DeSantis approves two expansive purchases for conservation program

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the purchase of two pieces of land through Florida Forever. One is north of Gainesville and the other is in Sarasota County – both are a win for the state conservation program.

Kelly Vecere splits her time between her homes in Minnesota and Southwest Florida.

“I bought a one-way ticket in January,” Vecere said. “Love it here.”

But, Vecere is not the only one who loves it, which is why people look to protect it.

“The protection of our environment and vital water resources,” DeSantis said, “is one of the most pressing issues facing our state.”

Nicole Iadevaia, research and outreach manager for Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, said most of the purchases are for the preservation of land in the upland areas of Florida and will be beneficial for downstream areas.

One of the most recent land acquisitions is Orange Hammock Ranch in North Port. At one time, developers hoped to build a larger community – instead, thanks to the state’s Florida Forever program, that will never happen here.

Florida Forever money will cover $19.5 million towards the purchase of the land. The conservation foundation still needs to raise $1.5 million to help acquire the property.

“Water doesn’t really follow municipal boundaries,” Iadevaia said. “Protecting land up in the Myakka River watershed will benefit users downstream in Charlotte Harbor and elsewhere as well.”

That decision to our north will protect our area and the land for generations to come and beyond.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Vecere said.

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