Acquisition adds additional recreational opportunities for area residents
PALATKA, Fla., Aug. 9, 2022 — Yesterday, the St. Johns River Water Management District and Volusia County gathered to celebrate the addition of 1,282 acres to the Palm Bluff Conservation Area. The properties, known as the 857-acre Schroeder property and the adjoining 425-acre Russell property, were purchased as part of a cost-share agreement with Volusia County’s Volusia Forever acquisition program and will be incorporated into the Palm Bluff Conservation Area.
“Together, with our partners, we have been able to jointly acquire approximately 32,000 acres of land within the county, primarily within the Volusia Corridor,” said Mike Register the St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director who highlighted the long partnership with the county. “I look forward to collaborating with Volusia County on future projects and acquisition opportunities to further protect Florida’s natural resources.”
“The Volusia County Council is dedicated to preserving lands across the county, especially right here in the Volusia Conservation Corridor, said County Council District 3 Representative Danny Robins. “To help us meet our goals, we created the Volusia Forever program in 2000 to finance the acquisition and improvement of environmentally sensitive, water resource protection and outdoor recreation lands, as well as working forests and farmlands. Voters overwhelmingly approved it in 2000 and again in 2020. The St. Johns River Water Management District is an invaluable partner in these efforts, and we will continue to work together to identify future opportunities to continue our conservation efforts.”
The Palm Bluff Conservation Area, which provides wooded vistas and trails for the public to hike, ride horses and bicycles, camp out, and commune with nature, is already home to at least eight distinct natural communities. The acquisition will add more than 850 acres of the land that will be open to the public, including approximately three miles of public hiking trails, and offers additional protection for Deep Creek — a large tributary of the St. Johns River that connects Lake Harney with Lake Ashby. The remaining 425 acres will be used as a private conservation easement.
The acquired land contains an ecologically sensitive mix of forest and wetlands that are important for preservation, habitat protection, recreational use and groundwater recharge. The easement will connect with the Volusia Conservation Corridor, which runs north to south through the center of the county and serves as a connected and protected habitat and passageway for wildlife. These purchases will expand the corridor to more than 40,000 acres.
For more information about the District’s land acquisition and management, visit the District’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/acquisition.