The North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) tripled the amount of land it conserved in 2016, protecting more than 12,000 acres of land.
That is the most land NFLT has been able to preserve in one year since the organization started its mission. Founded in 1999, NFLT serves as a champion of environmental protection primarily in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
“We are elated with what we have been able to accomplish this year and grateful to all our partners and donors who made it possible,” Executive Director Jim McCarthy said, noting that from 1999 to 2015 the nonprofit protected just over 6,000 acres of land.
One of NFLT’s main projects for 2016 was to create a document called the Preservation Portfolio that identifies 112,346 acres of land the organization would like to preserve. NFLT assigned a price to the cost of acquiring the land and compared it to the ecosystem benefits that the land would provide for free if left undisturbed. The nonprofit found the ecosystem benefits from the land were worth double the cost of acquisition. NFLT acquired about 214 acres of land in the portfolio and will continue its mission through 2017.
Overall, NFLT’s success in 2016 was attained by helping landowners sell conservation easements, acquiring land from developers and receiving donations of both.
“I credit our staff for our historic success,” said McCarthy. “They have been incredibly diligent and focused on our mission. We still have a way to go to preserve all of the land that we have identified as critical for preservation and I look forward to another historic year.”