Legislative Contacts

  Senator Debbie Mayfield, Chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment & Gen Gov't https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S17 Legislative Aide:  Adrienne Cronebaugh(850) 487-5017cronebaugh.adrienne@flsenate.gov   Rep. Holly Raschein,Chair of House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4562 Legislative Aide:  Julio Rodriguez       (850) 717-5120           julio.rodriguez@myfloridahouse.gov     Full Senate Appropriations Committee (focus on RED unless you have a personal relationship with another member on the committee) Senator Rob Bradley, Chair           https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S5 Legislative Aide:  Taylor Ferguson     (850) 487-5005           ferguson.taylor@flsenate.gov                                                                                                                                                 Senator Wilton Simpson, Vice Chair                               https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S10 Legislative...

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Land Conservation Funding: Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP)

FDACS Legislative Budget Request: $32.6 million FCG ASK: 32.6 Million Since 2009 RFLPP has protected over 53,000 acres. Local and federal partners have contributed over 13 million in matching funds.   The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) is an agricultural easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service; it is designed to protect important agricultural lands through the acquisition of permanent land conservation easements; There are currently 237,000acres of land on the Tier 1 RFLPP...

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Florida Legislators: Land Conservation Funding: 2020 Legislative Session

  Legislators to contact regarding funding Florida Forever AND the FDACS Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. We are focused on the legislators below in red, but if you know folks on the committees listed at the bottom please contact them too. See Talking Points   Important Senate Contacts Senator Rob Bradley,Chair of Appropriations    https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S5 Legislative Aide:  Taylor Ferguson                               (850) 487-5005 ferguson.taylor@flsenate.gov   Senator Wilton Simpson,Vice Chair of Appropriations (next Senate President for 2021-2022 sessions) https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S10 Legislative Aide:  Patty Harrison                                                    (850)...

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Land Conservation Funding Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP)

FDACS Legislative Budget Request: $32.6 million Florida Conservation Group Request: $32.6 Million Federal funds can match the $32.6 Million budget request by Florida Department of Agriculture and essentially double the budget request.   • The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) is an agricultural easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service; it is designed to protect important agricultural lands through the acquisition of permanent land conservation easements; • There are currently 237,000 acres of land...

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United Voices for Land Conservation Funding

Members of the conservation, ranching, forestry and sportsmen’s communities have come together in our collective support for funding two critical land protection programs. The Florida Forever Program and The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program are both needed for protecting Florida's natural and agricultural lands. On this issue we have all joined together as one voice supporting funding these programs for all of us and future Florida generations.

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Ranchlands in southern Florida: A Low-Intensity Land Use.

Cow-calf operations in southern Florida are what we call a ‘low-intensity land use’. Florida’s ranchlands protect a vast amount of native habitat that is critical to the viability of many of our listed wildlife species. Ranchlands hold and filter water; the more we conserve these lands it negates the need to provide engineering ‘fixes’ down the road. After conservation lands, cattle ranches are the land use with the greatest environmental value in southern Florida. Ranchlands play a significant environmental role in the...

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Why are Florida’s ranchlands such a valuable land use?

Most of Florida ranchlands occurs in a historic region of south-central and southwest Florida where native dry prairie and other grassland savanna type ecosystems (including pine flatwoods) were the predominant landcover types; these landcover types are habitat to a myriad of threatened and endangered wildlife that have adapted to these ecosystems. The ranches of south Florida maintain a landscape that includes native prairie, other grassland and native ecosystems that still provide essential habitat for our wildlife species including the federally listed: crested...

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DURANDO OKEECHOBEE WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

The Florida Conservation Group is proud to be working with Business for Water Stewardship www.businessforwater.org and the Durando Family Ranches to implement a dispersed water storage project in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed. This project will store and clean water prior to entering the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, the Kissimmee River, and ultimately Lake Okeechobee. Thank you to our partners: Lefty Durando, Audubon Florida and National Wildlife Refuge Association for the assistance! And thank you to the Business for Water Stewardship for...

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NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

• ACEP provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits • NRCS helps landowners protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land and for working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture; • NRCS accepts ACEP applications on a continuous basis, but funding selections are typically made once a year. For general questions on NRCS conservation easements please contact: Roney Gutierrez Roney.Gutierrez@fl.usda.gov - 352-338-9502 Wetlands Reserve...

