Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have approved purchasing nearly 21,000 acres of conservation land as part of a partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Trust for Public Land and landowner M.C. Davis.
The department will contribute $10.2 million of the Florida Forever fund; the U.S. Department of Defense will contribute $1.75 million as part of the 2013 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program Challenge; and Eglin Air Force Base will contribute $550,000.
The purchase completes the Seven Runs Creek Florida Forever Project started in 2010 when North Nokuse Plantation and the Seven Runs Creek project combined. The project was added to the Florida Forever priority list because of its groundwater recharge benefits and ability to protect 14 rare species, including the Florida black bear, gopher tortoise, Florida pine snake, Pine Barrens treefrog and eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It also provides additional buffer for Eglin Air Force Base.
The REPI program funds cost-sharing partnerships for the military with state and local governments and private conservation organizations to address the need for compatible land use and conserved natural landscapes in support of military readiness.