The idea of setting aside portions of public conservation lands to relocate gopher tortoises displaced by development is gaining more support.
The first such site in the state was opened in Polk County a few years ago near Frostproof.
More recently a section of land at Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland was set aside for orphaned gopher tortoises.
No the South Florida Water Management District has announced a plan to turn over a site in Highlands County at Fort Basinger near the Kissimmee River for a gopher tortoise relocation site in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee.
According to SFWMD officials, the site can accommodate more than 300 tortoises.
The relocations are occurring in connection with the agency’s continuing earth-moving work to restore the Kissimmee River and other work in the Everglades basin.
Gopher tortoises often dig burrows in the levees around previous construction projects.