With the political fate of Florida Forever in the spotlight, there is less attention paid to the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. This program is administered through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and compensates willing landowners who agree not to develop their land. Conservation easements funded through this program are important for wildlife habitat and natural resource conservation.
At the end of the legislative session, the House budget included 2.5 million to finance $25 million in bonds. However, there is NO program funding in the Governor's and Senate budgets. We ask you to specifically support increased funding for this program.
In his fact-centered article, CTF Greenways Program Research Scientist Tom Hoctor addresses the contention that Florida has enough conservation land. Dr. Hoctor makes it clear that we in fact may need much more, perhaps as much as 50% of the state's landmass.
For more than three decades, states Hoctor, Florida has led the nation in using science to identify the most important areas to protect. Many unprotected acres remain that are essential for conservation of biodiversity and to sustain human populations.
"As a starting point, we need to use Amendment 1 to revitalize the funding of our landmark Florida Forever program," said Hoctor. "There is no legitimate, science-based or economic argument against returning Florida Forever to a minimum annual funding of $300 million a year."
Read more about the extent and preservation of Floria's "Green infrastructure" in the Tampa Bay times.
In this issue of the Conservation Trust for Florida's newsletter, THE POST, read CTF President, Susan Carr's vision for the future of conservation in Florida. Through Board Member Lisa Gearen's article, you can travel with CTF on their recent visit to Adams ranch and its open spaces. You'll also see how you can support landscape-size conservation efforts in Florida, whether through direct donations or participation in events such as "Dancing with the Bears."