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North Florida Land Trust makes 2,500-acre purchase

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The North Florida Land Trust has made the largest land purchase in its 16-year history, closing on more than 2500 acres along the Nassau River.

The 2,551-acre plot was the largest piece of unprotected land in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

“This is an incredibly important acquisition to the Land Trust,” said Jim McCarthy, executive director of NFLT. “It is important not only because of its size but also because of the environmental benefits and the opportunity to convey it to a long-term partner, the National Park Service, to be protected and managed forever.”

The property is located along an 11-mile stretch from Interstate 95 to the Nassau Sound.

It largely consists of marshland and will protect the oyster reefs, saltwater and brackish cordgrass and black needle rush marshes that spread out for miles along the river’s edge. These marsh habitats form critical nursery for most of the commercial and recreational sports fish as well as foraging grounds for the shore and wading birds.

The property also includes what was a potentially developable 40-acre island next to I-95. The parcels are located in both Duval and Nassau counties and include all the marshes off the northern end of Black Hammock Island surrounding the Eagle Bend Island community north of Yellow Bluff Road in Jacksonville and more than 800 acres of marsh along I-95.

North Florida Land Trust purchased the property for $750,000 from the estate of Theodore Carey, who died in 2014. NFLT is currently in negotiations to sell the land to the National Park Service.