SARASOTA, Fla., September 30, 2009 – Neal Communities is pleased to have the Bald Eagle couple (click to see video) return to their nest in the preserve area next to the Silverwood neighborhood in The Lakewood Ranch Country Club. The couple, who have been in this nest for about eight years, was first spotted back on September 15. The eagles, like many area residents, head north in the spring (late April or early May) and return here in the fall (late September or early October). Neal Communities is in its eighth year of an extensive, Bald Eagle management program in The Lakewood Ranch Country Club. “We have expanded our efforts beyond what’s required by state and local entities and have invested more than $100,000,” notes Neal Communities’ Pat Neal. “Protecting our environment and our area’s important species is part of the mission and vision of our company. We consistently go above and beyond what’s required. We want to always do what’s best.”
The Eagle Watch program has protected and enabled the hatching of at least eight eaglets. The adult eagles, which mate for life, usually have one eaglet each year. The eaglets remain close to their parents for about four months until they are ready to leave the nest to live on their own.
“There’s a lake in the area that the Eagles find particularly attractive for hunting,” explains Jeff Clark of EarthBalance, the environmental consulting firm retained by Neal. “We monitor the eagle’s nest and activity to ensure their continued safety.”
“It was also important for us to shield street lighting around the nesting area and plant large trees as a buffer,” comments Pat Neal. “There is also a 100 foot buffer zone around the nest.”
The Bald Eagle was removed from the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2007 and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in 2008. Yet the eagle is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald Eagle Management Plan. Neal Communities wholeheartedly adheres to and supports these guidelines.
“I’m proud of what our team does to go above and beyond the requirements,” says Neal Communities’ Pat Neal. “Randy Olson and Chris Reese on our team have put some excellent practices in place to monitor the eagle nest area and the wetland habitat nearby.”
The Neal Commitment
The guidelines include:
Avoid disturbance and any construction within the undisturbed zone of an
Provide sufficient buffers around the nest and development activity
Obtain the necessary permits to ensure the safety of the eagle’s nest
Do the work while both eagles are away on vacation
Neal Communities has also installed a telescope and seating area where residents can enjoy watching the eagles in their daily activity.
Neal Communities is recognized as one of Southwest Florida’s most environmentally pro-active builders and developers. For nearly 40 years, the company has committed to responsible land development that creates communities that preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment. As the area’s largest and most established locally owned and operated private builder, Neal Communities’ innovative home building, development and quality customer service standards all contribute to the firm’s continued, record-setting local success stories. With more than 7,600 homes built in Southwest Florida, Neal Communities’ honors and accolades include 44 Aurora Awards, dozens of Parade of Homes Awards, five Best in American Living Awards and hundreds of local and regional industry awards. Neal Communities is ranked #135 among homebuilders in BUILDER Magazine’s 2008 national listing based on sales.
For more information, visit nealcommunities.com. To view the eagles, visit Eagles at The Preserve at Silverwood.Briana J. Hockett Marketing Assistant NealCommunities.com P 941.328.1036 F 941.328.1100 C 941.713.1941