Alachua County Forever is a land conservation program to acquire and protect environmentally significant lands. Though this program, Alachua County seeks to acquire, improve and manage environmentally significant lands, that protect water resources, wildlife habitat, and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation.
Natural communities in Alachua County include 150,000 acres of Pinelands, 108,000 acres of grassland, 93,000 acres of swamp, marsh and open water, 72,000 acres of hardwood hammocks and forests, and 7,000 acres of sandhill. Terrestrial caves provide important habitat for southeastern bats, and the wetlands and surrounding areas in south Alachua County are critical areas for sandhill crane and the southern bald eagle. Other species in need of habitat protection include gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, tiger salamander, limpkin, blackbanded sunfish and the Florida black bear.
In 1999, 84% of Alachua County voters polled felt that if natural lands are not protected now they will be lost forever. Alachua County lags behind other north-central Florida counties in publicly protecting lands. A citizen-led effort coordinated by the Legacy Lands PAC developed the ordinance and bond referendum for this program. The initiative was strongly supported by many different facets of the community. The Alachua County Commission recognized that its citizens treasured many of the countys natural resources that contribute greatly to their quality of life and adopted the ordinance on July 25, 2000.
The referendum passed with 60% of the popular vote on November 7, 2000. Voters agreed to raise up to $29 million through a property tax to fund Alachua County Forever land acquisitions. Alachua County is now the 21st County in Florida to have a funded land acquisition program.
Alachua County Forever has achieved all three of its original goals: the protection of water quality, wildlife habitats and providing natural areas for resource-based recreation. The public's commitment to protecting its natural heritage was re-affirmed in 2008 with the passage of the Wild Spaces Public Places referendum creating an additional $15 million in land conservation funds.
Land Conservation Board
On July 25, 2000 the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved Ordinance 00-13 enabling the creation of a Land Conservation Board (LCB). Appointed by the BoCC, the eleven citizens (plus one alternate) volunteer to review and recommend lands within Alachua County to be acquired for conservation purposes.
The LCB usually meets at 5:30 pm on the fourth Thursday of every month at the Environmental Protection Department Conference Room, 408 West University Ave., Suite 106 Street, Gainesville, FL 32601. Click Advisory Boards at left to access meeting Agendas and Minutes. Other files at LCB Files page.
LCB Field Trips will be scheduled as needed.