Center for Landscape Conservation Planning's Posts

The University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning finished the 2021 Update of the Florida Ecological Greenways Network was completed last week working with Florida Natural Areas Inventory, our Technical Advisory Group, and other partners.The Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) is part of the legislatively adopted Florida Greenways Plan administered by the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The FEGN guides Florida’s ecological greenway conservation efforts, and promotes public awareness of the need for a statewide ecological greenways network. It is also used as the primary data layer to inform the Florida Forever and other state and regional land acquisition programs regarding the location of the most important conservation corridors and large, intact landscapes in the state. The FEGN identifies areas of opportunity for protecting a statewide network of ecological hubs and linkages designed to maintain large landscape-scale ecological functions including critical species habitat and ecosystem services throughout the state. FEGN Priorities 1, 2, and 3 are the most important for protecting a connected statewide network of public and private conservation lands, and in April 2021, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed legislation making FEGN P1-P3 the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and made protection of these wildlife and landscape conservation priorities a high priority as part of a strategic plan for Florida’s future. To accomplish this goal, we need robust state, federal, and local conservation land protection program including Florida Forever, Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, and Natural Resources Conservation Service easements and incentives. We work closely with the Florida Conservation Group and other partners to ensure that the FEGN and other best available science is used to guide Florida conservation planning, and to advocate for land conservation funding that is essential for implementing the FEGN and other landscape-scale conservation projects.In addition, with help from partners, we expect to continue to work on the FEGN over the next year with goals including:--Identify strategic Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Protection Program project priorities most important for closing gaps in protection in the FEGN.--Continue development of Strategic Prioritization with FNAI.--Develop a Supporting Landscape Analysis to identify additional landscape-scale conservation priority areas.--Develop an FEGN 2021 GIS database.--Conduct additional updates to the Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project with FNAI and release a CLIP 5.0 database.--Compare with the upcoming new Florida 2070 model and a planned Protection Opportunities model. The new Florida 2070 scenarios project is another ongoing research effort by the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning with 1000 Friends of Florida, the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, and the University of Florida GeoPlan Center.--Additional consideration of ecological connectivity across state borders (into Georgia and Alabama).The Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) is part of the legislatively adopted Florida Greenways Plan administered by the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The FEGN guides Florida’s ecological greenway conservation efforts, and promotes public awareness of the need for a statewide ecological greenways network. It is also used as the primary data layer to inform the Florida Forever and other state and regional land acquisition programs regarding the location of the most important conservation corridors and large, intact landscapes in the state. The FEGN identifies areas of opportunity for protecting a statewide network of ecological hubs and linkages designed to maintain large landscape-scale ecological functions including critical species habitat and ecosystem services throughout the state. FEGN Priorities 1, 2, and 3 are the most important for protecting a connected statewide network of public and private conservation lands, and in April 2021, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed legislation making FEGN P1-P3 the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and made protection of these wildlife and landscape conservation priorities a high priority as part of a strategic plan for Florida’s future. To accomplish this goal, we need robust state, federal, and local conservation land protection program including Florida Forever, Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, and Natural Resources Conservation Service easements and incentives. The Florida Conservation Group works with many partners including the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning to identify the most important conservation priority areas and advocates for the many programs needed to protect them. ... See MoreSee Less
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Very good news today with the recognition and possible funding for the Florida Wildlife Corridor by the Florida Legislature!🙌Florida Legislature Recognizes the Florida Wildlife Corridor🙌 👏Today, we celebrate the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives passage of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, with bipartisan support. We applaud the Florida legislature’s leadership and their commitment to conserving Florida’s land and water resources.This historic milestone was made possible thanks to the support of a broad coalition of partners from the agricultural, environmental and scientific communities over the past decade. If signed by the Governor, the legislation will take effect on July 1, 2021.blog.nationalgeographic.org/2021/04/27/florida-legislature-recognizes-the-florida-wildlife-corridor/ ... See MoreSee Less
