In Other News

Delores Barr Weaver Designates $1M for North Florida Land Trust Over 10 Years

The funding will help preserve land and leverage additional funding for conservation

North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) is pleased to announce that Delores Barr Weaver has established the North Florida Land Trust Fund at The Community Foundation to benefit and support the work of the nonprofit land conservation organization. Weaver has designated a $1 million grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Funds to be distributed to NFLT over the next ten years to help fund land purchases.

“This generous gift that Delores Barr Weaver has invested in us will allow us to continue our work to save Florida’s natural spaces because it is now or never,” said Allison DeFoor, president of NFLT. “We are celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2024, and this gift is a great way to start the year. Delores’s devotion to making the world a better place is outstanding. She has built a legacy of commitment to community, and her kindness and generosity will be felt for generations to come.”

NFLT will receive up to $100,000 a year through 2034 from the fund to help pay for the preservation of conservation lands. As NFLT increases its fundraising revenue to match federal and state grants, the fund will help the nonprofit launch and leverage additional funding from other sources. NFLT will need to raise roughly $15 million in private support to fulfill the match requirements over the next few years.

DEP Accepting Applications for Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Grants 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Division of State Lands announces the opening of the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Grant Program through Florida Communities Trust. The Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Grant Program FY 2023-24 Round 2 grant application cycle will run from March 1 through April 1, 2024. The deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m. EDT on April 1, 2024

The Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Grant Program provides funding for the acquisition of interests in land for the restoration and preservation of working waterfronts directly used for the purposes of the commercial harvest of marine organisms or saltwater products by state-licensed commercial fishermen, aquaculturists, or business entities, including piers, wharves, docks or other facilities. The amount in grant funding available for this round is $4.3 million.

Visit the DEP website to download the grant application forms and obtain additional information.

Recreational harvest of snook for Florida’s West Coast will open March 1

The recreational harvest of snook in the Panhandle, Big Bend, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Southwest management regions will open March 1, and remain open through April 30. This includes all Florida state and inland waters as well as adjacent federal waters within each management region.

These regions and regulations are part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) holistic management approach for Florida’s most popular inshore fisheries. Through this approach, seven metrics are used to evaluate the fishery by region, adding a holistic perspective to management decisions and allowing the FWC to address regional concerns. To learn more, visit www.MyFWC.com/Snook.

Conservation Florida and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Conserve 1,285 Acres in the Florida Wildlife Corridor

On Feb. 28, Conservation Florida announced the permanent protection of 1,285 vital Highland County acres within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a project that extends protection far beyond its property lines. 

Surrounded on all sides by conserved lands, including the renowned research center Archbold Biological Station, the 1,285-acre Lightsey Family Ranch property remained a critical conservation focus point to ensure an interconnected landscape for wildlife like the Florida panther and black bear, while also further protecting Fisheating Creek.

Fisheating Creek, the only free-flowing water source to Lake Okeechobee, runs more than 40 miles through sweeping swamps and is a vital life source to many special species, including the bald eagle.

Conservation Florida worked diligently to protect this property since May of 2021, partnering with landowners Lee and Tracy Lightsey and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

2024 Environmental Report Highlights Everglades Restoration Progress

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on March 1 released the 2024 South Florida Environmental Report (SFER) underscoring the continued progress for Everglades restoration and water quality across Central and Southern Florida.

The annual SFER report highlights record hydration and improvement of water quality, significant momentum for sending more water south, groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings of major Everglades restoration projects, and many other important milestones for the resiliency of the region’s water resources and ecosystems.

The 2024 SFER report also documents restoration, scientific and engineering accomplishments over the past year in the Kissimmee Basin, Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and the coastal areas. It includes peer-reviewed scientific data and an extensive online searchable database of projects. The report details Water Year 2023 (May 1, 2022–April 30, 2023) and SFWMD Fiscal Year 2023 (Oct. 1, 2022-Sept. 30, 2023).

The report can be found by visiting www.SFWMD.gov/SFER.

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