NSF – With little comment, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday approved spending more than $9 million to protect 5,200 acres across five counties from future development. The deals will establish conservation easements on five agricultural properties totaling 3,367 acres. Such easements restrict future development while allowing landowners to continue using property for such things as agriculture.
A sixth land deal, for 1,901 acres in Marion County owned by Florida Power & Light, will use $3.05 million from the Florida Forever conservation program. The FPL land, comprised of 25 non-contiguous parcels along the Ocklawaha River, is listed in a staff report as providing habitat for such things as Florida black bears and scrub jays. The land may also help complete the Florida National Scenic Trail, a non-motorized trail that crosses several Florida Forever project sites.
Three of the conservation easements will also use Florida Forever money: $891,000 for 380 acres in DeSoto County; $1.35 million for 761 acres in DeSoto County; and $657,000 for 810 acres in Walton County. The remaining two easements deals draw money from the state’s Rural & Family Lands Protection Program: $1.6 million for 668 acres in Okeechobee County and $1.477 million for 748 acres in Highlands County.
(From the News Service of Florida)