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Background

Beverly F. Birkitt, M.S.
President, Principal Ecologist

     

Education
M.S., Ecology
Florida State University
B.A., Biology
University of South Florida

Expertise
Environmental Permitting
Environmental Impact Assessment
Mitigation Planning and Design
Mitigation Bank Development
Environmental Monitoring
Ecology
Wildlife
Water Quality
Expert Witness Testimony
Project Management

Certifications
PADI Open Water

Professional Affiliations
Tampa Association of Environmental Professionals
Florida Association of Environmental Professionals
Florida Mitigation Banking Association

Community Activities
Presenter, Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Short Course since 1989

Committee member, Manatee County ELMAC, 2001-2005

Florida Airports Council
Environmental Committee
2008-2012

Florida Aquarium – Board of Directors, 2009 to present

 

 

Ms. Birkitt has almost 39 years of experience in the environmental field including 10 years with state and local regulatory agencies and 10 years with a major international consulting firm. Her expertise includes environmental impact studies, state, federal, and local environmental permitting, NEPA coordination, and Section 7 Consultation, ecosystem restoration, project management, construction oversight, and regulatory compliance specializing in wetlands, wildlife, water quality, aquatic ecology, mitigation and mitigation banking. She has designed and permitted over 15,000 acres of wetlands restoration and creation projects throughout the state.

Experienced in management of large-scale development and construction projects involving multiple technical disciplines.
Proven experience in expediting state, federal, and local regulatory agency negotiations.
Acknowledged ability in construction monitoring and successful resolution of regulatory compliance issues.
Recognized expertise in wetlands restoration, mitigation and mitigation banking.
Qualified as an expert in wetlands, water quality, and environmental regulations.

Projects have included linear facilities such as: natural gas and petroleum products pipelines; roads and other linear projects; airports; residential and commercial developments; marinas and ports; municipal parks; wetland mitigation and mitigation banks; and storm water and domestic and industrial wastewater discharges. As Principal-in-Charge for all Birkitt projects, Ms. Birkitt oversees all client services and deliverables, ensuring quality results, timely completion, and adherence to budgeting constraints.


PROJECT EXPERIENCE

Commercial and Mixed Use Development:

Marketplace at Citrus Park – Costco – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for permitting and zoning support for a proposed commercial mixed use development on an approximately 32 acre site in Tampa, FL; includes the construction of a Costco retail anchor store, four (4) commercial outparcels, and one (1) small office building. Impacts to over 5 acres of disturbed forested wetlands are proposed. Birkitt prepared the Impact Justification Report for the Hillsborough County EPC including assisting the applicant with preparation of a pro forma and economic justification for the “reasonable use” assessment. Oversaw preparation of the environmental portions of the SWFWMD permit application and the USACE permit application. On-site mitigation design was completed and mitigation plans for on-site and off-site mitigation were prepared. Permits were obtained from the Hillsborough County EPC, SWFWMD, and USACE. Birkitt was responsible for construction oversight and compliance with permit conditions. Wetlands creation areas on-site and off-site mitigation areas have been completed. Birkitt will also be providing monitoring and maintenance services for wetlands mitigation areas.

Waters and Dale Mabry Retail – Wawa and Aldi – Hillsborough County, FL
Technical advisor assisting in negotiating mitigation for SWFWMD, USACE, and the Hillsborough County EPC for an approximately 5 acre Wawa and Aldi site in Tampa, FL. Mitigation options included mitigating out of basin or non-type for type. Construction is projected to start in Summer 2016.

Bloomingdale Multi-Use Commerce Center – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for the redevelopment of property in Hillsborough County to include a mix of uses including commercial retail, office, and residential which will allow for financial success of the property. Rezoning approval and an environmental permit are required from Hillsborough County and an ERP is required from SWFWMD. Construction of the proposed project will result in a total of approximately 0.95 acres of permanent impacts to the jurisdictional wetland hardwood forest habitat existing on-site. Birkitt is providing environmental site review and wetlands jurisdictional delineation and impact assessment. Birkitt is assisting in preparation of the Hillsborough County EPC Impact Justification Report including the “reasonable use” assessment and mitigation quantification and identification. SWFWMD ERP permits will also be obtained.

Harborview Marina Permitting and DRI – Charlotte County, FL
Project Director responsible for overseeing the Development of Regional Impact Substantial Deviation Application; state and federal permitting; and oversight of hydrographic modeling and marina design services. Project included residential development (single family, multi family, and townhouses), a hotel, commercial and retail space, and a 20 acre marina basin along the Peace River of Charlotte County, Florida. Environmental consulting services included environmental permitting assessments, threatened and endangered species evaluations, and biotic community assessments which were conducted to aid in the marina design and project coordination with other consulting and engineering firms. Responsible for coordination with state and federal wildlife resource and regulatory agencies and Section 7 consultation. Marina operations were designed to be consistent with the FDEP’s Clean Marina Program.

The Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary – Taylor County, FL
Project Director and Manager for environmental and permitting services and project coordination for The Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary Project on a 3,700-acre parcel along the coast of Taylor County near Keaton Beach, Florida. Providing oversight of project and team coordination regarding environmental permitting, wildlife consultation, and associated design activities. Wetlands jurisdictional delineation, threatened and endangered species assessment, and site planning assistance have been provided. Wetlands and seagrass impact assessment and conceptual mitigation plans were developed. Project has been re-designed as an environmentally sensitive, “green” development focused on nature. A previously proposed marina and golf course has been eliminated from consideration. An ERP has been issued and the USACE Section 404 Permit application is pending. A detailed alternatives analysis was prepared for the USACE. Saltmarsh and freshwater mitigation plans were developed and approved by the Suwannee River Water Management District.


