Call to Action

Call to Action - March 2021

City of Sarasota

Conserve Bobby Jones Golf Park

Protecting the entire property will ensure that it remains a public recreational park forever, and continues to be a significant environmental asset for the region. The almost 300 acres of green space within an urban area is home to more than 45 species of birds and many other wildlife species. The current plan would improve upon these environmental benefits and a conservation easement would ensure they are never destroyed.

Bobby Jones needs to be protected NOW:

  • Before entering into a lease agreement or 3rd party manager agreement so lessee/manager can’t damage or weaken the conservation values.
  • To build trust with community and potential donors.
  • Funders want assurance that their investment will not be undone.
  • Citizens want same assurance for their tax investment; there is overwhelming public support.
  • Surrounding landowners want stability for their investments.

A conservation easement is necessary to protect public and private funders’ investments, forever.

Conservation Foundation believes our negotiated conservation easement is ready for City Commissioners to review and vote on.

 

Manatee County

Fully Bond the Water and Land Conservation Program

In 2020, 71% of Manatee County voters passed the Water and Land Conservation Tax with bonding authority. This .15 mil ad valorem tax will go into effect January 1, 2022 and the funds will be used to “protect drinking water sources and water quality, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, prevent stormwater runoff pollution, and provide parks.” Now, we need the Manatee County Commissioners to enact the bonding authority given them in the statute to quicken the pace of land conservation. Bonding ensures quick and nimble responses to growth so that our special places are not lost forever.

 

State of Florida

Renew Florida Forever Bond and Fully Fund the Program

Bonding is a useful tool that can quicken the pace of land conservation in the face of rapid development, population growth, and climate change. The Legislature used bonding to provide stable funding of $300 million annually for the Florida Forever program prior to the 2008 recession. This bonding authority, as granted in the statute, expired in 2020. Ask the Legislature to restore this authority to improve flexibility and consistency in conservation funding. 

Currently, Governor DeSantis has only $50M in his 2021-22 budget.

  • Ask the Legislature to restore funding for the Florida Forever land conservation programs to pre-2009 levels ($300 million/year) and maintain funding levels for other conservation programs like Everglades and springs restoration.

 

Repeal the M-CORES toll roads program

(M-CORES) program, Multi-use Corridors of Regional and Economic Significance, would construct up to 330 miles of new toll roads through some of Florida’s best remaining natural and agricultural areas, some of which are already conserved. If built, the roads and induced development will threaten Florida’s water supply, wildlife species, and rural communities. Of the 10,000 public comments submitted to toll road task forces regarding this project, 93% expressed disapproval of these roads to ruin. The three appointed task forces could not demonstrate a need for the roads. With an estimated price tag between $10-25 billion, it is a program that Floridians not only don’t want but can’t afford.

Senator Tina Polsky and Representative Ben Diamond have filed legislation (SB 1030 /HB 763) to completely repeal the bill that created the M-CORES toll road program and stop the construction of up to 330 miles of toll roads through rural Florida.

Together, we can send a loud and clear message to legislators: Floridians across the state want to repeal the roads this legislative session.

  • Tell your State Representative and Senator that you don’t want to pay for these needless roads and ask them to co-sponsor SB 1030/HB 763.