FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On October 25, 2016, the Florida Cabinet approved the protection of approximately 11,000 acres in southeastern Leon County to forever buffer that portion of the historic St. Marks River. Additionally, the Cabinet placed perpetual conservation easements over the Lake Hatchineha Ranch and Peleaz and Sons tracts, in Polk and Okeechobee Counties respectively, to preserve ranchlands and protect open space and water quality. The Federation is delighted that the Cabinet, comprised of Governor Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, CFO Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi, have put the state back into the business of conserving our precious natural resources in the face of an increasing human population and water pollution.
“We are very pleased with the actions of the Cabinet. These approved projects will help to safeguard our water and keep working lands in production while still providing environmental benefits” stated Preston Robertson, Florida Wildlife Vice-President and General Counsel.
The funding for these projects came from the Florida Forever program, the successor to the Preservation 2000 program started by Governor Bob Martinez and continued under Governors Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. In 2014, 75% of Florida voters approved a Constitutional Amendment to secure this funding for the next 20 years. It is hoped that these important acquisitions are a sign of things to come as we strive to keep Florida a special and sustainable place to call home.