Public Policy

SFWMD Surplus Land Assessment

February 06, 2013

This is your opportunity to participate in the assessment process and have your opinion heard.  SFWMD is identifying lands that could be considered "surplus", or no longer needed for conservation. The deadline for individuals to submit comments on phase 4 properties in the West Coast Assessment Region is May 27th.

The South Florida Water Management District is conducting a comprehensive assessment to identify "surplus lands" among the nearly 1.5 million acres of land owned by the agency. The assessment is being conducted in phases, with the first phases considering only the 750,000 acres to which the agency holds fee title, and subsequent phases considering lands over which the agency holds easements or other less-than-fee-title interest.  FNPS submitted comments (see letters below) on the intial assessments, which focussed on the Upper Lakes Assessment Region, the Kissimmee/Okeechobee Assessment Region, and East Coast Assessment Region.  We will continue to review the District's proposals as the process progresses.

The District recently released the staff recommendation for lands in the Upper Lakes Region.  Public comments on the staff recommendation will be accepted until May 7.  The recommendation will then go to their Governing Board for final action.  Please consider reviewing what the staff has recommended and letting them know whether you support what they have proposed to the Governing Board.

For more information or to participate in the land assessment process yourself, see:

Update: FNPS Comments on East Coast Region

April 30, 2013

FNPS has submitted a letter with specific recommendations on lands proposed for surplus.

Click   FNPSCommentsEastCoastRegionSurplusReview04222013.pdf  to view.

Update: Kissimmee-Okeechobee

March 24, 2013

Released by FNPS on March 18

FNPS comments on specific parcels along the Kissimmee River


Update: FNPS Submits Letter to SFWMD February 14, 2013

February 15, 2013


Copy of submitted letter:

The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.


February 14, 2013


Ray Palmer, Real Estate Section Leader
South Florida Water Management District
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416


Subject: Comprehensive Assessment of District Lands

Dear Mr. Palmer:

The Florida Native Plant Society (Society) appreciates the deliberative process the South Florida Water Management District (District) is undertaking to identify lands appropriate to be sold as surplus.  We are generally supportive of your effort to surplus lands that do not advance the District’s core mission.  However, we do not believe that any of the lands within the Upper Lakes Region should be considered as potentially surplus.

The variety of spatial data available for use by the District to help evaluate the water management and conservation values of the subject properties is extensive.  Even though the CLIP data are relatively coarse, they provide an outstanding initial measure of conservation value.  However, one of our greatest concerns is that some values may not be receiving sufficient attention.  For example, the 16-acre Strip Parcel within the Lake Marion Creek and Reedy Creek Unit may eventually be very important for maintaining connectivity with other conservation lands to the north.  It might otherwise be difficult to justify retaining ownership of that parcel.  Likewise, the scrub occurrences within the Upper Lakes Region, which clearly have value for the protection of imperiled species, may also have high recharge value.  We suggest that your reviews should include CLIP’s Ecological Greenway and Recharge data to help gauge site-specific value.

We look forward to continuing participation in the District’s review of its lands, and hope you will continue to consider a full range of potentially important conservation values.   Thank you for considering our concerns. 


Eugene M. Kelly

Eugene M. Kelly, Policy Chair
Florida Native Plant Society

Be an Advocate for Native Plants


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Types of Issues Addressed by FNPS

  • General areas considered to be of statewide FNPS significance
  • Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent need to fund the Florida Forever program.
  • All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.
  • Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.
  • Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state, but only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.
  • Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.

General areas considered not to be of statewide significance include

  • Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
  • Issues that are primarily transportation related unless the issue is of at least regional significance and would impact an established preserve/reserve/state park refuge/or a functional ecologically sensitive ecosystem.
  • Issues that involve local jurisdictional ordinances or land development codes.