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Environment

State Officials Approve Land Purchases In Southwest Florida

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State officials approved two land conservation deals for Southwest Florida Tuesday.

The Florida Cabinet voted in favor of a $9.7 million dollar land deal in Collier County.

The 620 acres of land in the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed connects a lot of already protected conservation land. That’s why Eric Draper with Audubon Florida said the purchase was a great decision.

“The piece that the cabinet decided to buy today was on Immokalee road and it had been approved for 300 houses right next to corkscrew swamp sanctuary and right next to Bird Rookery Swamp,” he said. “So, that would have been a terrible location for a housing development. That’s why it was so important to get this land preserved.”

The cabinet also approved a $3 million land purchase in Charlotte County in the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods.

Draper said this land will help move water from the Babcock Preserve into Charlotte Harbor.

Right now that water is impeded by I-75. Draper said this tract of land will allow transportation officials to eventually move that water across the road.

The state’s agriculture chief, Adam Putnam, said during the vote that the project was a great use of conservation funds.

“Storm water management for I-75 has enormous conservation benefits to the surrounding area, to Charlotte Harbor,” he said.

Draper said the approval of both land tracts is a good sign for conservation projects moving forward.