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Conservation easement protects wetlands near Suwannee River

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By The Staff

The Suwannee River Water Management District commends Anderson Columbia Co., Inc., and Strickland Field Limited Partnership for a10-year commitment to water resource protection. The District purchased development rights on a 3,822-acre parcel owned by Anderson Columbia and Strickland Field Limited Partnership for $2.3 million 10 years ago. Under the terms of the conservation easement, landowners of the property have agreed to keep the property in its current natural state. The agreement restricts harvesting or alteration of forested wetlands. Silviculture activities in non-wetland areas must comply with best management practices to protect the environment. “Anderson Columbia and Strickland Field Limited Partnership have proven to be dedicated partners in conservation,” said Joe Flanagan, the District’s director of land acquisition and management. “Through these efforts 1,837 acres of cypress and wetland forests will permanently remain untouched.” The Dixie County property adjoins the Suwannee River estuary and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Under the easement, the landowners retain hunting rights and rights to grow and harvest pine plantation on non-wetland acreage. A conservation easement is a perpetual agreement that leaves the basic ownership and management of property with the private landowner but permanently restricts development and prohibits the alteration of wetlands. The District currently protects more than 125,000 acres of water resource lands using this tool.