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Publication #WEC 193

Improving, Restoring, and Managing Natural Resources in Florida: Sources of Technical Assistance for Urban Homeowners 1

Mark Hostetler, Martin Main, and Chris Demers2


Over the last decade approximately 100,000 new single-family, detached homes have been built annually in Florida, making it one of the most active areas of new residential community development in the United States. In the face of this rapid growth, many Florida communities are looking for support in how to preserve (and even enhance) their local quality of life. Collectively, urban communities can greatly affect our natural resources.

Decisions made by each homeowner interact in unique ways to affect the use and conservation of water, energy, and our plants and animals. The quantity and quality of water, wildlife habitat, and energy are closely tied to one another. For example, planting several native trees near a house can have several positive impacts. First, native trees provide food for wildlife. Second, they provide shade for the house to conserve energy. Plus, they conserve water because native trees are adapted to the local climate and do not need much watering. As a result, a homeowner saves time and money because he or she is not using as much water or energy. If each homeowner plants native trees, more local water and energy resources are conserved.

In fact, the way people design and manage their homes, yards, and neighborhoods can impact surrounding natural areas. For example, invasive exotic plants in individual yards can spread to surrounding natural areas. Also, watering lawns can cause the water table to draw down, drying up nearby wetlands.

The purpose of this document is to summarize sources of information from federal, state, and non-governmental organizations that provide technical assistance to urban landowners interested in conserving natural resources (Table 1). Additional information regarding natural resource conservation on properties is available on the UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS— Some highlighted EDIS documents are provided below:

  1. Tips on landscaping for wildlife:

  2. Energy conservation tips:

  3. Environmental landscaping:

  4. Water conservation in the yard:

  5. Overall environmentally friendly living:

  6. Water conservation tips:

  7. Conservation options (easements, etc.) for private landowners:

  8. Evaluating private lands for conservation:

  9. The Green Leap: A Primer for Conserving Biodiversity in Subdivision Development.


Table 1. 

Organizations and programs available to urban communities to provide technical assistance for conservation of natural resources.





Environmental Protection Agency

Energy Star

Assistance to property owners to conserve energy within a building


Office of Pollution and Prevention, Community Assistance Programs

An educational resource to find out about environmental facts concerning land, air, and water



An educational resource to find out about environmental facts concerning land, air, and water


Water use efficiency program

Information on water efficient tools and management strategies


Reduce solid waste

Tips on simple ways to reduce the amount of solid waste

U.S. Department. of Agriculture

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Multiple programs that provide technical and financial support to assist homeowners and communities to conserve natural resources



UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information Source

Searchable database for technical information on many topics related to management of natural resources


Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation - Backyard landscaping for wildlife

Information and program that help property owners evaluate their landscape for Florida wildlife


Florida Yards & Neighborhoods

Helps residents to establish environmentally friendly yards


IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Information about Florida non-native invasive plants

Florida State University

Florida Natural Areas Inventory

Information about conserving Florida's biodiversity


National Wildlife Federation

NWF Backyard Wildlife Program:

Has information about ways to design a wildlife-friendly yard and also a certification program

Humane Society

Humane Society's urban wildlife program:

Has information about ways to design a wildlife-friendly yard and also a certification program

Florida Native Plant Society

Lists of native plants, tips on using native plants in your landscape, and locations of native plant nurseries

Florida Exotic Plant Council

Information, programs, and identification tips on how to identify and eradicate Florida exotic invasive plants



This document is WEC 193, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 2004. Revised May 2009 and October 2012. Reviewed August 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


Mark E. Hostetler, professor and wildlife Extension specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation; Martin B. Main, associate dean and program leader, Extension natural resources associate director, Florida Sea Grant Extension; and Chris Demers, forest stewardship coordinator, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.