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North Florida Land Trust pushes state to preserve Fish Island

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida's cabinet will soon decide if the state will accept a contract to acquire and preserve some valuable land along the Matanzas River through the Florida Forever program.

The 57-acre property is on the Intracoastal Waterway immediately adjacent to the State Road 312 bridge onto Anastasia Island.

The Land Trust said Fish Island is a healthy maritime hammock forest and preserving it will help avoid water quality impacts to the Matanzas River. The island also has historic significance, as it is where Jesse Fish established one of Florida’s earliest fruit plantations in 1763. It still contains some ruins of its historic use.

North Florida Land Trust is urging the community to show support for the protection of Fish Island, an environmentally sensitive and historically significant land, prior to the cabinet's July 23 meeting in Tallahassee.

Fish Island mapRecently the St. Augustine commissioners voted unanimously to approve management of Fish Island if the state agrees to buy the property.

“The citizens spoke out about wanting to preserve this environmentally sensitive land which is also an important part of Florida history and now we are asking the community to let Florida’s Cabinet know how important it is to them to preserve Fish Island,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the $100 million Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Clay County, bought tirelessly to include in Florida Forever funding in 2018 will be used to protect this property.

“Without his leadership, this effort would not be possible," McCarthy said of Bradley.

The NFLT’s posted information on its campaign to preserve Fish Island on its website