Residential Development:


Fountains at Falkenburg, EPC Permitting – Hillsborough County, FL

Principal Consultant providing environmental consulting support to the project team in meetings with the Hillsborough County EPC order to obtain entitlements for an affordable housing development with a commercial development outparcel located at the corner of south Falkenburg Road and Camden Field Parkway. The project involved wetland jurisdictional determination, listed species survey, justification of wetland impacts and extensive coordination with the Hillsborough County EPC in demonstrating reasonable use of the property.

Aristocrat Apartments (Jai Lai Site) – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for a proposed residential development on a previous landfill site in Hillsborough County. Birkitt coordinated with the Hillsborough County EPC regarding the unique nature of wetlands located in the landfill area and the approach to “reasonable use” justification for wetlands impacts. Birkitt conducted wetland delineations and negotiated permits from the SWFWMD, Hillsborough County EPC, and the USACE. Appropriate mitigation was negotiated and all permits were obtained.

Multiple due diligence reviews- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco Counties, FL
Project Director providing reviews of property proposed for development including wetlands and wildlife surveys, identification of constraints for site design, and identification of permitting strategies and mitigation options as needed.


Industry:


Champion International Corporation (International Paper) – Escambia County, FL
Project Director for services including conducting an environmental assessment for Champion International Corporation’s proposed preliminary design, and environmental permitting for an effluent pipeline to the Escambia River in north Florida. Additional services included threatened and endangered species surveys, wetlands delineation, and cultural resources review.

Foley Cellulose Effluent Pipeline – Taylor County, FL
Project Director for USACE 404 (d) permit reauthorization for the approximately 15-mile Foley Cellulose (previously Buckeye Florida) effluent pipeline. Services included field surveys; wetlands, seagrass, and wildlife assessments; preparation of USACE Section 10/404 permit application; development of mitigation plan; and permitting negotiations. A Biological Assessment (BA) was prepared for in-water work to ensure protection of sea turtles, manatees, and other protected species. Coordination with NMFS Habitat Conservation Division regarding seagrasses and Protected Resource Division, USFWS, and the USACE is required.

Buckeye Florida Effluent Pipeline – Taylor County, FL
Project Manager and technical lead for field surveys for wetlands, protected species, and cultural resources for an approximately 15-mile effluent pipeline from the existing mill to the mouth of the Fenholloway River. The project was designed to ensure compliance with state Class III water quality standards in the Fenholloway River. Permits from the FDEP and USACE were obtained. An administrative hearing was conducted prior to issuance of the state permit.


Restoration:


Rivergarden Park Shoreline Restoration – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for approximately 2,500 linear feet of shoreline restoration and stabilization at a City of Tampa park on the Hillsborough River. Oversight of engineering design and development of shoreline restoration and planting plans was provided. Community meetings were held to obtain input from adjacent neighborhoods. The project was partially funded through the SWIM program of SWFWMD. Construction has been completed.

Alligator Lake Habitat Restoration – Pinellas County, FL
Project Director for a multi-faceted 35 acre restoration project funded by Pinellas County and the SWFWMD. Project objectives include enhancement, restoration, and/or creation of wetlands and uplands to improve water quality and wading bird habitat in upper Tampa Bay. Services included management of team of engineers, surveyors, geotechnical consultants, and biologists. Design and construction management services are also included. Permits have been issued and construction is underway. Construction oversight was provided and construction is complete.

Isolated Wetlands Restoration and Creation Project – Lake Okeechobee, Lemkin Creek
Project Director for a three year program initiated by the SFWMD to design and construct isolated wetlands restoration projects to reduce phosphorous loadings into Lake Okeechobee. The project involves coordination with landowners, assessment of onsite biological and hydrological conditions, alternatives evaluation, hydrological modeling, environmental and engineering design, and development of a wetland management plan to be implemented by the landowners. Delineation of an easement boundary and surveying are also required. The first phase under this project was restoration of a 400 acre site on the Kirton property. Construction oversight was provided and the construction has been completed. A second wetlands restoration project, Lemkin Creek, approximately 80 acres in size was also completed.

FAA QM8 Restoration and Post-Construction Monitoring – Miami-Dade County, FL
Project Director for the construction management and oversight of an 80-acre wetland restoration in Miami, FL. The project included removal of invasive exotics and non-native species through mechanical excavation and herbicide treatment. Targeted species include those species on the Florida Exotic Plant and Pest Council’s (FLEPPC) list and the Department of Environmental Management’s (DERM) prohibited and controlled plants list, and agricultural planted crops of papaya, okra, sugarcane, and yucca. Additionally mulch and rock piles were removed. Restoration activities have been completed and ecological monitoring and continued maintenance of the restored site is ongoing.


Mitigation Banking/Mitigation:


Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank – Hillsborough County, FL
Partner and principal ecologist in development of Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank (TBMB) providing permitting and environmental design services. Project includes the restoration of Andrew’s Creek headwaters and restoration, creation, and enhancement of freshwater and estuarine wetlands on a 160-acre site in southern Hillsborough County. Responsibilities included preparation and negotiations of ERP, freshwater and wetlands design, conducting WRAP functional assessment methodology and coordination with federal Mitigation Bank Review Team. All permits have been issued for the bank. Construction has been completed. The estuarine area was planted in 2008 and the remainder of the site has been planted with native freshwater and uplands species. The bank was determined fully successful by state and federal agencies in 2012 and is currently selling credits.

Renegade Creek Mitigation Bank – Osceola County
Project Director for re-assessment of technical and regulatory feasibility for establishment of a previously proposed mitigation bank in Osceola County, FL. The mitigation bank originally proposed in 2008 included the restoration of 1,463 acres of upland and wetland habitats through hydrological improvements, exotics/nuisance species treatment, and planting of native species. Communication with SFWMD and the USACE has been re-established to determine outstanding issues and procedures for obtaining the bank approvals. The assessment of technical and regulatory feasibility includes site work, revision to the proposed restoration plan, preliminary credit generation, justification of the Mitigation Service Area (MSA), and action needed to obtain the state and federal approvals.

