Surplus Lands Assessment Public Meetings Set for Dec. 13 and 14

News Release

h2. District Seeking Public Input on Evaluation of Properties

The "Southwest Florida Water Management District(Southwest Florida Water Management District)":/ is gathering information to determine if public lands that are owned and managed by the District should be considered for surplus.

As part of that information-gathering effort, the District is holding public meetings to explain the assessment process and receive public comment. The first two meetings are scheduled for December:

* Tuesday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lecanto Government Building, 3600 West Sovereign Path, Suite 226, Lecanto

* Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the District's Bartow Service Office, 170 Century Boulevard, Bartow

Land may be considered surplus if it no longer meets the original acquisition purpose or doesn't provide water resource benefits. The District hopes to increase efficiencies and save taxpayer dollars by identifying such lands through its assessment process. The District protects more than 436,000 acres of land within its boundaries. These lands include natural floodplains, aquifer recharge areas and areas around lakes, rivers, wetlands and estuaries.

The District's Governing Board appointed a Surplus Lands Subcommittee to help staff build an evaluation process that is open to the public. District staff will begin by looking at about 261,000 acres that are solely owned and managed by the District.

Staff will look at a number of criteria to identify surplus parcels. Lands will be evaluated to ensure their support of the District's water supply, flood protection, water quality and natural systems areas of responsibility. Staff will screen parcels that do not have high water resource value to ensure that selling them will not jeopardize the management of other District-owned lands or adjacent public holdings.

The Surplus Lands Subcommittee will review staff's recommendations and then report to the 13-member Governing Board. Ultimately, it will be up to the Board to decide which lands are designated as surplus. All decisions by the Subcommittee and Governing Board will be made at open meetings accepting public input.

The District will seek public input throughout the process and will announce public workshops as they are scheduled. For details or to submit comments on the District's surplus lands assessment, visit "":/projects/surplus-lands