What Florida's Conservation Plan Means For Landowners

December 12, 2022   |   Conservation Easements

The Florida Wildlife Corridor adds to its aggressive 18 million acre protection plan.

Protecting Florida’s natural flora and fauna has always been top-of-mind for the state’s legislature and government officials. Following the tragedies of hurricanes Ian and Nicole, conservation has become an even more pressing issue as state residents scramble to preserve what is left. Lindsey Liles of Garden & Gun Magazine wrote a fascinating piece on Florida’s ambitious conservation plan that would help mitigate these negative impacts.

Conservation is not a new concept to Floridians. For decades, Florida legislators have pushed for the conservation of the state’s natural resources and the protection of its unique wildlife. More recently, the State passed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act in 2021 with the ambitious goal of protecting eighteen million acres across the state. The Corridor, while having already existed, now hosts plans that protect the acreage from future development.

By identifying key green spaces, it seeks to balance the needs of future development with those of wildlife,” Liles states, “and it can provide benefits to the public and the economy.”

Earlier this year, the Florida legislature approved seven additional properties to be added to the Corridor’s roster. Totaling nearly 20,000 acres, these parcels would serve as a key cornerstone in the furtherance of this connected land network. SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler is proud to have been a part of this recent acquisition. Just this past fall, Dean Saunders, Founder and Managing Director of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler, assisted in the $7.75 million conservation deal in Central East Florida that would make up one of the seven parcels designated by the State. Abington Preserve’s 3,600 acres of habitual landscape is now protected by conservation easements through the Florida Forever Project.

The acquisition of these seven land parcels affects every Florida resident and their future generations,” said Saunders, “The intent is not to tear down already existing rural communities, but to protect Florida’s rich biodiversity that has yet to be developed.”

SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler hopes to continue working with organizations like Florida Forever and the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program who were key contributors to the August 2022 acquisition. Conservation has always been at the heart of our efforts as Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM was one of the leading legislatures that helped conceptualize the idea of Florida’s conservation easement program back in the 1990s. It was Dean’s life work that would spur the protection of millions of Florida’s natural acreage through means of conservation easement.

Florida landowners should pay close attention to these developments. As this aggressive plan continues to thrive, more and more benefits are being allocated to those landowners who choose to sell their development rights. Not only does these benefits provide immediate utility to landowners, but the future benefits of their heirs and subsequent generations is far more valuable than any plans of development could offer.

About Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM

As an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and a member of the Florida Legislature from 1992 to 1996, Dean spearheaded the action to establish the Green Swamp Land Authority. As a result of his efforts, the very first Florida state agency was created to purchase development rights from landowners. His work was instrumental in the successful passing of the law requiring Florida state agencies to purchase a specific number of conservation easements each and every year. Selling your land as a Florida conservation easement is recommended to real estate clients when the property has the qualified features, meets guidelines, and the landowner desires a way to keep the property from major development for generations to come.

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Conservation Easement Primer

Written by Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM
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Dean Saunders
Throughout his career, Dean has carried a deep passion for Florida land and conservation easements. During his time in the US Senate as Agricultural Liaison, Special Assistant, and Director of External Affairs, he fought for private property rights in tandem with the conservation of the Flor...