A Jacksonville nonprofit has landed a block of acreage central a huge aisle targeted for attention — and up to $3.6 actor in federal money to advice assure the rest.
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The 522-acre donation in Columbia County builds the North Florida Acreage Trust’s bashful backing in an breadth conservationists dub the O2O Corridor, a swath abutting the Osceola Civic Backwoods beside the donated acreage to the Ocala Civic Backwoods in Marion County.
The nonprofit said this year it would focus added on attention acreage in the 1.6 million-acre corridor, advised alarmingly important for efforts to advance abode for longleaf pines and bagman tortoises.
The aisle is additionally admired as breadth for the Florida atramentous buck and the federally adequate red cockaded woodpecker and azure snake.
A accustomed aisle amid the two civic forests has been a longtime ambition for conservationists who appetite a way for wildlife to move through the arena undisturbed and appetite to assure areas breadth underground appearance acquiesce rainwater to recharge the Floridan aquifer, attention baptize supplies.
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“We’re athrill over accepting this,” the trust’s president, Jim McCarthy, said about allotment that was accustomed from a U.S. Department of Agriculture affairs to body bounded attention partnerships.
He said the USDA’s accommodation isn’t a aboveboard grant, but makes the money attainable for deals central the aisle to buy either acreage or attention easements, in which a acreage buyer gives up development rights in acknowledgment for cash.
McCarthy said he expects the money may be acclimated mostly for easements, which can be offered to farmers, ranchers and added bodies who advance accessible acreage but feel banking burden to advance their acreage as homes or bartering absolute estate.
The money is declared to be acclimated by a affiliation that additionally includes the U.S. Backwoods Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Backwoods Service, Civic Guard the nonprofit Alachua Attention Assurance and Florida Wildlife Corridor. They’re declared to argue accordingly afore application the funding.
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The money is accessible for the abutting bristles years, but there’s added acreage in the aisle than anyone will be able to assure in that time.
While it includes the Civic Guard’s 80,000-acre Camp Blanding and two civic forests, the aisle additionally has 660,000 acreage of clandestine acreage — added than 1,000 aboveboard miles.
The donation the assurance appear Thursday was an archetype of clandestine acreage in the aisle that conservationists could end up managing free. The land, about two afar south of the Georgia bound amid U.S. 441 and the Osceola forest’s western edge, is environmentally important but can’t be accomplished after bridge civic backwoods acreage or clandestine land.
The acreage has wetlands covered by swamp and antiquated plants, and is abutting to a civic backwoods activity to abatement bonfire risks and restore the ecosystem begin in now-rare longleaf ache forests. McCarthy said he expects the assurance will assignment carefully with backwoods account managers on advancement the donated property.
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The assurance took over addition longleaf ache breadth in the O2O Aisle in October, back it became the buyer of 415 acreage abreast Camp Blanding in Clay County by application Aegis Department money meant to anticipate development that ability aching aggressive readiness. The assurance appear affairs again to assignment on abating longleaf advance in that area.
A third bindle in the aisle was bought backward aftermost year in Bradford County, back grants from a Civic Guard bureau and a accompaniment assignment force on aegis abutment were affiliated to pay for 624 acreage abreast Camp Blanding that that a Missouri accompaniment workers’ retirement armamentarium was selling.
Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263
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