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CONTACT: Amy Graham (850) 245-2112, or (850) 778-7258 (cell)

Governor and Cabinet Enhance, Expand and Protect Natural Areas

~Three state land acquisitions approved at today?s Cabinet meeting~

TALLAHASSEE ? Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet today approved two land acquisitions and one conservation easement in north Florida aimed at expanding public access to natural areas and enhancing resource protection. These three projects each bring unique benefits to the state including, an addition to a state park, a conservation easement within a state forest optimum boundary and an addition to a state forest within an A-list project in the Florida Forever land-buying program.

?By approving these three projects, Governor Crist and members of the Cabinet are recognizing the importance of preserving the state?s valuable natural lands,? said DEP Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation Bob Ballard. ?In light of the current event in the Gulf of Mexico, we are reminded now, more than ever, of the importance of protecting and preserving our natural resources so that future generations can enjoy the resources, wildlife and dynamic natural areas we are blessed with in this great state.?

The three projects approved by the Governor and Cabinet include:

  • Purchase of 552 acres with the Apalachicola River Florida Forever project to be added to Torreya State Park. This acquisition consists of two parcels ? 442 acres in Gadsden County and 109 acres in Liberty County ? and will increase public access while protecting the water quality of the Apalachicola River.
  • Acquisition of 106 acres of land in Putnam County as an addition to Etoniah Creek State Forest, helping to bridge a gap within the Etoniah/Cross Florida Greenway Florida Forever A-list project and providing a continuous wildlife corridor.
  • Acquiring a conservation easement over 1,369 acres in Levy County within the Goethe State Forest optimum boundary, buffering the forest from further development and fragmentation. The easement will be monitored by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services? Division of Forestry

?The easement at Goethe State Forest not only provides for cooperative prescribed fire on this tract to prevent fuels buildup, it precludes development and fragmentation that threatens Florida?s Forest and Ag lands,? said Jim Karels, Division of Forestry Director. ?Acquisition of perpetual conservation easements allows for more efficient fire management, reduced overall costs of land management, and affords additional protections to native ecosystems while keeping the lands in private ownership.?

The Florida Forever program, established by the Florida Legislature in 1999, conserves environmentally sensitive land, restores waterways and preserves important cultural and historical resources. For more information on the Florida Forever program, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/fl_forever.htm.

DEP is the state?s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida?s environment and natural resources. DEP enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida?s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally-sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. For more information about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, visit www.dep.state.fl.us.

For more information on the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry, visit www.doacs.state.fl.us. To learn more about Florida State Parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org or follow www.Twitter.com/FLStateParks.

Wooded Forest

"By approving these three projects, Governor Crist and members of the Cabinet are recognizing the importance of preserving the state?s valuable natural lands."

Bob Ballard
DEP Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation



Last updated: May 11, 2010

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