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Corner of tabManagement Plan for the Integrated Habitat Network / Coordinated Development Area: Lease Nos. 3963, 3995, and 4236

Conclusion

 

The BMR developed the IHN concept in the early 1990’s as a guide to assist the phosphate industry with reclamation, enhancement, and management activities on lands within the southern mining district. In 2002, the BMR formalized its guidelines when it published the "Management Plan for the Integrated Habitat Network: Lease Nos. 3963 and 3995" to coordinate basic management activities for long-term protection of the greenways/wildlife corridors, wildlife habitat, and riparian buffers within the Integrated Habitat Network. This management plan, revised in 2006 as "Management Plan for the Integrated Habitat Network/Coordinated Development Area: Lease Nos. 3963, 3995, and 4236", incorporates the developments that occurred following the publication of the original plan. The BMR has been the leading force behind the presentation of the IHN concept to the phosphate industry, the public, and other agencies to foster understanding, cooperation, and voluntary participation in the program. Through the BMR’s efforts, the IHN concept has gained wide acceptance and virtually unanimous implementation in the phosphate-mining industry as a blueprint for reclamation and preservation activities on mine properties.

The BMR itself is currently responsible for several disjunct parcels of mined and unmined lands in the Integrated Habitat Network that were acquired by the State through settlement agreements or donations and then leased to the BMR for management and protection. The BMR-leased parcels are a complex mixture of lands primarily within and adjacent to the floodplains of the Peace and Alafia River systems that contain diverse habitats and wildlife, different lease and agreement requirements, and assorted management and monitoring needs. The linear, diffuse nature of the IHN is not compatible with the current management philosophies and strategies of other land management agencies and sections of the DEP, especially when all the conditions and requirements for these IHN lands are considered. The BMR’s regulatory presence and familiarity with the central Florida phosphate mining district, as well as the commitment and experience of its staff, render it uniquely qualified for the protection and production of vital greenspace within a rapidly urbanizing area.

In addition to being committed to providing basic management and protection of corridors and buffers within the IHN and southern mining region, the BMR is also committed to the development BMPs specific for mined lands reclaimed for environmental purposes, the development of a research/education center to address the use of reclaimed lands for semi-intensive and intensive agriculture, increasing public awareness and understanding of the benefits and goals of the Integrated Habitat Network/Coordinated Development Area, and the inclusion of the IHN/CDA concept by other agencies into land use review policies and procedures.

Lands in the IHN are predominantly stream and rivers with adjacent floodplains and some isolated reclaimed uplands, generally not appropriate for public use. However, as the public seeks additional venues for recreation, the BMR may relinquish its intensive habitat-related management activity to other land management agencies or branches within the DEP for human activity after ensuring the proposed land use’s compatibility with the IHN vision.

With the BMR’s long history of land management and planning, the integral nature of the IHN conceptual reclamation plan for the southern phosphate district, and legislative authorization for the BMR to provide basic management of lands included in the IHN, the BMR is committed to providing long-term “basic management” for the protection of corridors, habitat, and buffers as critical functions of the IHN. The DEP’s endorsement of the BMR’s efforts in the Integrated Habitat Network/Coordinated Development Area provides further support of the BMR’s role in active land management.

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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