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Management Plan for the Integrated Habitat Network / Coordinated Development Area: Lease Nos. 3963, 3995, and 4236
Section 378.035(6)(a), Florida Statutes authorized the use of up to one-half of the interest income annually for basic management of lands within the IHN from the $30 million reserved in the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund. This reserved amount was increased to $50 million through legislation enacted by the Legislature and Governor in 2001. These monies are available to the DEP annually to fund basic management or protection of reclaimed, restored, or preserved phosphate lands: (1) which have wildlife habitat value as determined by the BMR; (2) which have been transferred by the landowner to a public agency or private, nonprofit land conservation and management entity in fee simple, or which have been made subject to conservation easement; and, (3) for which other management funding options are not available. These funds may, after the basic management or protection has been assured for all such lands, be combined with other available funds to provide a higher level of management for such lands.
Other possible funding sources include Conservation and Recreation Lands , Florida Forever P2000, Department of Transportation, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program-Restoration Partners Grant, water management districts, acquisition programs, mitigation projects, and environmental organizations, depending on the intended use of the funds and the requirements of the organization. Potential revenue sources include payments for agricultural leases, natural gas pipeline leases, recreational user feeds, timber leases, etc.
The Legislature and Governor approved a $200,000 appropriation in the 2001/2002 Department of Environmental Protection’s portion of the State budget. Basic land management activities scheduled in 2001/2002 for that appropriation included:
Basic management activities conducted in the years following the initial appropriation have been similar to those carried out in 2001/2002.
An analysis of the potential use of contractor services for management and restoration activities was conducted as part of the development of this IHN management plan. The activities that were considered for outsourcing to private entities included: surveying, road development and maintenance, prescribed burning, vegetation inventories, timber harvesting activities, public contact and education, and exotic species control. Although some of these activities will be contracted, results of the analysis revealed that existing BMR personnel were extremely qualified to perform the majority of the required land management activities on the IHN lands. In fact, BMR staff has conducted prescribed burns, GIS/GPS surveys of existing resources, exotic species control operations, and hosted educational opportunities for the public on its leased properties. Other measures that have been considered and implemented wherever possible to minimize the costs of basic land management activities include: fencing only those areas where infringements from off-site sources continue to occur; minimizing the use of boundary markers wherever possible (such as along boundaries of state- or county-owned or –managed lands); and, using volunteers whenever possible and appropriate in maintenance and monitoring activities.
BMR staff possesses considerable education and experience in land management as well as numerous other disciplines. The “core” of the BMR land management group in Tallahassee is comprised of highly skilled personnel who are directly involved in plan development, contract supervision, regulatory oversight, and property additions to the IHN. The “support” group of highly experienced BMR employees in the Homeland location concentrates on providing the practical but highly important management activities on its leased properties, such as conducting prescribed fires, controlling nuisance and exotic vegetation, growing and promoting the use of native plant species, mowing, fencing, conducting storm clean-up efforts, etc. The BMR employees in Homeland also assist the Tallahassee staff with the responsibilities and duties of the Mandatory Phosphate, Mandatory Nonphosphate, Nonmandatory Reclamation, and Financial Responsibility Sections. The BMR land management group in Homeland provides informed assistance with management tasks for leased properties, DSL records experience, GIS support, and considerable State Lands, budgetary, and legislative guidance and support. In those areas where outside assistance may be required for restoration or management activities, the Homeland-based BMR land management staff also has access to and is part of an extensive network of land managers throughout the phosphate-mining region and the State who can provide additional information and assistance upon request. Cooperative efforts with local agencies and environmental groups have been employed on numerous occasions by BMR staff in Homeland for management activities on IHN lands.
Last updated: June 30, 2015
2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)