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Water-Related News

State of Florida finalizing list of conservation lands it might sell

By Jessica Palombo

Preserving the Upper St. Marks River Corridor has been on the Florida Forever high-priority list for state acquisition for 10 years. State money for land conservation has been tight in recent years. By the end of the month, the state of Florida will release a list of public lands it’s considering selling. This year’s state budget requires the state to sell some property before it can purchase an equally valuable amount of conservation land.

This year’s budget allows the state to purchase up to $70 million dollars’ worth land to protect, but only if it first sells $50 million dollars’ worth of land. Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Pat Gillespie says the state will put the highest priority on protecting water quality and springs. He says before any of the state’s nearly 5 million acres of conservation land is sold, it’ll all go through a scoring process according to criteria developed by by groups including the Nature Conservancy and the Florida League of Cities and then run through a scoring model developed by the environmental conservation group, the Trust for Public Land.