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North Florida Land Trust has acquired 400 acres for conservation in Clay County

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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — North Florida Land Trust has announced that it acquired 400 acres in Clay County. The land is located within the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor. A 1.6 million-acre network of public and private lands, the Corridor connects the Ocala and Osceola National Forests.

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One of the objectives of adding this land is to create a buffer to the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center while aiding in land conservation.

“Acquiring this property is a big win for our team and for conservation in general,” said Allison DeFoor, interim president of NFLT. “We were able to save at least this 400 acres from being developed which would have destroyed some important habitats for many plant and animal species. We will continue to do all we can to protect these natural places that are critical to their survival.”

The property is in the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve Florida Forever Project. According to a recent news release, the purchase was valued at $3.4 million with funding provided by the Florida Defense Support Task Force through the Clay County Development Authority and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environment Protection Integration program.

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The property is described as being made up of pine plantations with wetlands that are associated with tributaries to the south fork of Black Creek. Wildlife includes the Florida black bear, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, the indigo snake and the gopher tortoise.

The land is also a habitat for the Florida pitcher plant. Five of the six native pitcher plant species are considered threatened or endangered.

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Preserving this land will allow wildlife to migrate and maintain populations as they are pushed out of developing areas.