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Florida Forever DEP

The Florida Forever program that is administered by the Division of State Lands, Department of Environmental Protection, receives $105 million/year—funding being dependent on an annual appropriation by the Governor and Florida Legislature.  The program accepts applications twice each year (January and July), and new proposals go through a careful, six-month evaluation process.  An 11-member advisory council called the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) comprising 6 citizen members and representatives from DEP, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Forestry, Division of Historical Resources, and Department of Community Affairs evaluates and ranks proposals recommending the most worthy to an acquisition priority list.  The December 2008 Florida Forever—DEP Priority list includes 109 projects.  The overall value of lands on the priority list is many times more than available funding will acquire, so acquisition is through a competitive process.  Florida Forever is a willing seller program—State agents negotiate with landowners for the purchase of property, and landowners have the right to decline state offers.

A strength of the Florida Forever program is the sound science underlying the identification, evaluation and prioritization of projects to accomplish state needs.  A Conservation Needs Assessment  was prepared before Florida Forever began to guide the program’s decisions.  The Assessment provides baselines against which progress can be measured; identifies priority lands to meet conservation needs; identifies lands that meet multiple conservation needs; and clearly and continuously tracks and documents progress (Natural Resource Acquisition Progress Report).

 

Visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection website

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