Gov. Ron DeSantis and Cabinet members agreed Thursday to buy and conserve more than 900 acres of land across the state at a combined cost of just over $11 million.
The land, which will be acquired with Florida Forever conservation funds, are 717 acres within the Wakulla Springs Protection Zone in Wakulla County, 129 acres in Charlotte County and the 57-acre Fish Island in St. Johns County. Fish Island, the most expensive of the proposals at $6.5 million, is one of the last remaining undeveloped waterfront properties in St. Augustine. Its history and possible future were detailed in WUFT’s 2018 series, “Peak Florida.”
The land in Wakulla County, south of Tallahassee, would require $4.2 million from the state. The property connects Apalachicola National Forest with the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Department of Environmental Protection officials said they are seeking $2.54 million from the Federal Forest Legacy to reduce the cost.
The Charlotte County site, which would cost about $396,000, consists of a 100-foot-wide former railroad right-of-way that extends 8.2 miles and bisects the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area. The cost to the state could be reduced by as much as 75 percent if the Department of Environmental Protection is successful in an application for Federal Wildlife and Sport Restoration funding.