Make your voice heard at an upcoming land surplus hearing! Everyone who has responded to our recent alerts on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Land Assessment process can be proud that their efforts have had big results.
The original surplus list containing 169 sites and roughly 5,300 acres has been reduced to 90 sites and 3,500 acres. Thanks to Audubon Advocates like you expressing your concerns to DEP, a lot of important wetlands, submerged lands and open water, and good wildlife habitat have come off the surplus list.
However, among the 90 sites and 3,500 acres remaining, there are still ecologically important lands - lands vital to the protection of water resources that need to be removed from the list. There is no way that many of these sites can be determined to be “no longer needed for conservation”, as required by the Florida Constitution and statutes.
Audubon Florida staff have identified 29 remaining sites which (at minimum) need to come of the list to protect important habitat, water resources, and natural areas. You can see Audubon Florida’s formal comments to DEP by clicking here. Of the tracts listed in our comments, only the Florida Keys tracts, John C. and Mariana Jones Wildlife Management Area, and Blue Springs State Park tracts have so far been removed.
In addition to the comments provided by Audubon Florida staff, you may be able to identify important natural resources on the other sites listed. To see the whole list, please click here.
Public hearings will be held beginning September 30 in Pensacola. Additional hearings will be held in Ft. Myers on October 3, Viera in Brevard County on October 8, and Orlando on October 9. The times and address for each hearing are listed below.
You will make the difference whether critically important tracts of land, such as 2,600 acres of the Green Swamp Area of Critical Concern (Hilochee Wildlife Management Area), the Wekiva springshed, and Cayo Costa and North Captiva Islands are preserved or put on the “auction block” for developers to buy.
Please make plans to attend one of these hearings, and let your voice be heard! If you plan on attending, let us know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.