One item on the Lands Committee agenda seems slightly different from business as usual at the $68 million-annual-budget Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).
As near as I can tell, even though this offer checks almost all the boxes, SRWMD doesn’t want to deal with it because it adjoins Suwannee River State Park (SRSP), while it’s across the Withlacoochee River from the SRWMD-owned land in the Twin Rivers State Forest Ellaville Tract. So SRWMD has sent the landowner to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
If you want to attend, it’s Tuesday December 13, 2022, at District Headquarters, or via gotowebinar. The Board meets at 9AM, and the Lands Committee meets afterwards, usually around noon.
SRWMD December 2022 Governing Board Meeting Material
SRWMD December 2022 Lands Committee Material
GoTo Webinar Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6189273425682705936
See item 6. Stafford Conservation Easement Offer, Hamilton County.
MEMORANDUM: Denial of Conservation Easement Acquisition Offer from Greg Stafford, Hamilton County RECOMMENDATION
SUWANNEE RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
TO: Lands Committee
FROM: Stephen Schroeder, Chief, Office of Administration
THRU: Tim Alexander, Deputy Executive Director, Business and Community Services
DATE: November 28, 2022
RE: Denial of Conservation Easement Acquisition Offer from Greg Stafford, Hamilton County
Deny the request for acquisition of a conservation easement offer from Greg Stafford, Hamilton County.
In October 2022, the District received an offer from Greg Stafford to sell the District a conservation easement over a 212 acre +/- parcel of real property located in Hamilton County. The parcel is not adjacent to other District-owned lands and contains no riverine surface waters. It is not located within the District’s Florida Forever Plan. It is within the Withlacoochee River protection area; contains 29.75 acres +/- within the floodway; 205 acres +/- are within the 10- year floodplain; and 212 acres +/- are within the 100-year floodplain. The parcel is within a springshed and the Troy, Falmouth, Lafayette Blue and Peacock Springs Priority Focus Area, is within the Eastern Water Supply Planning Area and the Suwannee Basin Management Action Plan.
In review, staff determined that the parcel would present management issues due to isolation from other District properties, and the current use as pasture/agricultural land. Staff noted that a portion of the property may be within the priority acquisition area for expansion of the Suwannee River State Park. District staff has recommended that the offeror contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The offeror was notified of the staff recommendation and offered the opportunity to withdraw the fer or appear before the Lands Committee in opposition to the staff recommendation and there has been no response.
Copies of the Triage and Summary Maps are attached.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®