New conservation area in Florida makes possible increased funding opportunities for Southwest Florida landowners to protect property in perpetuity

Conservation Foundation of Gulf Coast stands ready to assist interested landowners

This map shows the new conservation area in Florida. Image courtesy Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

The recent announcement of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) about the creation of a new, federally sponsored conservation opportunity — the Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area — comes with the offer of federal money for landowners willing preserve their property in perpetuity as part of that area, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has pointed out this week.

“Covering approximately 4 million acres across Southwest Florida,” this the new conservation area is located within portions of the Greater Everglades, the Caloosahatchee River, Fisheating Creek, Peace River and the Myakka River Watersheds, the Foundation notes in a news release. “The conservation area will protect a combination of working farms, ranches, wetlands, and forests,” and it will support the local economy, as well as efforts to improve water quality and protect “a wide range of wildlife and plant communities,” the release adds.

“Recognizing how generations of landowners have lovingly cared for this working landscape,” the Foundation is focusing on the fact that the money appropriated by Congress for the Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund can be used “to complement other county and state programs, increasing the number of conservation opportunities available to landowners interested in saving their land,” the release points out.

The not-for-profit Conservation Foundation, which is based in Osprey, “is an accredited land trust working to protect Southwest Florida’s land and water,” the release continues. “The Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area includes a large portion of Conservation Foundation’s service area,” the release notes; thus, “the organization is urging landowners with more than 50 acres within the specified area” to contact the Foundation to learn more about their options..

The Conservation Foundation works in partnership with landowners throughout the conservation process, “which is often complex,” the release adds. “Having a partner well-versed in available funding programs, application processes, conservation easement terms, and all the other ins and outs of land conservation is invaluable when negotiating to protect your land and legacy,” the release notes.

“Funding is extremely competitive and spots are limited,” the release adds. Landowners are encouraged to visit to learn more and then to “get in touch with a member of the Conservation Foundation team,” the release says.