Without habitat, there is no wildlife. FWF has been the leader in supporting state land conservation efforts, from Preservation 2000 to the present Florida Forever program, once the envy of the world. Approximately 30% of the state now has some level of protection due to these programs which secure ownership of vital natural areas in the face of rapid development. FWF also supports the use of perpetual conservation easements, which permanently protects the natural attributes of a piece of land, but ownership is kept in private hands. Indeed, in 2008, FWF successfully sponsored an amendment to the Florida Constitution to make the use of conservation easements the most financially beneficial for private landowners in the country. Approximately 800,000 acres of Florida are now protected by conservation easements.
In 2014, FWF was a major player in the passage of Amendment 1, the Water and Land Legacy Amendment, which was designed to provide adequate funding for Florida Forever after several years of anemic spending by the Legislature. The Amendment passed overwhelmingly, but the Legislature still did not do the will of the people. FWF has therefore taken the Legislature to court over this important issue.
We have been heavily involved in directing BP Deepwater Horizon fine money to land conservation, especially in Northwest Florida, to protect river corridors and expand existing conservation lands.
As the state continues to grow in human population and development spreads, we strive to retain the woods, wetlands and open space that wildlife needs and humans enjoy.