DEP Acquires 4,808 Acres in the Red Hills Region

DEP Acquires 4,808 Acres in the Red Hills Region



Red Hills Conservation Florida Forever Project | Photo by Lauren Yoho/Wildpath

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finalized the purchase of a 4,808-acre conservation easement in Leon County within the Red Hills Conservation Florida Forever Project. Extending from Lake Iamonia to Old Centerville Road, this expansive property protects surface waters and wetlands, supports groundwater recharge functions and provides wildlife habitat and sustainable forestry for the region.

Notably, more than half of Foshalee Slough, which is important to regulating overflow during flooding events for Lake Iamonia and the Ochlocknee River, lies within this property. It is also within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape

“These types of acquisitions are essential to further conserve our water, our wildlife and the unique natural landscapes people associate with our state,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “We are grateful to the dedicated landowners and land stewards in the region for their commitment to conserving these lands in perpetuity.”

The Red Hills Conservation Florida Forever Project includes five tracts of land in Jefferson and Leon counties. Following the successful conservation easement acquisition over the Norias Tract in 2022, Cherokee Tract marks the next step in safeguarding undeveloped land in a region highly susceptible to development pressures. This move not only protects regional biodiversity but also ensures the resilience of natural systems.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved this acquisition during a previous Cabinet Meeting.

Florida is at the forefront of the nation’s land protection efforts and continues to be a model for other land acquisition programs across the country. Through the Florida Forever Program, the state conserves land that provides environmental, recreational and preservation benefits, including water quality and quantity safeguards; resilience from storm impacts; habitat and species protections; and outdoor recreation opportunities. Since 2019, the state has invested $1.4 billion for land acquisition, and acquired over 260,000 acres. Approximately 92% of these acres are within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.


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