December 19, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board Tuesday approved an agreement with Pasco County for the purchase and management of a parcel of environmentally sensitive land within the Weekiwachee Preserve.

The District and the county discussed joint acquisition of the 210-acre piece of land before the county agreed to purchase it in November for $4.35 million. Under the agreement, the District will reimburse the county for half the cost.

The property is located on the north side of S.R. 595, west of U.S. Hwy. 19 in northwest Pasco County and is zoned for master planned development. As part of the agreement, the District will take the lead in managing the natural resources and passive recreation on the property.

Funding for this joint purchase comes from the Florida Forever Trust Fund.
This agreement is consistent with the District’s Florida Forever Work Plan, which specifically identifies the Weekiwachee Preserve project.

This joint purchase will provide several water management benefits including the preservation or restoration of natural ecosystems and their functions, preservation or enhancement of water quality, and protection of habitats and associated wildlife resources.

The Weekiwachee Preserve consists of a swamp that forms a complex system of productive estuarine marshes and lowlands that offer a natural habitat to wildlife and some endangered species.

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