San Pedro Bay Mitigation Bank – Taylor County, FL
Project Director for wetland restoration and development of a 7000-acre mitigation bank in San Pedro Bay, Taylor County, Florida including design of the enhancement and restoration plan, preparation of permit applications, and negotiations with state and federal agencies. The project included WRAP analysis and establishment of mitigation credits working with the FDEP, USACE and federal Mitigation Bank Review Team. Extensive studies of ecological and hydrological conditions on the site, development of restoration conditions and negotiation of appropriate methods for measuring ecological and hydrological enhancement were conducted. The state Mitigation Bank Permit and all federal approvals for the site have been issued and the implementation of the project has been completed in two phases. Vegetative and hydrological monitoring are continuing.

Osprey Unit Mitigation Bank – Polk County, FL
Birkitt Environmental Services, Inc. is providing environmental and mitigation bank consulting services for the proposed Osprey Unit Mitigation Bank (OUMB) located in Polk County, FL. The Bank site contains a mosaic of upland, forested wetland, and herbaceous wetland habitats, a natural lake and large and small borrow lakes. OUMB is located within an area designated by the State as the Conservation Core district of the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern. The Bank is proposed to provide freshwater compensatory mitigation credits to both public and private entities within the proposed Oklawaha and Palatlakaha River Mitigation Service Area (MSA). Birkitt has developed a plan to both preserve and enhance approximately 228 acres of existing freshwater forested wetlands and 94 acres of existing freshwater herbaceous wetlands. In addition, 33.4 acres of small borrow lakes and 129.7 acres of a large borrow lake will be enhanced as well as 26.9 herbaceous wetlands created, and 60.9 acres of upland pasture planted as native upland buffers. Coordination with the SWFWMD was initiated and a prospectus was prepared and submitted to the USACE. A Letter of Potential for the mitigation bank has been received.

Easter Mitigation Bank – Pinellas County, FL
Project Director for establishment and permitting of a 101 acre mitigation bank for Clearwater Christian College in Pinellas County. The proposed mitigation bank includes hydrological restoration of a degraded portion of Upper Tampa Bay with anticipated improvements in water quality and benthic community structure. Services include continuing business development assessment and preparation of SWFWMD and federal permit and Mitigation Bank Instrument applications and on-going agency negotiations. Coordination with Pinellas County and Agency on Bay Management is also underway. Unique evaluation of the use of sovereign submerged lands and credit generation outside privately owned lands requires coordination with senior policy makers at FDEP. Due to challenges with the required dredging of sovereign submerged lands, the project was withdrawn.

Easter Mitigation Bank Feasibility Study – Pinellas County, FL
Project Director providing ecological services for a feasibility study for the establishment of mitigation bank adjacent to the Clearwater Christian College campus in Clearwater, Florida. Responsible for assisting in review of three conceptual designs for a comparison of ecological improvements and anticipated costs, and then selecting one design to be used for further assessment, taking into consideration permitting feasibility, credit assessment and costs for develop and operate the proposed mitigation bank. Prepared a detailed analysis of potential permitting issues, assessing the proposed mitigation bank’s ability to meet local, state and federal criteria for mitigation banks. Utilized the UMAM to perform preliminary assessments of the existing and proposed restored site conditions to determine what credits could be available with the proposed bank. Prepared a pro forma analysis and assessment of business development opportunity.

Southern States - Corbett Mitigation Bank – Palm Beach County, FL
Project Director for the development of a unique mitigation bank concept at the Corbett Wildlife Management Area (Corbett) in South Florida. The project was a joint venture between Southern States Land and Timber LLC (SSLT) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The concept for establishment of the bank at Corbett was based on SSLT’s conveyance of its property rights of ingress and egress to mine, drill, or explore for oil and gas and enhancement opportunities of specific areas within Corbett. Additionally, the bank includes implementation of ecological enhancement activities within a specified area of Corbett. Researched and prepared a feasibility study including a preliminary pro forma and market demand evaluation of a bank in the South Florida Region. Conducted habitat, vegetation, nuisance-exotic species, wildlife, and threatened and endangered species assessments across 14,200 acres. Prepared and submitted a Prospectus to the USACE and an ERP Mitigation Bank permit application to the FDEP. Coordinated and led a site visit of the IRT team and FDEP reviewer to the site. Initially the proposed bank encompassed over 50,000 acres; then was reduced to a 2,400 acre site for initial focus. Key issues included legal and management issues related to the public/private partnership, ORV impacts associated with hunting activities, and site assessment methodology. Applications were withdrawn due to legislative changes affecting use of conservation lands for mitigation banks and need for public access and lack of restrictions on ORV use in wetlands.

Southwest Florida Water Management District – Property Valuation – Hillsborough County, FL
Conducted an extensive analysis of a proposed wetland mitigation bank on 2,500 acres in Hillsborough County, Florida for property valuation as part of expert witness testimony and litigation assistance. Included in the analysis were the technical feasibility of wetlands restoration and mitigation bank development, permitting feasibility, credit assessments utilizing Wetland Rapid Assessment Procedures, costs to develop, market demand, and credit values of the proposed mitigation bank. This analysis was instrumental in the resolution of an eminent domain case. A pro forma for potential Return on Investment was prepared.

Port Tampa Bay – Seagrass and Oyster Mitigation - Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for development and permitting of replacement seagrass and oyster mitigation projects for the dredging of Berth 150. The original mitigation projects were determined to be unsuccessful. Birkitt identified potential areas for seagrass and oyster mitigation. Three potential seagrass mitigation/recipient areas were surveyed to select the most appropriate areas for seagrass mitigation. Potential areas for oyster mitigation were also identified. Coordination with the USACE, FDEP, and Hillsborough County EPC is underway. Permit applications have been submitted to all three regulatory agencies. Birkitt submitted an ERP modification application to the FDEP which included a UMAM analysis, proposed seagrass transplantation methods, monitoring methods and success criteria. Coordination with the Hillsborough County EPC and the USACE is also being conducted to receive approval of the alternative mitigation projects.


