A valuable conservation corridor for wildlife and water protection and a strategic military buffer in northeast Florida was protected today when the Governor and Florida cabinet approved an important acquisition of 1,578 acres of the Camp Blanding – Raiford Greenway Florida Forever project. The site buffers the Florida Army National Guard training installation.
“This is a wise use of state and federal funds, blending conservation benefits with base buffering strategies,” said Nature Conservancy Executive Director Shelly Lakly of today’s approval. More than 70 percent of the purchase price was funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative – a federal funding program designed to partner with states and non-profits to protect military installations with conservation buffers. Lt. Gov. Carroll spoke in support of the project citing the economic value of protecting Camp Blanding and the essential training it offers to our Florida Guard.
The Nature Conservancy applauds this cooperative project and the support it has received from Gov. Scott, Lt. Gov. Carroll, the DOD, the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Cabinet. Many of Florida’s military installations are threatened by the encroachment of incompatible development that could surround bases and impact base operations critical natural habitat. The conservation easement and fee acquisitions that protect military missions made possible by the Florida Forever Program, administered by DEP, and the purchase of conservation easements over working agricultural lands under the Rural and Family Lands program, administered by the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, can prevent this encroachment.
“Maintaining Florida’s diverse fish, plant, wildlife and water resources for people and the state’s economic growth requires a deliberate and cooperative approach, and this project exemplifies that,” Lakly said.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Florida