A conservation team led by the North Florida Land Trust is getting more than $3.5 million in federal funding to help protect the Ocala to Osceola wildlife corridor, which is also known as O2O.
The corridor runs from the Ocala National Forest in Central Florida north to the Osceola National Forest between Jacksonville and Lake City. It includes the area around Camp Blanding in Starke.
According to the Trust, it is home to 34 federally threatened and endangered species that include red-cockaded woodpeckers, indigo snakes and gopher tortoises.
The plan is to use the new money to acquire conservation easements on 100-thousand acres of privately owned land over the next five years.
Conservation easements protect fragile plant and animal habitats by preventing the landowners from developing their property.
The non-profit North Florida Land Trust focuses its conservation efforts on ten counties including Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns.