State Lands Management Review
How well are State-owned lands managed?
Most of the state’s conservation lands are managed by three state agencies:
Furthermore, Florida’s five water management districts own more than 1.5 million acres that they manage to protect our drinking water supplies and provide outdoor recreation opportunities. For more information on the water-management lands, see the following web sites:
Together, the state and water management district lands comprise more than 4.9 million acres – more land than there is in five of the United States. That is a lot of land!
Who decides if lands are managed properly?
So how well are we taking care of the state’s public lands? To answer this question, the Office of Environmental Services coordinates the review of state-owned conservation lands by establishing teams of experts and members of the general public who evaluate how well the managers are taking care of your land. Each park, forest or management area has a plan that describes the resources we are trying to protect and the recreational activities we want to provide. Team members look at the plan for each site to see if it adequately addresses the management needs, and they visit each site to evaluate whether the property is being managed for the purposes for which it was acquired and in accordance with the approved management plan.
Afterwards, the Office of Environmental Services compiles the team members responses and prepares a report for each site reviewed. These reports can be viewed at the Link to reports site below. If the land management review team determines that the public’s lands are not being managed well – that is not for the purposes for which they were acquired or in compliance with the land management plan – the manager must explain to the Governor and Cabinet its reasons for managing the lands as it has. The Acquisition and Restoration Council also receives the review team reports and can recommend management changes to better protect our natural or cultural resources or to provide additional outdoor recreation opportunities.
Land Management Report Card:
After reviewing over 140 sites containing more than two million acres of state-owned land, the teams found that 98% of the sites evaluated are managed appropriately. Over 62% of the managers are doing an exceptional job of restoring natural areas. Nearly 25% have an excellent prescribed burning program. The most limiting factors for improved management of state-owned lands are funding and staffing. Nearly 62% recommended increased staffing and funding to improve management of sensitive resources or to provide the public with enhanced recreational opportunities. Fortunately, the dedicated staffs of the state’s management agencies have done an exceptional job of protecting the diverse resources and giving us places to retreat from life’s everyday hassles and headaches.
Last updated: February 13, 2009
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