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This new blog post by the Florida Conservation Group shows the extent of timber and ranchlands within Florida, the ecological and historic basis for their current distribution, and their ecological importance.floridaconserve.org/2021/03/05/floridas-ranchlands-and-timberlands-our-working-landscapes/The remaining wild and rural lands of Florida are dominated by working ranches and timberlands, which provide habitat for our wildlife and clean our water while also supporting our agricultural economy. ... See MoreSee Less
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Land conservation within the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge is one of the important areas that Center faculty and staff from the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Florida Conservation Group work closely together on. This video by Julie Morris and Tom Hoctor describes the importance of this region in Florida for critical species like the Florida panther and Florida grasshopper sparrow as well as the drinking water of Floridians and the working heritage of Florida's ranchers. ... See MoreSee Less
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This is a new map of biodiversity in Florida completed by our partners at Florida Natural Areas Inventory in collaboration with NatureServe. www.fnai.org/florida_mobi.cfm ... See MoreSee Less
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This map shows the importance of working ranchlands for the protection of Florida’s prairie region and the species and water resources it supports and maintains. Florida Conservation GroupSouth-central and southwest Florida are home to a Florida’s “great prairie region” where vast grasslands were native along with species adapted to them. This includes the Florida dry prairie ecosystem-- native upland grasses, palmettos, and scattered shrubs and pines, wet prairies, hammocks, and forested wetlands. This great prairie region is home to many unique species found nowhere else including the Florida grasshopper sparrow, crested caracara, Florida sandhill crane, Florida burrowing owl, etc. The ranches of the Florida great prairie region maintain similar open land uses that supports almost all of these species as well as Florida’s unique ranching history. Without these ranches, most of the remaining open prairie lands of south-central and southwest Florida would be lost to development that would destroy this unique habitat -- as well as negatively impact our water resources. Tom Hoctor ... See MoreSee Less
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This post from the Florida Conservation Group underscores the importance of working timberland landscapes in achieving Florida’s conservation goals, including maintaining critical wildlife habitat, water resources, and protecting Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) priorities in the northern half of Florida.Closing the gaps in the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) in the northern half of Florida is dependent on protection of working timberland landscapes. Though not pristine natural areas, managed forest lands provide essential wildlife habitat and wildlife corridors as well as watershed and groundwater protection. Florida Conservation Group works with partners including the UF Center for Landscape Conservation Planning to ensure funding for our land conservation protection programs and to ensure the best available science is used to identify and protect the lands most strategic for protecting wildlife corridors and other statewide conservation priorities. ... See MoreSee Less
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Here's a map created by the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning as part of our partnership with the Florida Conservation Group. The point is that ranches are essential to protecting the high priority wildlife corridors in the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) as well as the Florida Wildlife Corridor (which is based on the FEGN priorities 1 and 2) in the southern half of the Florida peninsula. Ranchlands are therefore essential for achieving Florida's wildlife, water, and large landscape conservation goals. We are committed to ensuring that the best science is used to ensure that we protect land that are most strategic for achieving Florida's conservation goals, and Florida Conservation Group​ is an essential partner in these efforts. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation is another essential partner for ensuring protection of the high priorities in the FEGN.RANCHLANDS: NATURE'S PATHS ACROSS FLORIDAThe Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) identifies the most important wildlife corridors and large, intact landscapes in the state. FEGN Priorities 1-3 (on map) are the top ranked wildlife corridors; these are the lands that need to be protected to maintain native wildlife, watersheds, and habitats.Some of the FEGN is already protected (in conservation land). But much remains to be done. In the southern part of the state, the majority of the FEGN is in ranchlands. If we want to preserve a connected natural landscape from south to north Florida - it is critical we protect these working ranchlands.FEGN Priority 1 and Priority 2 corridors are also the foundation of the Florida Wildlife Corridor ... See MoreSee Less
