North Florida Land Trust has helped to protect more than 565 acres in Nassau County known as Little Tiger Island. Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved the property for acquisition through the Florida Forever Program. The property connects a network of protected lands and waters along the Florida-Georgia border from St. Andrew Sound in Georgia to the St. Johns River, which includes Fort Clinch State Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore and the Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserve.
NFLT facilitated much of the due diligence necessary to acquire the property and secured a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. The state will fund the remaining $1,965,000 purchase price. Once the purchase is complete, the State will own and manage the land.
“It is now or never for conservation in Florida, and we applaud Governor DeSantis and his Cabinet members for realizing the importance of saving our natural spaces,” said Allison DeFoor, president of NFLT. “We have been working to protect this property for years and are thrilled it will now be natural forever. Little Tiger Island is an important ecosystem for many plant and animal species and provides environmental benefits to the area.”
Little Tiger Island is made up of salt marsh and maritime forest. Its ecosystems serve as habitats for federally listed and candidate species including the gopher tortoise, West Indian manatee, wood stork, Atlantic sturgeon, and shortnose sturgeon. It is a critical habitat for wintering populations of the piping plover and has one of the highest nesting concentrations of the Worthington’s march wren and MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow.
The preservation of Little Tiger Island will help protect the area from the effects of climate change including flooding, erosion and storm surge. It will support fishing and tourism and could be open to passive recreational opportunities in the future. It will also protect nearby King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base from incompatible development.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life by protecting North Florida’s irreplaceable natural environment. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through the donation or purchase of land and conservation easements as well as facilitating government acquisition of important projects. 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.