Energy:


Bluebird Solar Farm – Lakeland, FL
Project Director for environmental and permitting services for a 6.5-megawatt Bluebird Solar Farm project in Lakeland, FL. Services for the 54-acre site consisted of environmental due diligence, including pre-application meetings with the USACE and the FDEP. They also included state and federal wetland jurisdictional delineation and agency verifications, and protected species surveys. Based on the results of the due diligence assessment, Birkitt assisted the client in redesigning the site in order to avoid impacts to state and federal jurisdictional wetlands. Bluebird Solar Farm was constructed in February 2015.

Goldfinch Solar Farm – Lakeland, FL
Project Director for environmental and permitting services for the Goldfinch Solar Farm project in Lakeland, FL. The 3.15-megawatt solar farm is located on 30 acres adjacent to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Services included due diligence review, delineation of state and federal jurisdictional wetlands, protected species survey, and negotiations with the FDEP and the USACE to obtain permit approvals. Additionally, a state protected species, the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus), was found on the site and Birkitt conducted the necessary surveys, obtained relocation permits and successfully relocated gopher tortoises from the site to an approved conservation bank. Goldfinch Solar Farm was constructed in October 2015.

Kingfisher Solar Farm – Lakeland, FL
Project Director for permitting services for the Kingfisher Solar Farm site located in Lakeland, FL. A wetlands jurisdictional delineation and protected species survey was conducted and state and federal permit applications were prepared in conjunction with the project developer and engineer. A FDEP ERP and USACE Nationwide Permit were obtained. A Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus) survey was also conducted on the project site.

Lakeland Electric – Polk County, FL
Provided quality assurance reviews for an environmental assessment of three alternative routes for a new 69kV transmission line in Lakeland, FL. The environmental assessment included identifying wetlands and protected wildlife species and/or their habitat and reporting on the environmental permits and mitigation that could be required based on potential impacts to these resources. Selection of the route alternative is underway.

Port Dolphin Natural Gas Pipeline – Hillsborough and Manatee Counties, FL
Project Director providing environmental consulting services necessary for obtaining environmental permits (state, federal, and local), preparation of FERC Resource Reports, and assisting in environmental aspects of a 36 inch diameter natural gas pipeline approximately 42 miles in length for the Port Dolphin Pipeline System. Initial services included consultation on state and federal permitting for nearshore and land-side segments. Current focus is on land-side permitting of wetlands impacts and development of a mitigation plan. The pipeline would begin at an offshore deep water port in the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall at Port Manatee in Southwest Florida, and connecting landward to the TECO and Gulfstream Natural Gas interchange. The project involves issues including impacts to hardbottom habitat and potential impacts to wetlands. The project requires extensive coordination with regulatory agencies, resource and planning entities, local governments, environmental groups and other special interest groups.

Gulfstream Natural Gas Pipeline – Hillsborough and Manatee Counties, FL
Project Manager responsible for environmental permitting (state, federal, and local) for the Florida portion of a 753 mile natural gas pipeline for Gulfstream Natural Gas System, utilizing the “team permitting” approach. The 24 – 36 inch diameter pipeline crosses the Gulf of Mexico, entering Florida at Port Manatee in Tampa Bay and extending across the state. The project involved issues associated with nearshore coastal waters in Manatee and Hillsborough Counties, the phosphate mining district, Lake Wales Ridge ecosystem, Kissimmee River Restoration Project, and wetlands and waterbodies throughout the onshore route in central and south Florida. The project required extensive coordination with over fifty agency representatives including regulatory agencies, resource and planning entities, local governments, environmental groups, and other special interest groups utilizing the team permitting process. Responsibilities also included preparation of the draft Team Permitting Agreement involving more than 15 regulatory agencies and local governments and a petition for a variance from water quality standards. Section 7 consultation was required for protected species along the route. Permitting responsibilities included ERP (FDEP), Section 10/404 Permit (USACE) for offshore, nearshore, and onshore portions of the pipeline, a Marine Construction Permit and public easement for the Tampa Port Authority, and approval from the Hillsborough County EPC. Numerous public coordination meetings were held across the state and an extensive effort to identify locally recommended mitigation sites was made. Educational and public coordination materials were prepared. Over 100 potential mitigation sites were identified for consideration. Site selections from this list were based on criteria that included environmental quality and habitat characterization, land availability, restoration opportunities, and public benefits.

Calypso Natural Gas Pipeline – Broward County, FL
Provided environmental project management services to obtain environmental permits (state, federal, and local), assisting in the preparation of FERC Resource Reports, and assisting in all environmental aspects of a 95 mile natural gas pipeline project for the Calypso Pipeline System. The pipeline would begin at a LNG facility in the Bahamas and cross the Atlantic, making landfall at Port Everglades in Southeast Florida. The project involves issues associated with nearshore coastal waters, impacts to coral reefs and traversing John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. The project used a “coordinated” permit process, which required extensive coordination with regulatory agencies, resource and planning entities, local governments, environmental groups and other special interest groups. The state ERP and submerged lands easement, the Broward County EPC Environmental Resource License and the FERC certification (CPCN) were negotiated. Approval from the Governor and Cabinet was required for the ERP and submerged lands easement. Comments were provided for the federal EIS prepared by FERC and MMS. Project included extensive coordination with the USACE for the Section 10/404, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Environmental Consulting Services for FGT Phase VIII – Various Counties, FL/AL
Project director providing project management oversight for a linear project involving 580 miles of pipeline through Alabama and Florida. Services included wetlands and protected species surveys of pipeline right of way; Rapanos federal wetlands jurisdictional assessments for over 1000 wetlands; oversaw preparation of UMAM documentation for all wetlands, and identification of wetlands mitigation banks that could be utilized for wetlands impacts. Determined approved state and federal methodology for protected species surveys. Supported in developing permitting and mitigation strategies.

