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What is the O2O?

The Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor (O2O) is a 100 mile long, 1.6-million acre, landscape of public and private lands that connect the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. The O2O includes priority lands for the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN), and is a significant part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. If the system of natural landscapes and connector lands is protected, the O2O will continue to provide habitat for Florida black bears and imperiled species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake and gopher tortoise.  In addition, there are opportunities for protecting iconic Florida ecosystems, including longleaf pine forests, sandhills, and scrub in the O2O.

 

HELP US MEET THE MATCH!

We are closing in on the EJK foundation challenge grant for the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor. We have until August 31 to accomplish the fundraising goal of $75,000 to meet the 1:1 match. We are very close to meeting that goal but we need your help.

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O2O Conservation: Connect and Protect

North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) is working with Camp Blanding to accelerate land conservation around the base to protect military training from incompatible land development, and protect imperiled species habitat. In addition, NFLT partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement the Longleaf Pine and Gopher Tortoise Working Lands for Wildlife programs in the O2O. To this end, NFLT and the O2O Partnership received an $3.56 million allotment of Farm Bill funds (RCPP) for O2O land conservation in 2018, and 9.3 million in 2020, this also includes land protection and improved conservation practices on private lands.

NFLT and O2O Partners successfully brought diverse funding sources to the table. Which will provide matching funds to the 9.3 million in the 2020 RCPP to the amount of $11,405,100. Providing the O2O with more than $20,000,000 to fund conservation. We are reaching out to O2O landowners to protect critical lands and promote conservation management practices. For more information on land acquisition and conservation easements contact Susan Carr, scarr@nflt.org. To read more on the 2020 RCPP click here.

Our goal is to protect 140,000 acres in the O2O Conservation Corridor in the next 20 years. A network of connected conservation lands benefit wildlife and natural resources, as well as assure ecological resiliency as our environment changes and our population grows.

 

What are the conservation benefits of building the O2O Wildlife Corridor?

  • Synergy of conservation programs: better coordination of conservation efforts among partner organizations including better landowner outreach and leveraging additional funding.
  • Protection of wildlife habitat and natural resources: enhanced conservation will help > 16 endangered and threatened species and wide-ranging mammals such as the Florida Black Bear.
  • Protection of working forestry: provide incentives for improved forest management for conservation and economic benefit
  • Preserving existing water quality: Preservation and improvement of the lands within the corridor will improve water quality within the numerous watersheds of the O2O.
  • Protect military mission and readiness: Increased land conservation in areas surrounding the military installation simultaneously protects natural resources and military training capacity.

 

What is the O2O Partnership?

The “Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Partnership” is a regionally unprecedented partnership of public agencies and private organizations working together toward a common goal – land conservation and protection of military mission in the O2O.  North Florida Land Trust is leading this Partnership – other partners include:

STATE

Camp Blanding / Florida National Guard

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Forest Service

St. John’s River Water Management District

Suwannee River Water Management District

Clay County Florida

FEDERAL

Department of the U.S. Navy

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Forest Service

NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS

Alachua Conservation Trust

Conservation Florida

Florida Trail Association

Florida Wildlife Corridor

North Florida Land Trust

North Florida Prescribed Burn Association

Putnam Land Conservancy

The Conservation Fund

The Nature Conservancy

 

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For more information, please contact:

Kimberly Tillman | Program Coordinator | ktillman@NFLT.org