NFLT’s core mission is supported by the Preservation Fund. The Preservation Fund enables NFLT to act upon a conservation opportunity with immediacy. Development of this fund for acquiring and stewarding conservation land is also an innovative and efficient way to fundraise in a way that assures donors of their direct support of our mission. The Preservation Fund directly supports the acquisition and protection of essential conservation lands within the seven counties we serve. The fund provides NFLT flexibility and agility in choosing the highest priority projects, such as NFLT’s saltwater marsh initiative, DEI properties, and water quality improvement. Additionally, after the land is protected, NFLT has an ongoing responsibility, both financially and in practice, to steward that land forever and the Preservation Fund ensures NFLT has the resources to do so.
Preservation Priority Areas
In January 2023, the NFLT Leadership Team presented six new, large scale, principle-based, funding- and strategic priority‐based focal areas to the NFLT Board of Directors. These six Preservation Priority Areas now serve as the guide for all conservation efforts and conservation acquisitions for NFLT. The six Preservation Priority Areas are:
The O2O Wildlife Corridor is a 1.6 million acre landscape of public and private lands that connect the Ocala and Osceola National Forests and is anchored by Joint Training Base Camp Blanding. Any property within this boundary is considered eligible for consideration. NFLT staff will work with the partner agencies to prioritize time and funding to maximize the conservation benefits.
Military Readiness and Base Buffering
NFLT works with the US Department of Defense and willing landowners to acquire property or conservation easements on identified parcels that facilitate the continued operations of the multiple military installations in Northeast Florida including NAS Jacksonville; NAS Mayport; OLF Whitehouse; Blount Island; Pinecastle Bombing Range; and, Camp Blanding.
Salt Marsh and Climate Resilience
Salt marshes and coastal habitats provide vital benefits to our community including fisheries habitat, recreation, hurricane effects buffering, and climate resilience. Properties that can contribute to these benefits—or can be restored to contribute—are priorities in our conservation efforts. A recent acquisition that fits these criteria is the Bull Family Preserve. The Bull Family Preserve is primarily made up of salt marsh with a few small areas of hardwood forest. It serves as a habitat for wading birds including great blue herons, brown pelicans and cormorants. The salt marsh and tidal creeks are also home to federally endangered and threatened wildlife species including the West Indian manatee and the wood stork. Protecting these 217 acres will not only preserve wildlife habitat, it will also help to prevent flooding and reduce storm surge. You can read more about the Bull Family Preserve and the family behind the Preserve here.
Springs, Aquifer Recharge and Water Quality Improvement
Florida depends on its groundwater for drinking water and irrigation. One of the ways groundwater accumulates is through rainfall. The quality of the watershed and the soil through which the rainwater is filtered has a significant impact on the usability of the groundwater. The groundwater is also intimately connected to our surface waters which we as a community depend on for recreation, aesthetics, and other uses. NFLT works to protect those lands that contain and support the hydrology which sustains our way of life with a focus on 1st and 2nd Magnitude Springs, spring recharge areas, springs protection areas, High and Medium Aquifer Recharge areas, and surface waters on the National Rivers Inventory and wetlands for climate resiliency.
Food security is national security. Local agriculture is good for the economy and for the climate. Having our own woodshed, food supply, and fiber production in our backyards is critical to a sustainable way of life. NFLT works with landowners, agricultural producers, communities, and agencies to protect the lands that produce the goods we need.
NFLT will work with local communities to preserve locally-important green spaces, access to passive recreation, and assist historically marginalized communities. NFLT will also work with communities within the seven counties it serves to acquire property that may not fit into any of the preceding PPAs. NFLT will work with willing landowners, willing funding partners, and enlist community support for projects that fit within this strategic priority area. One such example of this is Little NaNa Dune on Amelia Island. Little NaNa Dune is part of NaNa Dune, the tallest dune in Florida and a landmark in American Beach. You can read more about Little NaNa Dune here.