For more than twenty years, Florida has reaffirmed its commitment annually to conservation land preservation and Everglades Restoration with appropriations to support state land buying programs, such as Preservation 2000, Save Our Everglades, and Florida Forever.
Write to your legislators, urging them to provide bridge funding for Florida Forever and Everglades Restoration in this year’s budget. Tell them why wildlands and local parks are important to you and their constituents. Encourage them to attend Florida Forever Day at the Capitol’s Waller Park tomorrow at 11:30.
In recent years, Florida Forever has been appropriated $300 million annually for conservation and recreation land acquisitions, and Everglades Restoration has received annual appropriations of as much as $200 million.
Due to the economy and declines in documentary stamp revenues, last year’s funding for Everglades Restoration was much reduced, and Florida Forever received no appropriation. With the State of Florida currently strapped for cash and struggling with limited bonding capacity, we recognize a return to full funding for these programs is unlikely this year. Nevertheless, it is crucial that these keystone conservation programs receive some bridge funding.
DEP Division of State Lands Director Deborah Poppell reported earlier this Session before the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee that many previously unwilling sellers have approached the Division in the last year, now willing to sell their environmentally sensitive lands at bargain prices. Continuation funding this year is an important signal to landowners that the state remains committed to working with willing sellers to protect Florida’s remaining special places.
Currently, the Senate budget includes $15 million in cash for Florida Forever and $10 million in cash for the Everglades; the companion House budget appropriates no funding for either of these programs.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 7, is Florida Forever Day at the Capitol. We need your voice now, more than ever.
1) Be inspired by Carlton Ward’s breathtaking photos of Florida’s top ten proposed Florida Forever acquisitions in a countdown to Florida Forever Day tomorrow.
2) Write to your legislators, urging them to provide bridge funding for Florida Forever and Everglades Restoration in this year’s budget. Tell them why wildlands and local parks are important to you and their constituents. Encourage them to attend Florida Forever Day at the Capitol’s Waller Park tomorrow at 11:30.
3) Attend Florida Forever Day: Join us at the Capitol Wednesday to show your support for Florida Forever. Email us if you’d like help scheduling an appointment with your senator and representative, or just join us for the rally at 11:30 (to be followed by an ice cream social). Events will be located in Waller Park (the steps, fountain and plaza on the West side of the Capitol building).