Trust for Public Land, Southwest Florida Water Management District Protect Nearly 200 Acres of Florida Wildlife Corridor
Today, Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) have announced the protection of 191-acres outside the city of Dunnellon. This property’s acquisition completes the 2-mile Prairie management unit’s optimal management boundary and will be managed by the Florida Forest Service as an addition to the Withlacoochee State Forest.
The property, known as Jordan Ranch, contains high-quality wetlands and the associated uplands contribute to water quality and aquifer recharge. Protection of this tract will reduce the risk of flooding to the adjacent residential neighborhoods while protecting the areas water resources. It will also conserve important natural habitat for imperiled species like the Gopher tortoise and the numerous commensal species that utilize their burrows, as well as improve public recreational access to the state and district-owned Two-Mile Prairie State Forest in Citrus County. The acquisition of Jordan Ranch with TPL will provide protection of water resources to both Citrus and regional residents. In addition, the management of this property by the Florida Forest Service (FFS) will provide compatible resource based recreational activities similar to those currently managed at Two-Mile Prairie.
“As Florida continues to grow and develop, protection of our natural landscapes is more important than ever,” said Doug Hattaway, Southeast Conservation Director for Trust for Public Land. “Jordan Ranch not only ensure that iconic wetland ecosystems are preserved, safeguarding neighborhoods from flooding risk, it will also increase public access to hiking and bird watching.”
“This has been a great partnership between Trust for Public Land and the Florida Forest Service to protect and manage this important piece of conservation land for future generations,” said Brian Armstrong, Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “This is an important opportunity to protect wetlands and water quality while also providing additional flood protection and public recreational opportunities.”
Residents and visitors will have new access to a freshwater pond for water recreation. The property will be managed by the Florida Forest Service as an addition to the Withlacoochee State Forest.
“We are pleased to add the management of this property and its valuable natural resources to the Withlacoochee State Forest,” said Rick Dolan, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Withlacoochee is one of our largest and most diverse state forests, covering 164,000 acres across five counties.”
Funding for the project originated from the Florida Forever Program, which receives its funds from documentary stamp taxes paid with each property ownership transfer in Florida. Since the inception of the Florida Forever program in July 2001, the state has purchased more than 902,011 acres of land with approximately $3.3 billion.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.