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NRCS Agricultural Land Easement Program (ALE)

Several NRCS programs are available to landowners interested in land conservation, including the Agricultural Land Easement Program (ALE). The ALE is a partnership program and is geared for working landscapes. NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. The ALE program will provide up to 50% match for working agricultural lands and 75% where there are grasslands of special significance. NRCS does not purchase these easements, rather...

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NRCS Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE)

WRE’s are critical to the protection of Florida’s water resources. WRE’s PREVENT further decreases in water quality through land protection and ADDRESS water quality issues by restoring wetlands so they can hold and clean water before it reaches our coastal estuaries. Several NRCS programs are available to landowners interested in land conservation, including the Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE).WRE’s purchases conservation easements on degraded or former wetlands in need of restoration. Wetlands that have been converted into other agricultural uses are prioritized....

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Conservation Partners Project Underway in Southwest/South-central Florida

A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partners Grant The Conservation Partners Project (CPP), funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is underway in Florida. This innovative partnership between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Florida Conservation Group seeks to protect habitat on private lands and restore wetlands in Southwest and South-central Florida. The project provides outreach, education and technical assistance to landowners who are smaller, disadvantaged and historically underserved. The work will focus on outreach and identification...

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Watch Video | Florida’s Land Conservation Programs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUJ9V-Sed_E&feature=youtu.be

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Watch Video | Ranchlands and Our Water; Conserving Our Natural Resources

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wHtAW8M2IQ&feature=youtu.be

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Please watch and share this brief video on Florida’s Land Conservation Programs and the importance of Florida’s ranchlands to our water resources.

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Florida’s legislative session ends NEXT WEEK and there is NO funding for Rural and Family Lands Protection Program in the budget!

Please call or email the legislators below–ESPECIALLY if you have a personal relationship! Let them know you support funding Rural and Family Lands and Florida Forever.     Senators to Contact:   Senator Wilton Simpson     https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S10 Legislative Aide:  Patty Harrison                     (850) 487-5010 harrison.patty@flsenate.gov   Senator Debbie Mayfield                                                                                       https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S17 Legislative Aide:  Adrienne Cronebaugh         (850) 487-5017           cronebaugh.adrienne@flsenate.gov   Senator Bobby Powell https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S30 Legislative Aide:  Tomas Alcala                     (850) 487-5030 alcala.tomas@flsenate.gov   Senator Ben Albrittonhttps://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S26 Legislative Aide:  Andrew Liebert                  (850) 487-5026 liebert.andrew@flsenate.gov   Senator Aaron Bean                                                                       ...

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Land Conservation Funding in Danger! Your Voice is Needed!

We applaud Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their strong commitment to fix Florida’s water quality problems. We strongly believe that an approach to address blue-green algae blooms and red tide must also begin at the source, by protecting landscapes that can hold and clean water before it flows into our rivers and coastal estuaries Currently there is 45 Million in the Senate budget for Florida Forever and ZERO for Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP). The House has 20...

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NRCS Conservation Easement Programs: Accepting Applications until April 25th!!

The application cycle for NRCS Conservation Easement Programs is still open. NRCS accepts ACEP applications on a continuous basis, but funding selections are typically made once a year. Please submit your applications by April 25thto be considered for this year’s funding!   For general questions on NRCS conservation easements please contact: Roney Gutierrez Roney.Gutierrez@fl.usda.gov 352-338-9502 If you are interested in pursuing a Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) please contact: Crenel Francis Crenel.francis@fl.usda.gov  352-338-9508 If you are interested in the Agricultural Land Easement Program (ALE), or...

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Florida Ranchlands: Protecting Our Watersheds

Simple, Efficient and Effective Land conservation is essential for achieving watershed protection goals. Protecting high-quality habitat means CATCHING and KEEPING rain right where it falls and prevents water from rapidly running off into our estuaries and other water bodies. Land conservation doesn’t require pumping or building infrastructure. It is Simple, Efficient and Effective! Florida Ranchlands Hold and Filter Water Cattle ranches are a primary (and low intensity) rural land use in the watersheds of southern Florida; they provide essential wildlife habitat and...

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NRCS Conservation Easement Programs Update: 1/25/2019

The application cycle for funding NRCS Conservation Easement Programs is still open. NRCS accepts Conservation Easement applications on a continuous basis (please note that program requirements and forms are subject to change as guidance is provided for implementation of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018). For general questions on NRCS conservation easements please contact: Roney Gutierrez Roney.Gutierrez@fl.usda.gov 352-338-9502 If you are interested in pursuing a Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) please contact: Crenel Francis Crenel.francis@fl.usda.gov (352) 338-9508 If you are interested in the...

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