The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reviewing the extensive inventory of state-owned conservation lands in an effort to assess each of the properties and to determine which have the highest conservation value. After this assessment, the DEP will then sell those lands with lesser value in order to purchase higher value land that protects springs, water resources and military installations. This assessment process was prompted when the 2013 Florida Legislature appropriated $20 million in funding for the Florida Forever Program, authorizing an additional $50 million in spending authority funded by the sale of state-owned lands no longer needed for conservation purposes.
Last week, the DEP held a workshop and webinars, in which a list of approximately 170 parcels totaling 5,330 acres was presented. These lands are scattered across 67 state forests, parks and other management units. Many of the 170 are smaller parcels although 44 are larger than 10 acres. Some of the lands being considered include 2,628 acres at Hilochee Wildlife Management Area (Polk County), 700 acres at the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Area (Martin County), and 246 acres at the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway (Marion County). The Cabinet eventually would have to approve the sale of conservation lands.
For more information on the land assessment process and additional links, please see: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/assessment/Maps.htm
Comments may be addressed to: ARC_mailinglist@dep.state.fl.us