Ichetucknee River Parcel Donated (FL)

LAKE CITY – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has acquired and donated to the state a 1.4 acre parcel just south of Lake City as part of its Ichetucknee Springs Initiative. This is the second purchase TPL has made to protect the water quality of the Floridan Aquifer and preserve one of Florida’s oldest attractions — Ichetucknee Springs.

The parcel is located near the corner of two state roads (State Road 47 and 250) and includes the northwestern portion of the half-acre Rose Sink, a sinkhole that connects to an underground system of limestone caves and channels through which the Floridan Aquifer flows and which ultimately feeds the seven springs making up the Ichetucknee system. Once destined for commercial development, the property and its connection to the crystalline waters of the Ichetucknee was donated by the Trust for Public Land to the State of Florida. Two manufactured homes, along with two power poles and a potable water well, were removed from the site.

“This is the second acquisition by TPL to protect the Ichetucknee watershed ,” said Greg Chelius, TPL’s Florida director. “The area is under constant threat of development and we hope to continue to work as partners with the state to preserve this environmental jewel for all Floridians.”

The first land acquisition was the Reagan Property, acquired by TPL on August 12, 2002. The Reagan property is directly south of this second acquisition, the Williams tract.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) will use the Williams tract jointly. DOT plans to construct a stormwater retention pond on a portion of the property to trap stormwater that currently flows from commercial properties and heavily-traveled State Road 47, over the Williams tract, directly into Rose Sink. DEP’s Division of Recreation and Parks will manage the property as part of the Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

“This acquisition is another important step in the state’s efforts to protect the Ichetucknee basin and Florida’s rivers and springs,” said DEP Secretary David B. Struhs. “Through partnerships like this, we can further this administration’s commitment to springs’ protection.”

TPL began its Ichetucknee initiative in 2001 after receiving a private donation of $1.25 million for this purpose. In association with the donation, TPL was asked by DEP’s Division of State Lands to pursue acquisition of lands in the Ichetucknee Basin that the state has been unable to secure. DEP identified these acquisitions as priority projects under the state’s Conservation and Recreation Land acquisition program and placed them on the active acquisition list. Lands protected through this initiative are purchased by TPL using the donated funds, and then donated to the state.

The Williams property was acquired by TPL on January 24, 2003, and conveyed to the state three days later.