The nonprofit in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been awarded a $1 million grant
North Florida Land Trust and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program to preserve Little Tiger Island in Nassau County. The island is 981 acres of salt marsh and maritime forest and will expand Fort Clinch State Park. Important ecosystems on the island serve as habitats for federally listed and candidate species including the gopher tortoise, West Indian manatee, wood stork, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, piping plover and red knot.
“Little Tiger Island has been on our radar for years and we have made several attempts to acquire it in the past,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We have been working with the owners and have reached an agreement. We hope to use this grant to secure funding from the Florida Forever program to protect this environmentally significant property.”
The $1 million grant is expected to be matched with $1 million from the Florida Forever program along with additional funding from a private donor to reach the $2,070,010 needed to protect the island. The property will connect a network of protected lands and waters along the Florida-Georgia border. The national and state preserves and parks stretch from St. Andrew Sound in Georgia to the St. Johns River and include Fort Clinch State Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore and the Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserve.
Little Tiger Island was among 25 projects in 13 coastal states that were chosen to receive funding through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program which awarded more than $20 million in grants. These projects will protect, restore or enhance coastal wetlands by protecting the areas from the effects of climate change.
The preservation of Little Tiger Island will help protect the area against flooding, erosion and storm surge. It will safeguard the habitat of many species of fish, birds and other wildlife and will help support fishing and tourism. It could also be open to passive recreational opportunities in the future. Once acquired, Little Tiger Island will become part of Fort Clinch State Park and will be managed by the State of Florida’s Division of Recreation and Parks.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to protect the natural resources, historic places and working lands (farms and ranches) throughout north Florida. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations.