Update: DEP Land Surplus Assessment Process

Update: DEP Land Surplus Assessment Process

Thanks to the comments of conservationists from all over Florida, the Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) has removed 51 properties from 22 parks or preserves comprising over 700 acres from the proposed surplus land list being formulated in its land assessment process.

DEP is starting to listen to the strong public outcry that Advocates like you are generating. It is time to redouble our efforts and make sure that everyone who in interested in protecting our state parks and lands bought under the Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever programs gets their comments to decision makers. For an example of a particularly effective comment, please click here to see a letter from former Florida Audubon President Clay Henderson concerning land proposed by DEP to be declared surplus in the Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park.

Over 160 tracts were originally nominated by DEP staff as possible surplus disposal candidates. The Florida Forever Coalition supports the sale of excess lands but only if they have no ecological, water resource, or recreational value. If DEP removes properties with those values from this list, the FFC supports the sale of lands with no conservation value to generate money for new land purchases.

The initial list of lands generated by a screening process has identified a number of properties appropriate to consider disposing of. However, even with the changes noted above, the draft list still contains many properties proposed for possible sale that should never be considered for disposal – properties which retain high wildlife and other environmental values which should remain in conservation.

All concerned about Florida’s Special Places, our state parks, preserves, beaches, water resources and wildlife should carefully look at this list and then click on the link to each listed property to see the aerial photos. Sites no longer under consideration for surplus are noted by red typeface. Judge for yourself whether the preliminary recommendations are appropriate for state parks and preserves that you know and love. When you have finished reviewing the sites, send your comments and objections directly to the Department of Environmental Protection at: ARC_mailinglist@dep.state.fl.us.

Audubon Florida has identified a number of properties on the list that we believe are particularly important to retain; properties with significant, water quality, wetland, water recharge, wildlife habitat, endangered species and other values, please click here to see their list.

Cross-posted from Audubon Florida News.