U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Walton County release streamline Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse habitat construction permit process

August 25, 2016

US-FWS-logoThe Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse (CBM) is a federally endangered species endemic to Walton County that is protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act.  Walton County has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the permitting process in what has been identified as suitable habitat for the Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse.

FWS initially released information in February of 2016 regarding new permitting requirements for properties that fall within the CBM habitat zone.  Since that time, Walton County has been working with FWS to streamline the process.  As a result, FWS has released a new streamlined permitting process for the CBM habitat zone.

The CBM habitat zone in Walton County has been divided into three tiers:

Tier 0 – Parcels located within the boundaries of a State Park or private owned parcels that already have an Incidental Take Permit with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
No Action Required – No further coordination needed with FWS

Tier 1 – Parcels located within areas that contain ideal CBM habitat conditions
Action Required – Development on parcels within this tier of habitat require coordination with FWS prior to commencement of development.

Tier 2 – Parcels that contain CBM habitat but habitat has been altered by storms or development
Action Required – Development may commence without review by FWS as long as property owner agrees to conservation measures as drafted by FWS and the property passes the County’s Wildlife Lighting Review.

It is advised that you coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service early in a project or building design if the property falls into Tier 1.  FWS can be reached at 850-769-0052.

To view a map of tiers online, as provided by FSW, visit http://waltongis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=c14ae08fa36e4ee8a6c46be8442aa2bf.

For questions about where a parcel may lie, or a list of conservation measures, please contact Walton County Planning at 850-267-1955.