(NSF) — The state Department of Environmental Protection has completed the acquisition of a pair of Florida Forever sites in Wakulla and St. Johns counties that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Cabinet agreed to buy for $10.7 million in July.
The department announced Friday the $4.2 million purchase of 717 acres within the Wakulla Springs Protection Zone Florida Forever project from the Ferrell family. The money includes $2.54 million from the U.S. Forest Service’s Federal Forest Legacy program. The land preservation effort is aimed at helping protect the Wakulla Springs basin south of Tallahassee. The property connects Apalachicola National Forest with the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. “This is a big win for Florida and Wakulla Springs,” Conservation Florida Executive Director Traci Deen said in a prepared statement. “Wakulla Caves is a North Florida gem that protects freshwater resources, offers world-class scuba diving and recreational opportunities, and solidifies a conservation corridor with key habitat for native plants and wildlife.”
A day earlier, the agency announced the completion of the $6.5 million purchase of the 57-acre Fish Island in St. Johns County. The land, within the Northeast Florida Blueway Florida Forever project, is one of the last remaining undeveloped waterfront properties in St. Augustine. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said the land is “essential for storm- and ground-water protection.” St. Augustine is expected to manage the land as a passive recreational park. The land, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, was one of Florida’s earliest commercial fruit plantations, known as “El Vergel” when owned by Jesse Fish and his heirs two centuries ago.
Source: News Service of Florida