The Nature Conservancy Receives USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Funding to Protect Lands in Everglades Headwaters
Maitland, FL | February 16, 2016
The Nature Conservancy in Florida has been awarded $3.7 million in funds from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for its Everglades Headwaters Longleaf Pine project. The funding will help secure conservation easements that will protect active and sustainable agricultural operations on lands that have longleaf pine habitat, critical to the quality and quantity of water within this vital landscape and watershed.
The Nature Conservancy has a long history of working directly with agricultural producers in the region to bring about tangible conservation results. This funding will enable The Conservancy to enroll landowners and producers in easement programs to ensure continued productive agriculture and promote the ongoing ecological integrity of the longleaf pine communities that impact water resources, plant communities, and wildlife habitat. The Conservancy and its governmental and private partners continue to work together to increase connected conservation areas. The funding will be used to support the completion of ongoing projects of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Florida Forever program), the Florida Forest Service’s Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, and Highlands and Polk counties land protection programs to conserve up to 15,000 acres of the watershed of the Everglades Headwaters that contribute flows downstream to Lake Okeechobee.
“Protecting lands critical to water resources throughout the state of Florida continues to be a key focus of The Nature Conservancy’s mission. This new funding will further our conservation efforts in the Northern Everglades aimed at protecting water resources for nature and people,” said Temperince Morgan, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida.
Efforts to conserve the mosaic of native and agricultural lands as well as a substantial portion of the Everglades Headwaters in central Florida, home to one of the most important assemblages of imperiled vertebrate wildlife in the state, has been a goal of The Nature Conservancy and local, state and federal agency funding partners for many years.
The Nature Conservancy in Georgia also received USDA funding last week for its conservation programs.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.