** Be advised that areas around your property often have environmental restrictions and protections. Failure to heed the guidance provided below may result in substantial fines, penalties and remediation costs to you! Failure to be aware of and follow the regulations put in place to protect these preserved areas will not excuse violations.
Preserved Areas in Riverwood
What is a Preserve – Preserves are identified areas of Riverwood established by the governing authorities: Charlotte County, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) in conjunction with the original developers to ensure conservation of lands that protect ecosystems that provide clean water to Florida residents and protect native species. These areas are maintained by the RCDD and the RCA to comply with permits that limit the amount of invasive vegetation, and the ways in which specially licensed contractors may work in those areas. Some of these areas are set aside for native species to be protected, i.e. gopher tortoises, eagle nesting, scrub jays. The rules can be confusing because of the number of agencies that regulate and enforce the laws. This is further complicated by the various designations of areas of Riverwood. Preserves around your home may not be cleared or trimmed to maintain or provide a ‘view’ from your home.
Where are Preserves in Riverwood – Preserves generally appear like wilder un-landscaped areas of our community, they differ from common areas in that they are not planted to be eye-catching but they do provide habitat for wildlife and areas for surface water to be filtered. This juxtaposition of wild and landscaped areas are a part of the unique beauty of our community. The following links will reveal where Preserves are around your yard and in all of Riverwood. The legend on each map will help you to see where specific animal preserves are located.
2. Sawgrass Map
To get further assistance in finding exactly where your property lines are you may consult your survey, boundary markers, or visit the RCA or CDD office.
How you can help. Please notify your landscaper that they must not deposit yard waste in the Preserves as that material can contain seeds or live remnants that can take root and spread throughout the preserve. Similarly, if you are doing your own gardening and clean up, leave the plant material and old plant containers for the Waste Management pick-ups. You may use an identified waste can for plant material on your regularly scheduled pick-up day. Initially, after maintenance and removal of invasive species Preserves may appear unsightly. These areas are generally left for 12 to 24 months after clearing to see what native vegetation migrates into the areas and then they are assessed for planting by licensed personnel if indicated. * Refrain from transplanting houseplants or overgrown lanai plantings into any property that is not yours.
In General – No plants, trees, mangroves, vines, weeds or anything at all may be touched on property you do not own. Doing so may result in substantial fines, costs to replace damaged trees and plants, and to re-grade disturbed areas. In addition, the expense for monitoring reports by licensed environmental restoration inspectors and contractors may be assigned to you.
Who can help if I see a problem? – If vegetation from a Preserve is growing into your yard, the mangroves need trimming, or you would like to see some native plants flowering in the Preserve near your home you may request work using the Riverwood Environmental Area Work Order form at this link.