Vegetation Monitoring for FGT Phase IV, V, VI Pipeline Routes – Various Counties, FL/AL/MS
Project Director for monitoring (2001-2008) of over 500 wetlands along a 270 mile pipeline right-of-way for compliance with FDEP, USACE, and FERC permit and certification conditions. The project involves conducting the monitoring events following construction of the natural gas pipeline from Tampa to Ft. Myers. It also included pipeline segments in north Florida and Mississippi. Monitoring reports were prepared for submittal to the regulatory agencies. Coordinated with state, federal, and local agencies regarding release of wetlands from monitoring and other compliance issues.

Energy Project – Confidential – Lakeland, FL
Project Director for a due diligence environmental assessment for a potential energy-related project in Lakeland, FL. The assessment included identifying wetlands and protected wildlife species and/or their habitat. Responsibilities included reporting on the environmental permits required, identifying potential mitigation available and associated costs, and providing an evaluation of permitting feasibility of wetlands for a project that included development of a major reservoir system.


Parks and Recreation Areas:

Wesley Chapel District Park/Boyette Park – Pasco County, FL
Project Director providing environmental consulting services to assist in development of the Master Plan for Boyette Road Park. Services included the assessment of jurisdictional wetlands and threatened and endangered species surveys to determine if mitigation would be needed to construct the project. Responsible for coordinating with regulatory agencies to meet permitting constraints for the completion of the recreational park in Pasco County.

Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex Site – Pasco County, FL
Project Director responsible for managing field staff in the approximately 40 acre field assessment for the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex Expansion. Threatened and endangered species surveys, including the review of gopher tortoise habitat and other wildlife habitat, were conducted for this project. Coordinated with the SWFWMD to obtain jurisdictional wetland delineations approval.

Shimberg Soccer Complex Expansion Project – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director responsible for overseeing field assessments to determine potential impacts to wetlands, listed plant and animal species, or critical habitat for the expansion of the Shimberg Sports Complex consisting of the addition of several soccer fields for Hillsborough County. Threatened and endangered species surveys, specifically gopher tortoise assessments, and wetland surveys were conducted. Coordinated with the Hillsborough County EPC for approval of wetland impact justification report and mitigation plan.

South Tampa Greenway Trail Development – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) survey/assessment for selected sections of the proposed City of Tampa Greenways and Trails – South Tampa Greenway. The project involved construction of a bicycle and pedestrian path and included the requested NEPA analysis for construction. Coordination services with the City of Tampa and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) were also provided.

Fishhawk Sports Complex – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director overseeing all gopher tortoise surveys conducted on the approximately 70 acre Fishhawk Sports Complex site. Reviewed all ecological reports detailing descriptions of gopher tortoise survey findings and included technical specification options for the relocation and/or taking of the identified gopher tortoise. Necessary permitting requirements as required by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were also provided. Options for potentially impacted gopher tortoises included avoidance options and required buffers for gopher tortoise burrows, mitigation options/gopher tortoise habitat protection options (on-site and off-site) and relocation options.


Marine/Seagrass:


Harborview Marina Permitting and DRI – Charlotte County, FL

Project Director responsible for overseeing the Development of Regional Impact Substantial Deviation Application; state and federal permitting; and oversight of hydrographic modeling and marina design services. Project included residential development (single family, multi family, and townhouses), a hotel, commercial and retail space, and a 20 acre marina basin along the Peace River of Charlotte County, Florida. Environmental consulting services included environmental permitting assessments, threatened and endangered species evaluations, and biotic community assessments which were conducted to aid in the marina design and project coordination with other consulting and engineering firms. Responsible for coordination with state and federal wildlife resource and regulatory agencies and Section 7 consultation. Marina operations were designed to be consistent with the FDEP’s Clean Marina Program.

The Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary – Taylor County, FL
Project Director and Manager for environmental and permitting services and project coordination for The Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary Project on a 3,700-acre parcel along the coast of Taylor County near Keaton Beach, Florida. Providing oversight of project and team coordination regarding environmental permitting, wildlife consultation, and associated design activities. Wetlands jurisdictional delineation, threatened and endangered species assessment, and site planning assistance have been provided. Wetlands and seagrass impact assessment and conceptual mitigation plans were developed. Project has been re-designed as an environmentally sensitive, “green” development focused on nature. A previously proposed marina and golf course has been eliminated from consideration. An ERP has been issued and the USACE Section 404 Permit application is pending. A detailed alternatives analysis was prepared for the USACE. Saltmarsh and freshwater mitigation plans were developed and approved by the Suwannee River Water Management District.

Port Tampa Bay – Seagrass and Oyster Mitigation - Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for development and permitting of replacement seagrass and oyster mitigation projects for the dredging of Berth 150. The original mitigation projects were determined to be unsuccessful. Birkitt identified potential areas for seagrass and oyster mitigation. Three potential seagrass mitigation/recipient areas were surveyed to select the most appropriate areas for seagrass mitigation. Potential areas for oyster mitigation were also identified. Coordination with the USACE, FDEP, and Hillsborough County EPC is underway. Permit applications have been submitted to all three regulatory agencies. Birkitt submitted an ERP modification application to the FDEP which included a UMAM analysis, proposed seagrass transplantation methods, monitoring methods and success criteria. Coordination with the Hillsborough County EPC and the USACE is also being conducted to receive approval of the alternative mitigation projects.


