Large Scale Conservation
Long before the advent of environmentalism and before the first Industrial Revolution, humans lived in concert with the land by necessity. The first humans in North America gazed upon its natural splendor and understood the power the land possessed – they lived alongside it and benefitted from its bounty.
- Now in our current era, we understand the land has a different kind of power – one which our ancestors took for granted. The power to purify waters through a natural slough or man-made project, the power to reduce carbon emissions, and the power to relieve stress are all now considered ecosystem services with economic value.
- With the expansion of suburban development threatening natural landscapes, land conservation is critical to protect those ecosystem services and ensure the future of our society. Where development and conservation are intertwined, we focus on both, including the interrelationships and human interaction in the natural space.
Located in Charlotte and Lee Counties, the 91,000-acre project included the conservation sale of 73,000 acres to the State of Florida and Lee County, working with the Florida Division of State Lands and local governments. The full project included the entitlement of a new town with 19,500 homes on the remaining 18,000 acres, sustainably developed with solar power, electric and autonomous vehicle infrastructure, conservation and restoration initiatives, and miles of trails in a sustainable new community. The project was undertaken by Kitson & Partners, in conjunction with a host of local and regional stakeholders.
FLR worked with the generational landowners of the JB Ranch in Southwest Florida to conserve 1,600 acres of pasture lands and wetlands, by enrolling the a portion of the ranch in a conservation easement with the Florida Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP). This region of the state is the primary habitat for the critically endangered Florida Panther, and a host of other fauna bordering the Everglades region. The conservation easements from the RFLPP create a long-lasting buffer for future development in the region and preserve the legacy of this pristine landscape in perpetuity.
Located in Polk County, the project consisted of 5,100 acres of pristine lands and a very creative conservation strategy. The project was in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to preserve the entire property through a wetland mitigation bank, an upland species bank, and donations that ultimately became the founding parcels of the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area. This project has been completed.
Lost Tree Islands
Located in Indian River County, the Lost Tree Island project involved the conservation sale of six large islands in the Indian River Lagoon and accompanied submerged lands. The project team worked with the Florida Division of State Lands, local governments, and other stakeholders, and set off the development of a restoration plan for this area of the lagoon. The conservation sale has since been completed, and the restoration is currently being planned by Indian River County.
Wuffert Bayous on Sanibel
Located in Sanibel, FL, the project includes the conservation sale of a 68-acre entitled subdivision to Lee County in conjunction with Wild Landscapes International, the Ding Darling Wildlife Society, and the expansion of a Florida Forever Project Boundary to include the land area. This project has been completed.