Your voice is needed on Wednesday, September 20 to stand up for land conservation funding in Florida. We need YOU to tell your local elected officials exactly what you meant when you said YES to the 2014 Water and Land Conservation Amendment.
Last year, the Legislature put an astonishing $0 into the state’s highly regarded Florida Forever land conservation program. This is an unacceptable amount and an affront to the millions of Floridians who voted for more parks and increased protections of our most important natural areas. The Sarasota County Legislative Delegation will meet at the Sarasota County Commission Chambers in Sarasota at 9:00 a.m. – your participation is needed!
This meeting is your chance to tell your elected officials in a public setting that you want more funding for Florida Forever. Remember, if your elected officials don’t hear from YOU, they will only hear from the special interests and paid lobbyists in Tallahassee.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
9:00AM to 12:00PM
Sarasota County Commission Chambers
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS (PICK ONE OR TWO):
- When I voted for Amendment 1, I understood it to be a way to restore funding to Florida Forever, which was traditionally funded at $300 million a year. I expect the Legislature to appropriate 40% of Amendment 1 funds to land conservation programs like Florida Forever.
- The Florida Forever program has three vital objectives - to protect important natural landscapes, help build community parks, and ensure that rural agricultural lands aren’t paved over.
- Florida is rich with natural beauty, wildlife, and wonderful state parks. I want more of our taxpayer dollars going to programs that build more parks and protect more of our lands and waters.
- Florida cannot thrive without an abundant supply of drinking water. Seventy-two percent of Florida – 25 million acres – is privately owned. Scientists and land managers have identified an additional 2 million acres for conservation, including lands necessary to protect the water quality of our state’s most important springs, rivers, and coastal areas. I encourage you to use Amendment 1 funds to protect these important places.
- Florida should protect our agricultural lands from development. Farms and ranches play an important role for wildlife and recharging our drinking water supplies.
- All Floridians should have access to nearby parks. They provide recreational and educational opportunities and offer Florida’s families a place to reconnect with each other and with nature. Please support the purchase and development of more local parks.
- Although the primary purpose of the Water and Land Conservation Amendment was to set aside money to acquire conservation and recreation lands, less than 4% of those funds have been allocated to land conservation statewide from 2015-2018. In comparison, almost 25% of Amendment 1 dollars have been allocated to pay for expenses previously paid for through General Revenue. End this misappropriation this year and restore funding to our most important conservation programs like Florida Forever.
- The Charlotte Harbor Estuary and Myakka Ranchlands are the last two remaining properties on the Florida Forever Acquisition list located in Sarasota County. When purchased, these properties will provide significant ecological benefits for our aquifer and for the mitigation of sea level rise in Sarasota County. What is your plan to see these properties secured for future generations?
Deputy Director, Florida Conservation Voters