Airports:


NFRA (St. Augustine Airport) Permitting Runway Safety Area Restoration and Mitigation Project – St. Johns County, FL

Project Director responsible for permitting the restoration of the eastern Runway Safety Area (RSA) at the St. Augustine Airport. Due to tidal action and severe storms, the shoreline of the Airport has significantly eroded bringing the airport out of compliance with FAA design standards for the width of the RSA. Mitigation for the project is proposed through restoration of a 16.7 acre on-site spoil island. Spoil island restoration design requires extensive coordination with assigned engineers, airport representatives, and agency staff. The project involves close coordination with multiple engineering firms for design and preparation of engineering drawings for both the RSA and mitigation. Issues include sovereign submerged lands and a requirement to obtain a variance for construction in Class II Waters. Close coordination with the water management district and the USACE is required to ensure receipt of all approvals within a time schedule for construction.

UNFRA (St. Augustine Airport) Permitting Taxiway C, Tidal Relocation, and Runway Safety Area South Project – St. Johns County, FL
Project Director responsible for permitting the replacement of Taxiway C, relocation of a tidal canal, and improvements to the RSA on the south and west side of the Airport. Taxiway C is not meeting FAA design standards. Therefore, it is not safe to utilize the taxiway and the runway at the same time. As a result, the taxiway will be extended to meet FAA design standards. The relocation of the Taxiway will result in impacts to saltmarsh and a previously dredged tidal canal in Class II Waters. The existing tidal canal will be relocated to maintain navigability to the Tolomato River. The RSA on the south of the runway is being improved to prevent future erosion. The project involves close coordination with four different engineering teams and permitting agencies to receive a permit within a tight construction schedule. A variance for construction in Class II Waters is required along with state lands approvals for activities on sovereign submerged lands.

UNFRA (St. Augustine Airport) RSA and Spoil Island Restoration - Environmental Construction Oversight – St. Johns County, FL
Project Director providing environmental construction oversight and permit compliance services for runway safety improvements at the St. Augustine Airport coordinating closely with the construction manager and contractor. Construction of the eastern Runway Safety Area (RSA) and restoration of a spoil island as mitigation for wetlands impacts at the airport is complete.

UNFRA (St. Augustine Airport) Environmental Assessment – St. Johns County, FL
Project Director for preparation of portions of the Environmental Assessment (EA) and for development of mitigation options for the proposed Taxiway Extension and RSA. The purpose of the project is to provide separation between the runway and taxiway to meet FAA safety standards and to provide the FAA mandated safety requirements. The project will impact approximately eight acres of estuarine salt marsh. Restoration of an approximately 16.7 acre spoil island is being considered as mitigation. Assistance in agency coordination with the FAA, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the USACE, state and federal wildlife agencies and other commenting agencies is required.

Tampa International Airport Stormwater Site Development – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director responsible for providing gopher tortoise relocation permitting services and relocation of 19 tortoises (over 50 burrows) for the construction of several stormwater ditches as part of the expansion of the Tampa Airport north terminal. Surveys were conducted for over 140 acres of gopher tortoise habitat. All required Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permits were obtained and the required After Action Reports submitted.

Tampa International Airport Taxiway V and W – Hillsborough County, FL
Project Director for relocation of gopher tortoises prior to construction of Taxiway V and W. Located an off-site area for relocation. Oversaw field survey for gopher tortoises, preparation of the standard gopher tortoise relocation permit application, and coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Gopher tortoises were successfully relocated to an approved site at Upper Tampa Bay Park within the project schedule.

Gainesville Regional Airport – Alachua County, FL
Project Manager for development of an Environmental Assessment for the Gainesville Regional Airport expansion. A detailed description of existing site conditions was conducted, the EA Existing Conditions report and an Interim Assessment Report prepared for submittal to St. Johns River Water Management District and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A portion of Gum Root Swamp was proposed as mitigation as preservation mitigation for previous wetlands impacts and permit applications were prepared for tree clearing activities on the property. Also assisted in negotiations with SJRWMD for permit compliance issues.

Southwest Florida International Airport Midfield Expansion – Lee County, FL
Environmental permitting consultation associated with the ERP/Section 404 Permit Application for a 4,178 expansion of the Southwest Florida International Airport facility in Ft. Myers. Assisting in development of WRAP scoring guidelines for mitigation park proposed as compensation for the impacts associated with this expansion, documentation of consistency with conceptual permit issued in 1995, and permitting strategy development. The proposed mitigation park is approximately 7,000 acres in size consisting of three adjacent pieces of property. The proposed mitigation park includes creation, restoration, enhancement and preservation of wetland and upland areas and is of high ecological value due to the size of the park, diversity of the habitat, and extensive use by wildlife including the Florida Panther. In addition, this area provides connectivity to a continuous network of protected areas leading to Big Cypress National Preserve.

Van Fleet International Cargo Airport and Mixed Use Development DRI – Hardee County, FL
Project Manager for a greenfield cargo airport and mixed use development proposed on approximately 22,000 acres of previously mined lands in Hardee County, Florida. The project required a Development of Regional Impact (DRI), and state and federal environmental permits as well as FAA approval. Key issues were wetlands, wildlife, and hydrology in addition to land planning. Extensive wildlife and protected species surveys and vegetation surveys were conducted in accordance with state and federal wildlife survey methodology. An offsite regional mitigation approach was evaluated for wetlands impacts. A coordinated permitting process was planned to ensure consistency among the environmental reviews by the various regulatory agencies.


Transportation, Utilities and Roadways:


Local Transportation Projects – Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas Counties, FL
Project Director for numerous local transportation projects throughout the Tampa Bay region including roads and bridge crossings.


Other Experience:


UL-40 Conveyance Project – Palm Beach County, FL

Project Director for the natural resources component of a Reconnaissance Study for the SFWMD evaluating the conveyance opportunities for the delivery of water from Lake Okeechobee to southeastern Palm Beach County, Lake Worth Drainage District, Broward County, and the Hillsboro Canal. The study will determine the feasibility of conveying the untreated water in an alternate way versus the current action which takes the water through the Refuge.

Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Test Cells – Various Counties, FL
Project Director responsible for preparation of the 1502 environmental permit application. SFWMD planned on constructing a 16,000 acre reservoir to capture Everglades Agricultural Area Basin runoff. Two 25 acre test cells were needed to obtain performance data. Ensured all necessary field efforts including wetland jurisdictional determinations and threatened and endangered species surveys were conducted accurately and within scope.


