Protecting land in North Florida

Former Senator and Governor Bob Graham speaks to group

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist

Former Senator and Governor Bob Graham gave a keynote during the North Florida Land Trust's annual meeting Tuesday February 13, 2018

One out of every five acres in Florida has been developed. This is a concern for former Senator and Governor Bob Graham who spoke to a group of people who are preserving land from bulldozers.

The time to conserve is now as Florida's population continues to grow. Graham, speaking at the North Florida Land Trust's annual meeting feels the "State needs to step up to the challenge. Government should think 20 to 30 years ahead to keep up."

He is making reference to Florida's growth reaching over 20 million people. The rate of newcomers moving to the state has averaged 6% growing from 1.5 million in 1936. 

Water demands could double in the next 50 years and the costs for not protecting land will outweigh gains.

North Florida Land trust is preserving natural and working agricultural lands in Northeast Florida.

A recent series of acquisitions throughout North Florida included 63 acres purchased on Bogey Creek in Duval county which will become its first public park.

An even larger land track covers a wildlife corridor from Ocala to the Osceola National Forest. Purchased public lands and private landowners are working together to promote restoration and conservation in a 80 mile long area.

The group is actively campaigning to preserve land on Big Talbot Island and so far they have acquired 95 percent of the private land.

Out of the approximately 1,100 acres preserved, 34 acres of privately owned lands still need to be acquired. 

Private donations enable the groups land acquisitions and more help is coming later this year.

Bob Graham is encouraged by some money coming back into the Florida Forever project.

A bill by North Florida Republican Senate Chairman Rob Bradley will dedicate $100 million each year to the Florida Forever Trust Fund.  

Money is well short of the $300 million set aside for land conservation by Jeb Bush in 1999.

Lawmakers dwindled the fund down to an astonishing $0 budget after the recession.

75% of voters approved Amendment 1 to buy, manage and improve conservation lands and water resources for 20 years.

 

 

 

 

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