The Disney Wilderness Preserve:
BDA developed an innovative entitlement concept to position Walt Disney World for a proactive approach in what has historically been a reactive world. The 8,500-acre Walker Ranch property was purchased by WDW and turned over to The Nature Conservancy for preservation and management as part of the mitigation program identified in the long term permits. Not only does the purchase of Walker Ranch preserve a large tract of land along the Reedy Creek Basin but maintains valuable habitat for a variety of listed wildlife species such as the scrub jay and bald eagle. Drained and impacted wetlands on the property will also be enhanced or restored.
The long term permitting strategy focused on the complete build-out program for WDW’s 30,000 acres of land in Orange and Osceola counties. The development of a master plan for the complete build-out of the property enabled the regulatory agencies to address cumulative impacts from realistic plans. Once the master plan was prepared, it was necessary to overlay the plan on maps that displayed the limits of wetland jurisdiction for each of the regulatory agencies to determine the amount and location of impacts. BDA utilized GIS and Computer Aided Drafting and Design systems to conduct these tedious analyses and prepare the graphical representations of the results. Field review and additional computer analyses resulted in avoidance and minimization of impacts to higher quality wetlands. WDW and BDA were able to meet the criteria of the state and federal agencies to receive the long term permits.