REGULATORY AGENCY EXPERIENCE


  • Environmental permit reviewer and supervisor for the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation for large scale projects
  • Special Assistant to Permitting Director providing assistance to District Managers throughout the state on permitting issues, litigation support, and wastewater to wetlands permitting
  • Assessment of predicted impacts on surface and ground water quality and wetland and aquatic habitat including freshwater and estuarine systems and compliance with environmental regulations for over 1000 projects and discharge situations.
  • Rule development for water quality and volume discharges to wetlands to protect natural resources; assessment of benthic diversity indices as water quality standards.
  • Management and implementation of the statewide industrial and domestic wastewater and storm water permitting programs for FDER.
  • Expert witness testimony regarding wetlands, water quality, and environmental regulations.
  • Established and chaired Governor's Subcommittee on Mosquito Impoundment Management; development of management concept to protect and restore wetland, water quality and wildlife value along the east coast of Florida.
  • Project Manager for the Kissimmee River Restoration Demonstration Project (SFWMD); assessment of water quality, hydrological and biological impacts and compliance with state and federal environmental regulations.
  • Project Manager for the Florida Keys Seagrass Restoration Project and the Florida Keys Canal Water Quality Study conducted in coordination with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Environmental scientist responsible for water quality monitoring data analysis and 305(b) report to the EPA.

EXPERT WITNESS / LITIGATION ASSISTANCE


1.

Name of Legal Proceeding:
JILL R.C. BUZBY, Individually, and
GARY L. CHRISTENSEN, Individually, Plaintiffs
v.
TURTLE ROCK COMMUNITY
ASSOCIATION, INC., a Florida
Corporation, Defendant

Case Number: 2013 CA 005939 NC

Venue / Jurisdiction of Proceeding: City of Sarasota

Name of the Court: 12th Judicial Circuit in and for Sarasota County, Florida

Approximate Date of Testimony: Provided expert witness affidavit on February 12, 2016

Resolution of the Proceedings: Pending

Name of Attorneys/Parties Who Retained Person for Expert Testimony: Jesse Butler of Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. on behalf of Turtle Rock Community Association, Inc.

Summary of Opinions Provided: Presented expert witness affidavit regarding compliance with environmental permit requirements of SWFWMD and Sarasota County regulations associated with storm water lake littoral zones.

2.

Name of Legal Proceeding / Case Number: LUZ2010-06002 – 3400 Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard (Related to DVA2010-06001)

Venue / Jurisdiction of Proceeding: City of Clearwater

Approximate Date of Testimony: August 5, 2010

Resolution of the Proceedings: Approved

Name of Attorneys/Parties Who Retained Person for Expert Testimony: Esquire, and Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Rupple & Burns, LLP on behalf of Clearwater Christian College Private School, Inc.

Summary of Opinions Provided: Presented expert witness testimony regarding the establishment of a mitigation bank as mitigation for impacts. Relayed information that was used to demonstrate how the City would benefit from the approval of the mitigation bank.

3.

Name of Legal Proceeding / Case Number: DVA 2010-06001 - 3400 Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard (Related to LUZ2010-06002)

Venue / Jurisdiction of Proceeding: City of Clearwater

Approximate Date of Testimony: August 5, 2010

Resolution of the Proceedings: Approved

Name of Attorneys/Parties Who Retained Person for Expert Testimony: Esquire, and Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Rupple & Burns, LLP on behalf of Clearwater Christian College Private School, Inc.

Summary of Opinions Provided: Provided expert witness testimony regarding mitigation of impacts via establishment of the mitigation bank. Demonstrated the preferred method is the approval of the mitigation bank since it would provide the greatest benefit to the City. Discussed how the mitigation bank aimed to restore tidal flow, nutrients and therefore wildlife to the habitat.

4.

Provided expert witness testimony and litigation support to Lennar – US Homes in 2009 for ERP and USACE permitting with SFWMD for docks, maintenance dredging of canal systems, and site development.

Name of Legal Proceeding: U.S. Home Corporation, a foreign Corporation, Plaintiff, vs. D&D Investments of Lee County, Inc., and Gary L. Tasman, Defendants and D&D Investments of Lee County, Inc., a Florida Corporation, Plaintiff, vs. U.S. Home Corporation, a foreign Corporation, Defendant.

Case Number: CASE NO. 06-CA-003092 ; CASE NO.: 07-CA-001947-SW

Venue/Jurisdiction of Proceeding: Circuit Court

Name of the Court: 20th Judicial Circuit in and for Lee County, Florida

Approximate Date of Testimony: Provided expert witness testimony in deposition on June 3, 2009

Resolution of the Proceeding: unknown; Ms. Birkitt withdrawn as an expert witness as focus shifted to engineering matters.

Name of Attorneys/Parties Who Retained Person for Expert Testimony: Bilzin Sumberg; transferred to Cathy Reiman, Esq.of Roetzel & Andress (Naples, FL)

Summary of Opinions Provided: Regarding appropriate processing of environmental permit applications to SFWMD and USACE; wetlands, wildlife, and water quality impact assessment

5.

Name of Legal Proceeding: Victoria Mccullough, Plaintiff, vs. South Florida Water Management District and FAR Niente Stables, et al., Defendant

Case Number: 11-5921

Approximate Date of Testimony: Provided expert witness testimony in deposition on May 2, 2012

Name of Attorneys/Parties Who Retained Person for Expert Testimony: Jason D. Lazarus, Esq. of Holland & Knight (West Palm Beach, FL) and Larry Sellers, Esq. of Holland & Knight (Tallahassee, FL)

Summary of Opinions Provided: Provided expert opinions on environmental resource permitting, wetlands ecology, and wildlife.

6.

