Jacksonville, FL, December 08, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- North Florida Land Trust is pleased to announce they have purchased the first piece of property identified in their Preservation Portfolio. The land was among the 112,346 acres in their seven-county focus area that they deemed in critical need of preservation. The property was owned by Fletcher Management Company, a Jacksonville-based real estate developer. Fletcher reached out to NFLT after learning land they owned in St. Johns County was included in the organization’s targeted conservation area.
“This is a first step in reaching our goals of preserving these lands that provide valuable ecosystem services,” said Jim McCarthy, Executive Director of NFLT. “This is a great example of how we can work alongside developers to preserve land for future generations.”
The recently acquired land is two tax parcels that total 206 acres. The property has significant frontage on Sixmile Creek directly off the St. Johns River in St. Augustine and protects the forested uplands and the floodplain of the creek. The land is directly across the creek from the Outback Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant on County Road 13 North. It is a rich wetland ecosystem, which provides food and shelter for numerous birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. The property is densely populated by countless trees that tolerate fluctuating water levels from the creek and help filter nutrients and pollutants from the water. The acquired land is a portion of the more than 5,500 acres NFLT had identified as a preservation priority along Sixmile Creek.
NFLT has identified four tracts of land in St. Johns County that are in critical need of preservation. In addition to the Sixmile Creek land, NFLT is also interested in acquiring and preserving acreage in the Julington-Durbin Creeks, Guana River and agricultural lands in Hastings.
NFLT’s Preservation Portfolio identifies the most valuable 112,346 acres of land in Northeast Florida which provide significant ecosystem services, which are defined as services provided by the natural environment that would otherwise cost money. These lands provide the water we drink and the air we breathe, provide needed fisheries, prevent flooding, provide recreational opportunities and are critical to maintaining a healthy community. Preserving the land can reduce or eliminate the need for storm water drainage or sewage treatment facilities. The estimated cost to acquire all the land in the Preservation Portfolio is $216,516,934, but the ecosystems services value is $413,430,739.
NFLT developed the Preservation Portfolio using the North Florida Conservation Priorities, an adaptable database of natural resources in their operating area that the Land Trust completed last year. They looked at over three million acres in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties. These areas include an array of ecosystems; from coastal salt marshes and pine forests, to cypress swamps and everything in between.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a non-profit organization who serves as a champion of land conservation primarily in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns counties. NFLT was founded in 1999 and has protected thousands of acres of environmentally significant land including land at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill, Moccasin Slough, along the St. Mary’s River and other valued natural areas in Northeast Florida. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with private landowners and other public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit www.northfloridalandtrust.org.