Land Acquisition Program
The Land Acquisition program
of the Northwest Florida Water Management District is driven by the District's
continuing commitment to permanently protect and preserve the water resources
of northwest Florida. This program continues to build upon the more than
207,000 acres of wetlands and recharge areas already acquired by the District
since it began its land acquisition efforts in 1984. At present, some
2.89 percent of the District's total land area of 7,168,000 acres is protected
explicitly for water resource purposes by lands the District has acquired.
The District's Five-Year Plan
identifies a number of areas the District has selected for purchase, subject
primarily to available funding and especially the presence of willing
sellers. If your property is included in any of our acquisition areas
or maps and you do not wish to sell your land to the District, the Florida
Statutes require us to remove your property from the acquisition plan
at the earliest opportunity. Please contact the Division of Land Acquisition
at (850) 539-5999 at any time if you wish to remove your property from
possible consideration for purchase. The District will maintain a list
of such requests and annually adjust its acquisition plan accordingly.
Acquisition Land Areas: Five-Year Plan
Florida Forever 2008 Five-Year Plan
A portion of the amount available
to the District from the Water Management Lands Trust Fund can be used
for the management, maintenance and capital improvement of Save Our Rivers
lands. The statute that created the Water Management Lands Trust Fund
also identifies and prioritizes the uses allowed for these lands. They
Conservation and protection
of water resources
- Protection and restoration
of ecosystems, and
Provide for compatible public
According to the Florida Statutes,
Save Our Rivers lands must be managed and used as stated below:
373.59(3) - Lands acquired
"shall be managed and maintained in an environmentally acceptable manner
and, to the extent practicable, in such a way as to restore and protect
their natural state and condition."
373.59(10) - Lands acquired
"shall be used for general public recreational purposes. General public
recreational purposes shall include, but not be limited to, fishing, hunting,
horseback riding, swimming, camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, diving,
birding, sailing, jogging and other related outdoor activities to the
maximum extent possible considering the environmental sensitivity and
suitability of those lands."
It has been a District policy
since the beginning of this program to make every acre of District land
available for a wide variety of resource-based recreational uses. With
few exceptions, District land is always open to the public for birding,
nature study, hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing and boating. Because
much of our ownership is floodplain and other wetlands, horseback riding
opportunities are relatively rare. Hunting and fishing are by far the
most popular uses of these lands, most of which are administered as Type
II Wildlife Management Areas by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission. The District's property along Econfina Creek in Bay and Washington
counties is administered as a Type I Wildlife Management Area by the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hunting is allowed on most District lands and is regulated by the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under the Type I Wildlife Management
Area (WMA) program.
Almost all property owned and managed by the District has been placed
under the Type I Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program. The District
no longer sells Resource Area Permits, however, persons are required to
have other appropriate licenses, stamps and permits, e.g., state hunting
and fishing licenses, duck stamps, etc.
Type I WMAs include the following District lands: Perdido River, Lower Escambia River,
Yellow River, Choctawhatchee River/Holmes Creek, Econfina Creek, Upper Chipola
River and Apalachicola River.
To obtain a copy of the brochures for each of these areas, please visit
your local tax collector’s office or contact the Division of Land
Management and Acquisition at (850) 539-5999 or the Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission at (850) 265-3676 or (850) 488-3831. For questions
relating to hunting/fishing, please contact one of the Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission offices.
Please feel free to e-mail the Division
of Land Management and Acquisition for more information.