More than 1,100 acres of environmentally sensitive land in Putnam and Clay counties are now under the protection of the North Florida Land Trust.
The president of the Land Trust, Jim McCarthy, said the nonprofit has acquired a nearly 700 acre parcel known as the Putnam Lakes Preserve as well as a parcel near Keystone Heights and Camp Blanding in Clay County.
“These are 2-big wins in terms of water quantity and water quality,” said McCarthy.
He said that’s because the properties filter storm water before it gets to the Floridan aquifer, which is the source of fresh water for most Floridians.
“Water percolates through the sand, through the soil and through the rocks, so it gets purified as it goes through and it increases the amount of water that’s in the aquifer,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says the properties are also home to a number of rare and threatened animal species including the striped newt, the gopher frog and the Eastern indigo snake.
He said an added bonus is protecting the land around Camp Blanding prevents development from encroaching on the military’s training facility.