| State To Preserve Thousands Of Acres For Wildlife Corridors
The State helped the Florida Wildlife Corridor take a few steps closer to closing some of the missing links last week! Governor Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed Tuesday to spend more than $22 million to preserve three pieces of land covering 14,000 acres, with much of the money coming from the Florida Forever conservation program.
The largest deal is located within Leon and Jackson counties, just south of Tallahassee. This was a $16.1 million deal for 11,027 acres of environmentally sensitive lands, which protects a major wildlife corridor and 10 different springs. It's in the Upper St. Marks River Corridor Florida Forever Project, ranked number 9 in the Florida Forever Critical Natural Lands project category.
The other two deals involve cattle ranches in Polk and Okeechobee counties, costing a combined $6.16 million which will be funded through the Rural & Family Lands Protection Program. That program, backed by Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, has become a more-common way in recent years for the Cabinet to protect land from future development.
Scott and the Cabinet agreed to pay $2.91 million to Lake Hatchineha Ranch, LLC for a 1,619-acre conservation easement in Polk County and $3.25 million to Pelaez and Sons, Inc., for a 1,410-acre conservation easement northwest of the city of Okeechobee. Our friends at the Conservation Trust for Florida helped negotiate this purchase. Under the current Cabinet, the state has now used the Rural & Family Lands program for 30 purchases totaling 25,343 acres.
Land deals like these are very encouraging and support our mission to connect, protect, and restore the Florida Wildlife Corridor. We're energized by this progress and appreciate the decision made by the state to permanently protect these lands!
You can learn more about these recent land deals at WUSF News.