Conservation property identified for land swap enables cleanup of contaminated land in St. Johns River
Jacksonville, Fla., February 18, 2019 – North Florida Land Trust has facilitated expansion of the Fort George Island Cultural State Park by identifying 14 acres on Fort George that could be used for mitigation. NFLT partnered with Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust to help identify the Fort George property for trade with the State of Florida in order to access and clean up a State-owned, 2.8-acre submerged land. In return for the submerged land, the State agreed to accept the Fort George property as conservation land that will be preserved for the future as a part of the state park.
“This particular piece of property is beautiful maritime hammock forest and salt marsh, which is a good, local fishery habitat and will serve as a good replacement for the contaminated (submerged) site,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “This really worked out for the best for everyone involved and this land will now be part of the state park for future generations to enjoy.”
Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust – court-appointed trustee of the Multistate Environmental Response Trust (the Multistate Trust) – assumed responsibility for cleanup of the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp – Jacksonville Superfund Site (the Site) as part of a bankruptcy settlement. The Site is located on the western side of the St. Johns River in the heavily industrialized Port of Jacksonville. In order to clean up Site contamination that has migrated into the sediments of the St. Johns River, the Multistate Trust had to acquire 2.8 acres of sovereign submerged lands owned by the State of Florida. In exchange for the submerged land, the Multistate Trust worked with NFLT to identify the Fort George mitigation land that could be transferred to the State.
“The dedication of the Fort George Island property to conservation and the acquisition of the submerged lands to support cleanup of contamination are a win-win for the environment and the citizens of Florida,” said Cindy Brooks, managing principal of the Multistate Trust and president of Greenfield Environmental Trust Group, Inc., which is the parent company of trustee Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust.
NFLT had earlier been contacted by the owner of the Fort George conservation land to explore NFLT’s interest in acquiring and preserving the property. The owner’s family had previously sold land on Fort George Island for conservation, and this was last parcel owned by the family. The 14-acre Fort George parcel consists of marsh land and two acres of forest, and it adjoins Fort George Island Cultural State Park.
NFLT was trying to identify funding for the acquisition when the Multistate Trust contacted NFLT about the availability of mitigation land that the State could accept in exchange for the State-owned, contaminated, submerged land in the St. Johns River.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that champions environmental protection in its primary, 10-county focus area of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. NFLT is also expanding its reach to the west of the state. 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, Moccasin Slough, 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 public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit www.northfloridalandtrust.org.
About Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust
Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust LLC is the court-appointed trustee of the Multistate Environmental Response Trust (Multistate Trust). The Multistate Trust was created in 2011 as part of the global Tronox bankruptcy settlement. The Multistate Trust’s primary mission is to protect human health and the environment in partnership with its beneficiaries. The Multistate Trust assumed responsibility for owning, remediating and facilitating reuse of hundreds of contaminated former Kerr-McGee sites in 31 states, at the request of the U.S. government, 22 state governments, and Tronox (formerly known as Kerr-McGee). The Multistate Trust is remediating the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp – Jacksonville Superfund Site in partnership with its beneficiaries: the United States, represented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Florida, represented by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Visit the Multistate Trust website.