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We are now working with our partners, Florida Natural Areas Inventory to update the Florida Ecological Greenways Network. The Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) is part of the legislatively adopted Florida Greenways Plan administered by the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Florida Statutes, Chapter 260).The FEGN guides OGT ecological greenway conservation efforts, and promotes public awareness of the need for and benefits of a statewide ecological network.The FEGN identifies the best opportunities to connect large conservation lands for both biodiversity and to maintain ecological functions, and is used as the primary data layer to inform Florida Forever and other state and regional land acquisition programs regarding the location of the most important conservation corridors and large, intact landscapes across the state. The top two FEGN priorities, Critical Linkages and Priority 2 linkages, are also the foundation of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, the public education and outreach campaign to support protection of a statewide system of wildlife corridors in Florida. We expect the new FEGN to be available in August 2021. ... See MoreSee Less
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It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of a new website for the Center: conservation.dcp.ufl.edu/! Thanks to UF College of Design, Construction and Planning staff and Isabella Guttuso for making it possible! We hope you will visit our new site and support the Center's work. ... See MoreSee Less
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The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) is a conservation easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services; it is designed to protect important agricultural and natural lands. There are currently 237,000 acres of land on the Top ranked RFLPP List -- land that is in the que for conservation. This chart shows the land uses we could protect by funding this program. RFLPP partners with other programs to leverage funding (extremely efficient use of taxpayer dollars); currently there are over $20 million in partner funds obligated (more anticipated next FY) and without RLPP funding these partner dollars will be lost.http://floridaconserve.org/land-conservation-funding-rural-and-family-lands-protection-program-rflpp-2/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Please call and thank Senator Debbie Mayfield (850-487-5017) for including the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) in her budget. This is a proposed budget amount and she needs your help to keep RFLPP in the budget this legislative session. RFLPP is an agricultural easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, it is designed to protect important agricultural and natural lands through the acquisition of conservation easements. There are currently 237,000 acres of land on the Tier 1 RFLPP List and about 373,000 acres on all Tiers – land that is in the que for conservation. RFLPP partners with other programs to leverage funding (extremely efficient use of taxpayer dollars); currently there are over $20 million in partner funds obligated (more anticipated next FY) and without RLPP funding these partner dollars will be lost. Matt PearceLiesa PriddyBrad PharesPaul N GrayJim StricklandTom HoctorBen ButlerJon AndrewMallory Dimmitt ... See MoreSee Less
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floridaconserve.org/land-conservation-funding-rural-and-family-lands-protection-program-rflpp-2/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Center Director Tom Hoctor is in southwest Florida today with partners Florida Conservation Group and National Wildlife Refuge Association on a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation project to identify and discuss protection strategies for protecting under-served ranches that are most strategic for protecting water, wildlife, and wildlife corridors in both southwest and south-central Florida in the Everglades, Peace River, and Myakka River watersheds. We are all dedicated to science-driven land and water protection, restoration, and management to achieve Florida's most important conservation goals. ... See MoreSee Less
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The Center's Directer, Tom Hoctor, presented at the joint Air Force-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service meeting in Panama City this week to forward science-based strategic conservation planning and partnerships to protect Florida’s biodiversity, wildlife corridors, and resilient ecosystems. We will be completing our Florida Strategic Conservation Partnerships project for the Air Force and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this December. ... See MoreSee Less
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The Center's Director, Tom Hoctor, presented at this meeting to discuss the importance of Florida ranchlands for conserving and restoring wildlife habitat and water, and the need to fully funding the Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Protection land protection programs to achieve these essential conservation goals.Florida Conservation Group hosts Scientists , Conservationists and Ranchers that agree funding FDACS Rural Family Lands Protection Program and DEP’s Florida Forever Easement Program is a top priority for Florida’s future. ... See MoreSee Less
