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Lake Wales Ridge

Permitted by USACOE

Sand Skink Credits Available

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A joint effort between The Nature Conservancy and Hatchineha Ranch LLC, Hatchineha Ranch Conservation Bank is 161 acres on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk County, Florida. The site is adjacent to the Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park (7,156 acres) to the south and southwest and Hatchineha Ranch Mitigation Bank (4,783 acres) to the north and northeast.


The bank site consists of a mosaic of sandhill, oak scrub, scrubby flatwoods, and depression marshes. These vegetative communities will be managed primarily with fire to restore and maintain optimal habitat conditions. Currently, sixteen listed plant and animal species occur on the bank.

The goal of Hatchineha Ranch Conservation Bank is to preserve and enhance habitat for the Lake Wales Ridge populations of sand skink and blue-tail mole skinks, Florida scrub-jays, and other xeric upland scrub endemic species. To achieve this goal, the following specific objectives have been set forth:

  1. Protection of 161± acres of xeric uplands with high xeric upland species diversity from development and degradation.
  2. Restoration of fire excluded habitats to increase the carrying capacity of the site for the covered species and as well as other state and federally listed species.
  3. Increase in the populations of sand and blue-tail mole skinks, Florida scrub-jays and other xeric upland species.
  4. Protection of wildlife connectivity between the Bank, the ADB Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, and the HRWMB.
  5. Enhancement of the existing skink and Florida scrub-jay populations at ADB Catfish Creek Preserve State Park through expanded continuity of fire managed xeric uplands.

The xeric uplands present within the Bank consist of habitat types that are documented to support numerous protected species of wildlife and vegetation that are endemic to and dependent upon these community types and their natural fire regimes. Preservation of these unique scrub and sandhill communities and implementation of land management activities to restore a natural fire regime are imperative to the long-term protection and survival of contiguous populations of sand and bluetail mole skinks and scrub-jays as well as other protected wildlife.

Click HERE for the Hatchineha Ranch Conservation Bank Certification Letter.


Audubon of Florida is pleased to count Mitigation Marketing as one of our partners in conservation in Florida. We have found Mitigation Marketing to be a true innovator in the mitigation industry. Dennis Benbow and his staff are pioneering important efforts in both the Wetlands and Conservation banking fields. Mitigation Marketing is demonstrating that carefully thought out Wetlands and Conservation mitigation banks can be an important factor in the effort to conserve and restore many thousands of acres of what is best in Florida’s wildlife habitats and natural resources.

Charles Lee
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