastern American kestrel, Florida sandhill crane, sand skink (pedestrian and coverboard surveys), gopher tortoise, grasshopper sparrow, caracara, snail kite and Florida black bear. All surveys are conducted in strict compliance with FWC and USFWS survey protocols, as appropriate. Formal surveys for protected species of plants are also available.

Wetland Quality Assessments (UMAM/WRAP) – Our staff are trained and skilled in applying the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) in accordance with Chapter 62-345 F.A.C. This state-wide assessment procedure is used to determine the quality of wetland impacts, and the amount of mitigation required to offset wetland impacts. Our qualified team can fulfill projects permitted prior to the adoption of UMAM that require assessment using the Corps’ Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedure (WRAP).

Functional Habitat Evaluations – Modica & Associates understands the UMAM and WRAP methods that were developed for wetland impact and mitigation assessment and how to apply them to uplands that may be considered for mitigation purposes. Modica & Associates, Inc. is skilled in applying these assessment methods to a variety of habitat types and recommending land management activities to create “lift” that results in increased mitigation value of the habitat.

Wetland Mitigation Construction – Modica & Associates coordinates grading and planting activities to construct wetland creation areas. We have supervised more than 2,000 acres of wetland creation within the last 20 years.

Wetland Mitigation Monitoring – Our team conducts both qualitative and quantitative monitoring for wetland mitigation areas. We establish monitoring transects, conduct quantitative vegetation monitoring plots, record photographic documentation and general wildlife observations as mandated by regulatory permit conditions.

Wildlife Monitoring – Modica & Associates conducts wildlife monitoring activities to document the nesting status of such species as bald eagles and sandhill cranes. We also conduct annual surveys to document the presence/absence of listed species and the extent of their territories, as applicable (i.e. scrub-jays).Gopher Tortoise Excavation & Relocation – Modica & Associates has FWC Authorized Agents on staff facilitate excavation and relocation of gopher tortoises. We coordinate the backhoe and operator, and use the hand-shovel method to assist in the excavation of tortoises from their burrows. Once captured, we mark, measure and weigh the tortoises and transport them along with any captured commensal species (i.e. eastern indigo snake, gopher frog) to an FWC approved recipient site.  Click here to see video of a Gopher Tortoise relocation.Conservation Land Management – Implementing Habitat Management Plans (HMPs) and other land management tools is often required by special condition of regulatory permits. Modica & Associates, Inc. coordinates for appropriate land management activities including, but not limited to: prescribed fire, rollerchopping, selective thinning, mowing and chemical treatment of nuisance and exotic species in both upland and aquatic habitats. These activities are typically conducted to maintain habitats in optimal condition for wildlife use.

Water Quality Monitoring – Many permits require implementation of a program to monitor the effects of development on the quality of downgradient wetlands, surface waters, and groundwater. Most environmental resource permits for limestone mining operations now require sampling and analysis of surface water within an active mine pit prior to and following each blasting event, as well as operational groundwater quality monitoring. Surface and groundwater quality monitoring plans are often required for golf courses and large scale developments of regional impact.

Modica & Associates is highly experienced in developing and implementing Water Quality Monitoring Programs for surface and ground water, including baseline monitoring, operational monitoring, and report submittal to the appropriate regulatory agency. Our staff maintains current knowledge of the FDEP’s Standard Operating Procedures for Groundwater, Surface Water, & Wastewater Sampling. An internal Quality Assurance (QA) Officer ensures that all water quality monitoring instrumentation is properly maintained and calibrated, and that all water quality monitoring plans are designed, implemented and documented in accordance with the FDEP SOP’s. We maintain a strong working relationship with several NELAC certified environmental laboratories that provide affordable, precise, and reproducible laboratory analysis results.

Benthic & Seagrass Surveys – Boat docks, boat ramps, fishing piers and other recreation facilities that encroach into shorelines of lakes, rivers and coastal waterways must consider the benthic and aquatic vegetation environment within the area. Modica & Associates conducts seagrass surveys to document the presence and extent of seagrasses within these environments. The health of aquatic systems may also be measured by the types and diversity of macroinvertebrates found in the benthic substrate. Using benthic sampling equipment (i.e. Ekman dredge), we collect a sample to identify macroinvertebrates within the sediment.

Aquatic Habitat Management – Modica & Associates provides management of aquatic habitats including wetlands, lakes and stormwater ponds for maintenance of nuisance and exotic vegetation, algal blooms and aesthetic vegetation plantings. Management can include chemical and mechanical treatment, removal of debris and supplemental plantings. We have staff members certified and licensed in Restricted Use Pesticides to facilitate aquatic habitat management practices. We also secure any necessary permits to allow for such management, including Aquatic Management Permits from the FDEP.