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There are three tiers in the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Protect-Our-Environment/Rural-and-Family-Lands-Protection-Program), representing over 370,000 acres of lands waiting for conservation easements. Tier 1 projects are the highest ranked and comprise over 230,000 acres. These are the types of lands that would be protected if there was funding to protect Tier 1 Projects.There are three tiers in the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, representing over 370,000 acres of lands waiting for conservation easements. Tier 1 projects are the highest ranked and comprise over 230,000 acres. See types of lands that would be protected if there was funding to protect Tier 1 Projects. FDACS budget request is 32.6 million. We are asking for 50 million. ... See MoreSee Less
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This data from the Florida Conservation Group shows that Florida's cattle ranches support important ecosystem services and extensive native habitat and natural wetlands. See land cover types on cattle ranches in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed.Florida's cattle ranches also include native habitats and natural wetlands. See land cover types on cattle ranches in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed. ... See MoreSee Less
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There is no money for Rural and Family Lands in this years state budget and very little for Florida Forever. Please call Sen. Rob Bradley (850) 487-5005, Sen. Wilton Simpson (850) 487 5010 and Rep. Travis Cummings (850) 717 5018 and let them know how important these programs are to Florida's water and wildlife. Time is critical and decisions are being made right now. Please make calls today.There is NO money for Rural and Family Lands in this years budget and very little for Florida Forever. Please call Sen. Rob Bradley (850) 487-5005, Sen. Wilton Simpson (850) 487 5010 and Rep. Travis Cummings (850) 717 5018 and let them know how important these programs are to Florida's water and wildlife. Time is critical and decisions are being made right now. Please make calls todayCurrently: House and Senate have NO money in the budget for Rural and Family Lands. They are negotiating on Florida Forever (House has 20 million and Senate has 45 million in their proposed budgets). From 1991-2008 our land protection programs received 300 million a year. ... See MoreSee Less
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Any approach to addressing the algae blooms and red tide in south Florida must begin at the source, by protecting landscapes that can hold and clean water before it flows into our rivers, lakes, aquifers, and coastal estuaries.Florida Ranchlands: Protecting Our Watershedsfloridaconserve.org/the-florida-conservation-group-advocates-for-the-protection-of-floridas-ranch... ... See MoreSee Less
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The Spring 2019 Water, Wetlands, and Watersheds Seminar Series at UF!It's that time again!Announcing the Spring 2019 Water, Wetlands, and Watersheds Seminar Series. The seminar is held on Wednesdays, 11:45am-12:35pm, in Room 101, Phelps Lab, UF main campus.The schedule is also posted on the CFW website(cfw.essie.ufl.edu/seminars/) where you can also find schedules and seminar recordings from the last eleven years of this seminar series.Join us in person, or stream online later. ... See MoreSee Less
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Had a great time at the Florida Native Plant Show yesterday (www.nativeplantshow.com)! This was the 6th annual event, held at the Bradenton Area Convention Center and produced by the FANN. Native plants can be cost effective, low maintenance, and beautiful in the landscape, and are important support for native pollinators and wildlife, particularly as climate change occurs. This poster says it all... ... See MoreSee Less
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Many Florida State Parks in the panhandle, and their staff, have been severely impacted by Hurricane Michael. Property and possessions are damaged or destroyed. The following link to the Florida State Parks Foundation website can be used to help support recovery efforts.floridastateparksfoundation.org/Donate ... See MoreSee Less
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Florida still has extensive priority conservation areas as this map and statistics from the Florida Conservation Group show. We need a minimum of $300 million a year for conservation land protection or many of these conservation priority areas will never get protected.See lands on the Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Top Tier; these properties have been vetted and on the list to be protected. Acres in Rural and Family Lands Protection Program Top Tier: 237,758Acres on Less-Than-Fee (conservation easement) Florida Forever Project list: 696,959 ... See MoreSee Less
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We're excited to introduce the new Facebook page for the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning! Here we'll share updates about Florida conservation efforts, useful data and tools, and news about Center work and products. We hope you'll check back, and if you're able consider supporting our work using the "Donate" button on this page. ... See MoreSee Less
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