April 15, 2020 – The New Smyrna Beach City Commission voted unanimously to enter into a contract with North Florida Land Trust to assist with the Turnbull Creek Land preservation program. The city wants to preserve the land surrounding Turnbull Creek to keep it free from development to protect the waterway, wildlife habitats and natural lands. NFLT will manage the Turnbull Creek real estate transactions for the City, including negotiating with landowners for the purchase or donation of land surrounding the creek.
“We are excited for this opportunity to assist the City of New Smyrna Beach in its quest to preserve Turnbull Creek,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “Preserving the land surrounding the creek will preserve natural spaces and historic resources, and will also help protect not only the creek’s water quality but Spruce Creek, the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean where the creek’s water eventually flows.”
The Turnbull Creek watershed is nestled between the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve, Canaveral National Seashore and the complex of conservation lands surrounding Spruce Creek. Protection of land within the watershed, which includes a mix of hardwood upland forest, cabbage palm hammock, and forested wetlands, will contribute to the tapestry of conservation lands in the region, and provide habitats for a variety of species. It also has historic significance. The Turnbull Canal system is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The canal system dates back to the 1700s when New Smyrna Beach was founded by Dr. Andrew Turnbull.
Currently, the land targeted for preservation consists of six parcels owned by four individuals. NFLT will work directly with the landowners to negotiate agreements for the purchase of the properties and manage the real estate process in coordination with the City.
NFLT partners with local, state and federal governments to provide services for conservation initiatives. They are currently working with the Suwannee River Water Management District, Nassau County and the City of Fernandina Beach. They are also in discussions with several counties and municipalities for both real estate and conservation planning services.