North Florida Land Trust would like to congratulate the State of Florida for the acquisition of 565 acres in Nassau County known as Little Tiger Island. The State officially closed on the property last week using $965,000 in funds from the Florida Forever program, along with a $1 million grant that NFLT helped secure from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
“It is always great to be part of something like this that protects Florida’s natural spaces because it is now or never,” said Allison DeFoor, president of NFLT. “Our team helped with much of the due diligence to preserve this property. We worked long and hard for years to make sure this land would be protected and now it will be preserved for future generations to come.”
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved the property for acquisition in January. The 565 acres of salt marsh and maritime forest 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.
Protecting Little Tiger Island provides benefits to the environment, economy and nearby military installments. It helps protect the area from climate change effects such as flooding, erosion and storm surge. It protects nearby King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base from incompatible development and supports fishing and tourism.
Little Tiger Island is also an important ecosystem for many plant and animal species including the gopher tortoise, Indian manatee, wood stork, Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon. It is a nesting spot for the Worthington’s march wren and MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow and a critical winter stop for the piping plover.
NFLT plans to host a gathering in Fernandina Beach soon to celebrate the conservation of this important natural space.
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.