More than 600 acres of environmentally sensitive land will be preserved
Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 27, 2018 – North Florida Land Trust is pleased to announce they have acquired 687-acres within their Putnam Lakes Preservation Priority Area. The property, known as the Putnam Lakes Preserve, is located southeast of Hawthorne and is bordered on the south by Little Orange Creek. The land is also partially within the Ocala to Osceola, or O2O wildlife corridor, which extends from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest. The property is also their first acquisition in Putnam County.
The property is made up of variety of natural features including ephemeral ponds, sandhill lakes and longleaf pine. The characteristics of the natural landscape makes it a recharge area for the Floridan aquifer. Protecting this property from development and intensive land use will benefit freshwater supply and may also be beneficial for several rare species including the striped newt, gopher frog and gopher tortoise.
“We identified this property in our Preservation Portfolio as an area critical for preservation because of all the ecosystem benefits it provides,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We were able to work quickly to preserve this environmentally sensitive land and we are grateful to those that made it a reality.”
The acquisition of Putnam Lakes Preserve was made possible through funding from an anonymous donor, the River Branch Foundation, The Spurlino Foundation and a loan from The Conservation Fund.
NFLT’s Preservation Portfolio identified the most valuable 112,346 acres of land in critical need of preservation within the organization’s seven-county focus area. The conservation values of these lands include a variety of ecosystem benefits including aquifer recharge, flood regulation, water filtration and protection of rare, threatened or endangered species and habitats. In Putnam County, the team pinpointed more than 15,000 acres for preservation which included 3,337 acres in the Putnam Lakes Preservation Priority Area.
Putnam Lakes Preserve will serve as an anchor property within the portfolio area from which NFLT will continue to conserve property within the highly vulnerable aquifer recharge area to protect future water supply.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a nonprofit organization who serves as a champion of environmental protection primarily in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. NFLT was founded in 1999 and has protected thousands of acres of environmentally significant land including property at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill, Keystone Lakes Area, Sixmile Creek, along the St. Mary’s River and other valued natural areas predominantly in Northeast Florida. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with private landowners and other public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit www.northfloridalandtrust.org.