Provided expert opinion analysis, report (September 4, 2002), and litigation assistance for a valuation hearing for land acquired by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) by eminent domain for a water supply reservoir in Hillsborough County, FL for Tampa Bay Water. MacFarlane, Ferguson, and MCMullen, PA represented SWFWMD. Evaluation focused on potential for development of a wetlands mitigation bank on the property and included wetlands impact assessment and benefits of restoration activities.

7.

Expert witness testimony and litigation assistance for wetlands, wildlife, and environmental permitting issues for the Buckeye Florida effluent pipeline in Taylor County, FL.

8.

During tenure at FDER, qualified as an expert witness on wetlands, water quality, and environmental issues on projects including: City of Sarasota wastewater sprayfield, various canal projects, power plant certifications, pipeline projects, and a variety of other projects.


PUBLICATIONS / PRESENTATIONS:


Birkitt, B.F., 2016. National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference. Ft. Worth, Texas. Encumbrances in Mitigation Banks.

Birkitt. B.B., 2016. National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference. Ft. Worth, Texas. Mitigation Bank Permitting in Multiple Jurisdictions.

Birkitt, B.F., 1989-2016. Florida Chamber of Commerce Environmental Permitting Summer School, Marco Island and Growth Management Course, Orlando. Faculty member for courses covering ERP wetland regulations, state and federal permitting, wetland mitigation, mitigation banking, secondary impacts, cumulative impacts, wetland-dependent wildlife protection, and UMAM.

Birkitt, B.F., 2013. National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference. New Orleans, LA. Achieving Community-Based Restoration Goals and Expanding Mitigation Banking Opportunities.

Birkitt, B.F. 2010-2011. Florida Chamber’s Growth Management, Energy, Climate Change and the Environmental Short Course, Orlando. Presentation: Emerging Issues in Mitigation – State Regulations.

B. Birkitt. 2009. Mitigation Banking: How does it work? Presentation to Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals, Tampa, FL.

R. Toth, L. Proenza, and B. Birkitt. 2009. Meeting Restoration Goals in the Tampa Bay Basin through Mitigation Banking. Abstract accepted for BASIS V, Tampa Bay Estuary Program. St. Petersburg, FL.

Birkitt, B.F. 2009. Florida Chamber’s Growth Management, Energy, Climate Change and the Environmental Short Course, Daytona, February 2009- Presentation: Impacts on Coastal Communities - Practical Implications from a Policy and Regulatory Perspective.

Birkitt, B.F. 2008. Environmental Resource Permitting, Niceville, July 2008—Presentation for the Northwest Florida Regional Planning Council and training to environmental professionals regarding new ERP rules being adopted by the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

Birkitt, B. F., A. B. Hodgson, and B. L. Lane, 2003. The Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank: A New Option for Wetland Mitigation in the Central Florida Region. In: Proceedings BASIS IV, Tampa Bay Estuary Program. St. Petersburg, FL.

Birkitt, B.F. and J. Barco, 2002. Utilizing Isolated Wetlands to Reduce Phosphorus in Lake Okeechobee. Presenter, 27th Annual Conference National Association of Environmental Professionals, June 23-26, 2002, Dearborn, Michigan.

Birkitt, B.F. and L. F. Trepper, 2001. New Directions in Permitting a Large Pipeline Project in Florida – Team Permitting. Presenter, 26th Annual Conference National Association of Environmental Professionals, June 24-28 2001, Washington D.C.

Birkitt, B.F. and R. Copp, 1997, Combining Ecosystem Management and Mitigation Banking: San Pedro Bay Restoration. Proceedings, 22nd Annual Conference of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, May 19-23, 1997, Orlando, Florida.

Birkitt, B.F., and T. B. Gunter. 1995. Regional Mitigation for a 615 mile Pipeline: Hydrologic Restoration, Exotic Species Removal, and Reforestation. Presentation, 22nd Annual Conference on Ecosystem Restoration and Creation, May 18-19, 1995, Tampa, Florida.

Gunter, T. B. and B.F. Birkitt, 1995. Evaluation of Natural Recruitment of Wetland Trees and Shrubs Along a North Florida Pipeline Corridor. Proceedings, 22nd Annual Conference on Ecosystems Restoration and Creation, May 18-19, 1995, Tampa, Florida.

Birkitt, B.F., 1989, Loxahatchee River Restoration as Mitigation. Presentation at International Symposium: Wetlands and River Corridor Management, Association of Wetland Managers, July 5-9, 1989, Charleston, South Carolina.

Birkitt, B.F. and S. Gray, 1989, Wetland Impact Evaluation and Mitigation: Comparing Apples to Oranges, in Fisk, D., Editor, Proceedings of a Symposium on Wetlands: Concerns and Successes, American Water Resources Conference, September 17-22, 1989, Tampa, Florida, pp 259-267.

Birkitt, B.F., and T.B. Gunter, 1989. Wetland Preservation as Mitigation: Implementation of the DER Policy, in Fisk, D., Editor, Proceedings of a Symposium on Wetlands: Concerns and Successes, American Water Resources Conference, September 17-22, 1989, Tampa, Florida, pp. 355-363.

Birkitt, B.F., 1983. Considerations for the Functional Restoration of Impounded Wetlands, in Webb, F.J., Editor, 1983 Proceedings of Tenth Annual Conference on Wetland Restoration and Creation, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, Florida.

Birkitt, B.F., 1981. Aquatic Macrophyte and Invertebrate Community Structure in the Wakulla River, unpublished thesis, Florida State University.

Birkitt, B.F. and B.J. Dougherty, 1980, Impacts of Bridging on the Aquatic Ecology of Three Rivers in Florida, Transportation Research Board Journal.

Birkitt, B.F., B.J. Dougherty, et al., 1979, Effects of Bridging on Biological Productivity and Diversity, Florida Department of Transportation Publication FL-ER-9-79, pp. 1-74.


 

     
 
   

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