Florida Forever

John Moran

Environmentalists unhappy with Florida lawmakers are vowing to keep fighting over this year’s lack of funding for land acquisition under the state’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment.

The activist group — 1000 Friends of Florida — said Wednesday it plans to make conservation funding a priority in the 2018 legislative session.

A key component of the strategy involves mobilizing the citizenry, says the group’s Ryan Smart.

The Florida Legislature might vote to stop allocating money to the Florida Land Acquisition Trust Fund in the upcoming budget.

However, Jim McCarthy, chair of the North Florida Land Trust, said this goes against Amendment 1, which was passed by Florida voters by more than 70 percent in 2014, and shared his concerns about the issue Tuesday on First Coast Connect.

Sean Lahav / UNF's Environmental Center

Updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday

On the wall behind Jim McCarthy’s desk hangs a large photograph of a skeletonized tree trunk resting on the iconic Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island State Park.

“That beach is important,” said McCarthy, president of North Florida Land Trust. Since 2012, the nonprofit organization has preserved most of the over 1,000 acres of privately owned land on the island. The project, which protects migratory birds’ layover spots and diamondback terrapins’ dwellings, is largely financed by a private fund.


Lindsey Kilbride

A Northeast Florida state senator is trying to get more environmental dollars flowing toward the St. Johns River.

He’s proposing $35 million more for projects along the river that flows from Central Florida to Jacksonville.


Lawmakers recently settled on a $77 billion budget this year, but with very little money set aside for the state’s land conservation program. Environmentalists said it’s a perfect example of why a constitutional amendment ensuring funding each year is needed.

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