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Since the inception of the P2000 program, the South Florida Water Management District has made significant headway on many of our major long-term projects. These include lands needed for regional ecosystem management efforts, such as the Kissimmee River restoration, the construction of Stormwater Treatment Area filter-marshes, and the restoration of more natural water flows to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. We also assisted in acquiring two large natural areas that are critical to maintaining south Florida’s ecological integrity ­ the Kissimmee Prairie and the Okaloacoochee Slough.

While we celebrate these accomplishments, we recognize that we have much more to do. The projects contained in our Save Our Rivers Land Acquisition and Management Plan attest to the great need for further acquisitions and, equally important, for the proper management of all lands once acquired.

The growing acceptance of conservation easements is a possible solution to the limited availability of funds for both acquisition and management. These easements preserve important natural resources while allowing private landowners to retain low intensity use of their property. The cost of easements is less than fee title acquisition. The easement concept also leaves private landowners as the steward of the land, thereby reducing public management costs.

The District’s Save Our Rivers land acquisition program, with funding from the P2000 program, is a multipurpose tool that preserves rare and unique resources, protects areas of special local interest, and prepares the ground for the water resource management needs of the 21st Century. As P-2000 draws to a close, we must concentrate on developing strong support for a revised program that will allow us to adequately address our critical “unmet” water resource development needs in the future.

South Florida Water Management District
P2000 Top Five Acquisition Projects

Project: Fisch Tract
Save Our Rivers Project: Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) County: Collier
Acreage: 32,207
Year Acquired: 1991

Natural Resource Significance: Until the 1950s, the Fisch property was dominated by virgin cypress forest. A severe fire damaged the cypress regrowth and it has since grown back as a mixed hardwood swamp forest dominated by cabbage palm, red maple, elm, pop ash, and pond apple. Its remoteness, poisonous snakes, and inaccessibility have allowed it to develop an impressive number of rare plants and orchids. Tram roads which remain from the logging operation create a network of elevated hiking trails.

Project: Continental Property

Save Our Rivers Project: Kissimmee River County: Okeechobee
Acreage: 385
Year Acquired: 1994

Natural Resource Significance: The Continental property borders a remnant run of the Kissimmee River and will be rehydrated during the river's restoration project. The property contains a large river marsh but the most impressive features are undisturbed areas of dry prairie and hardwood hammock. It is prime grasshopper sparrow habitat and has gopher tortoises and numerous other wildlife species. It is included in the Kissimmee River Small Game Wildlife Management Area and has a check station and entry point on the C-38 canal.

Project: Lake Russell Property
Save Our Rivers Project: Reedy Creek
County: Osceola
Acreage: 492
Year Acquired: 1995

Natural Resource Significance: This tract of land is a mixture of sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood swamp forest. It is bordered by Reedy Creek and has frontage on Lake Russell. Under an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District, Osceola County Schools is developing an environmental education center that focuses on the unique scrub species found on this site and hydrologic restoration efforts that are underway.

Project: Terrytown
Save Our Rivers Project: Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 3-4 County: Broward
Acreage: 3,024
Year Acquired: 1994

Natural Resource Significance: The Terrytown project will become part of the STA 3-4, which lies immediately north of Water Conservation Area 3, and west of U.S. 27 highway. It was purchased as part of the district's efforts to restore the Everglades by constructing nearly 48,000 acres of filter marshes to treat agricultural runoff. Prior to construction of the STA in 1999 or 2000, Terrytown, a former sod and vegetable farm, is being managed by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission as a public waterfowl hunting area.

Project: Blind Creek
Save Our Rivers Project: Indian River Lagoon County: St. Lucie
Acreage: 409
Year Acquired: 1996

Natural Resource Significance: The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most diverse and ecologically important estuaries in the United States. It is a project that has as partners five counties, two water management districts, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the federal government. The purchase of Blind Creek will allow former mosquito impoundments to be managed in a way that restores water quality in the lagoon, and dramatically increases the number of fish and wading bird species found in the impoundments while still controlling mosquitoes. The impoundments are also used by thousands of people each year for fishing, crabbing, and bird watching.

Last updated: June 22, 2016

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 100   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-2555 (phone) / 850-245-2572 (fax)
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