Alachua County commissioners start budget building with environmental conservation in mind

Alachua County commissioners start budget building with environmental conservation in mind
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Alachua county commissioners agree that buying conservation lands is a key part of the county’s environmental protection five-year plan.

“31% of the state of Florida is currently protected, we’re at 21%,” said Director of the land conservation office, Charlie Houder. “We have the largest acreage under conservation easement of any county in the state of Florida.”

Although, conservation comes at a cost and charlie Houder said 46,000 more acres are needed to reach 30%. Acquisition plays a part in a developing climate action plan by the county but conservation lands cost $31 per acre to maintain. There’s more than 22,000 acres in the area.

RELATED STORY: Alachua County Commissioners approve budget for climate action plan

The results of an on-going climate vulnerability analysis will help staff map out costs for conservation initiatives but it includes more than just that.

“Regardless of that, I think this will give us a foundation to be able to make better policies and it’ll dovetail I think really nicely into our vulnerability analysis that we’re doing to sort of think about food security and you know, development pressure and resiliency and strategic planning for our county,” said Commissioner Anna Prizzia.

A motion unanimously passed directing staff to draft a letter to the legislature asking for up to five percent of amendment one state funds for county land acquisition and maintenance.

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