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Florida's Conservation Programs
Nov 14th, 2017


Funding our state land conservation programs -- Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) – is crucial to the future of Florida and a sound economic decision. Investing in these programs is the most cost-effective way to protect our water and natural resources.

Background

Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP)
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program under Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. RFLPP’s primary mission is the protection of agricultural lands.

  • Acres enrolled inRural and Family Lands Protection Program Top Tier: 222,136 acres

Florida Forever
Florida’s conservation lands program under Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FF Program does BOTH fee-simple and conservation easements). The primary goals of Florida Forever conservation easements are to: protect high priority natural resource areas and ensure our water resources are protected.

  • Current acres on Less-Than-Fee Florida Forever Project list: 703,079 acres

 

What we are asking: 2019 Budget

  • Provide $100 million in funds for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program
  • Restore $100 million in funding for Florida Forever conservation easement projects

 

RFLPP and Florida Forever are critical to the health of the landscape; they both protect water quality and supply for urban areas, maintain our agricultural economy, protect Florida’s tourist economy and military base buffers. Both programs partner with other local, state and federal programs to leverage resources and maximize protection benefits. Funding these conservation easement programs is an investment in Florida's future and is critical to our quality of life.

  • We are losing natural/agricultural land at rate of 175,000 acres a year;
  • Private lands protect Florida’s water and natural resources;
  • These programs are the most cost effective way to preserve our water resources;
  • We can invest a little now or a LOT later to restore our watersheds;
  • Private lands protect drinking water supply and water quality/quantity to our urban areas;
  • Private lands critical to aquifer recharge;
  • Protection of water resources for fraction of cost of outright purchase;
  • RFLPP protects our food security and agricultural economy; Florida Forever protects our critical water resources;
  • Land stays on tax roles/private ownership;
  • Management costs responsibility of landowner

 

 

Conservation Easement on Corona Ranch Approved by Governor and Cabinet
Oct 17th, 2017


The Florida Conservation Group (FCG) is thankful to the Governor and Cabinet for approving a new 2500-acre conservation easement under the Rural and family Lands Protection Program. The Corona Ranch conservation easement is located in the Everglades Headwaters, just a stones throw from the Kissimmee River. We are grateful to our partners: the Corona Family, Audubon of Florida and the National Wildlife Refuge Association for all of their efforts to protect this ecologically valuable property. The Corona Ranch plays a critical role in our efforts to protect the Lake Okeechobee watershed, and the drinking water for millions of people in urbanized areas. The ranch contains significant wetlands that are crucial to Kissimmee river restoration efforts; ranchlands ability to hold and store water is an important and cost-effective tool in our collective Everglades restoration efforts.

Conservation Easements are the most economically viable option to protect Florida's land and water resources. FCG advocates for funding to protect Florida’s water, wildlife and way of life

 

 

Statement from the Florida Conservation Group on The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and Florida Forever Funding
March 29th, 2017


Florida's agricultural landowners are dismayed at the lack of support by the legislature for Florida’s land conservation programs. The House has not included funding for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) or funding for Florida Forever land protection projects in their proposed budget. The Senate has proposed zero funding for RFLPP and only 15 Million for Florida Forever land protection projects. The Florida Conservation Group represents well over a million acres of private lands from north to south Florida. As landowners invested in agriculture and the conservation of our great state, we fully support funding these conservation easement programs. The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and conservation easements under Florida Forever are crucial for Florida's future.  We are calling on legislators and our governor to fund these programs. We are asking for $100 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and $100 Million for Florida Forever; this is a sound investment for the health of our state.

Florida has always been a national leader in land protection. Conservation easements are the most economically efficient way to protect our natural resources. Our natural and agricultural landscape is disappearing at a rapid pace; the time to support these programs is now. We trust our state leaders will make economic and environmentally sound decisions and fund both of these nationally recognized programs this year. 

The protection of natural and agricultural lands is necessary for Florida’s economy and healthy communities. We spend over $10 billion to fund the Department of Transportation each year, and we can certainly spend $200 million to protect our land and water resources. These programs are needed to protect our state's water supply and quality, clean air, habitat and wildlife and maintain the agriculture that is a critical part of our state economy. Land protection isn't a luxury; it is vital to Florida’s future. Landowners across the state look forward to working with the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott to ensure the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and Florida Forever are funded.

 

 

 

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Florida Conservation Group is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Federal Tax ID number 47-1365766

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