Goodbye to Dr. Bob Herrington
It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Dr. Bob Herrington, a longtime Gopher Tortoise Council officer and friend. Bob served as the chair of the GTC Research Advisory Committee for more than 20 years and was responsible for awarding Larry Landers Student Research Grants to undergraduate and graduate students whose research focused on Gopher Tortoises, their habitat and commensal species. His dedicated service to GTC and to tortoise conservation will not be forgotten and he will be missed by all of us who have had the pleasure of knowing him.
Gopher Tortoise Day………….April 10
The Gopher Tortoise Council has designated April 10th as a day for raising awareness for the gopher tortoise. Gopher tortoises are land turtles that shelter in long, single-entry burrows they construct themselves. Because these burrows provide homes to many other animals, the gopher tortoise is often referred to as a “Keystone” species. Biologists have discovered that gopher tortoise numbers are declining. Please keep an eye out for these special creatures. The gopher tortoise is a southern treasure, and one that needs our protection if we want to keep it. Please help celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day, Sunday, April 10.
Mark your calendar for the upcoming 38th Annual Gopher Tortoise Council Meeting
The Annual GTC Meeting will be held at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, Florida on October 7-9, 2016. Stay tuned for more details on the meeting agenda, lodging, social events, and field trips! (https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/ravine-gardens)
Recommendations for Solar Development: Minimize Impacts to Gopher Tortoises
As solar energy investments come to the southeastern United States, there is growing need for conscientious development of utility-scale projects in a manner consistent with environmental protection. Often, lands that are undeveloped and being considered for solar arrays are native habitats for protected species and support other valuable ecological resources. In keeping with the environmental benefits of solar energy, we urge the solar industry to consider conservation when moving forward with projects. We believe this awareness should apply broadly to all energy development, not solar alone; however, as the newest and emerging source of green energy in the Southeast best management practices relevant to solar development are urgently needed.
The following resources provide Voluntary Best Management Practices for the solar industry to minimize and possibly avoid impacts to at-risk species and habitats, like the gopher tortoise and sandhills. It is important to note that some states, such as Florida, have regulatory requirements for impacts to gopher tortoises and other wildlife on sites proposed for solar farm development.
The Minimum Viable Population Report has Been Released
We have the complete report, papers and discussions available for your reference.