Florida Gulf Coast University

Kevin Erwin Consulting Ecologist, Inc. (KECE) was an integral part of the Florida Gulf Coast University design team commissioned in 1991 to develop a Campus Master Plan that was “in harmony with land’s natural characteristics.” The resulting cutting-edge low-impact plan consisted of more than 420 acres of wetland restoration, upland preservation and first of its kind ecologically engineered surface water management system.

KECE conducted an ecological history (a non-standard technique at the time but now widely used), extensive ecological and hydrological monitoring on the site to assess current conditions and trends as well as the impact of various anthropogenic activities associated with development. Our ecological assessment of the site was the basis for design of a site plan that would achieve a careful balance between building a university and protection of the land’s natural resources. The same data collected to shape the design of FGCU was also critical in obtaining permits from the regulatory agencies. During the permitting of FGCU, a continual exchange of information with environmental agencies was developed. This resulted in a wetland/wildlife mitigation program which has become the cornerstone for restoration of the Estero River Watershed and a model classroom for teaching on campus as a laboratory for a variety of ecology, biology and civil engineering studies.

Services provided by KECE

  • Produced an ecological history necessary to establish pre-disturbance ecological and hydrological conditions including hydropatterns, vegetation and wildlife.
  • Landscape ecology and hydrogeology with an emphasis extensive hydrological monitoring used to determine existing conditions, the timing and distribution of water and where development, restoration or enhancement was practical
  • Vegetation mapping to provide baseline conditions
  • Soils evaluation for design, permitting and construction purposes
  • Wildlife ecology included extensive surveys of fish, macro-invertebrates, herpetofauna and mammals including listed wildlife surveys for species including Florida panther, indigo snake, gopher tortoise, gopher frog, bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, fox squirrel and black bear along with a prey base study for the Florida panther.
  • Water quality analysis and calculations for design of water quality treatment features onsite
  • Limnology and ecological engineering of naturally designed and functioning man-made lakes to provide high quality water and habitat.
  • Developed an ecological model for the integration of the post-development biological, ecological and hydrological dynamics within the concept of a sustainably managed, partially restored watershed.

FGCU Photo Gallery:

Before/After Development

Satellite imagery of the Florida Gulf Coast University in 1995 (before) and 2010 (after):