Citation
Land Protection Strategies for Conservation: Determining the Most Suitable Method of Protection for Value and Use

Material Information

Title:
Land Protection Strategies for Conservation: Determining the Most Suitable Method of Protection for Value and Use
Creator:
Prentice, Jarod Andrew
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Landscape Architecture)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Committee Chair:
Acomb,Glenn A.
Committee Members:
Carr, Margaret H.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Acquisition costs ( jstor )
Easements ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Ecosystems ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Fee simples ( jstor )
Forests ( jstor )
Land conservation ( jstor )
Landscapes ( jstor )
Wetlands ( jstor )
Belmore State Forest ( local )

Notes

Abstract:
Ecological landscape planning, regional conservation planning and sustainable landscape planning are examples of overlapping theoretical frameworks for environmental planning focused on the alleviation of pressures on natural ecosystems, habitat fragmentation, and losses to biodiversity. Four conservation strategies are frequently used for protection of environmentally sensitive lands, namely: fee simple acquisition, conservation easements, payments for ecosystem services and mitigation banks. Yet, there is no consensus on which is the best strategy suited for protection of any particular site. This study uses financial evaluation measures and a modified version of a common resource assessment model as an applied landscape metric to evaluate post-protection ecological value conditions of abiotic, biotic, and cultural (ABC) factors of ten sites in Clay County, Florida: (4) existing fee simple acquisitions, (2) existing conservation easements, (3) existing mitigation banks, and (1) currently unprotected site. Five of these sites in Clay County were acquired through the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve greenway project. By establishing a rated quality for the ABC resources and providing a comparison of cost to acquire those resources strategy effectiveness can be determined for each site. ( , )
Abstract:
An ecological valuation, acquisition cost, management cost, and tax generation value analysis was completed for the selected sites. Conclusions from the analyses suggest the State may need to spend considerable monies to restore the ecological integrity of the acquired sites to optimize their investment. The results of this study reveal that the protected properties in the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve greenway project have low overall ecological quality largely due to disturbance from previous silviculture activities. Study results also reveal the importance of fee simple acquisitions when public access is desired and in cases where structural improvements and appurtenances are needed to maintain connectivity. It was also found Payments for Ecosystem Services to be cost prohibitive for long term protection, yet can be desirable for short term applications, and mitigation banks were found to be the cheapest alternative when public access is not a concern, yet not all sites are suitable to serve as a mitigation bank.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Jarod Andrew Prentice. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
1022120879 ( OCLC )

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Land Protection Strategies for Conservation: Determining the Most Suitable Method of Protection for Value and Use By JAROD ANDREW PRENTICE A MASTERS RESEARCH PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

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2015 © 2015 Jarod Andrew Prentice

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To Mila Ado

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my wife Kelley and my parents for their unwavering love and support through out this endeavor.

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5 SPECIAL THANKS I would like to recognize my graduate research project committee for their most v aluable critiques and input on thi her expertise and dedication to conservation. A special thank you is deserved of Glenn Acomb for his unwavering dedication to education and research in the landscape architecture dis cipline.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 10 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 12 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 13 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 14 PLANNING FOR CONSERVATION ................................ ................................ .......................... 16 Effects on the Landscape ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 18 Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 18 Gap ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 19 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 19 Model ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 19 Site Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 20 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ . 22 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 23 Conservation and Land Ethic ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 23 Terms and Concepts ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 23 Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 24 Conservation ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 25 Sustainability ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 27 Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 28 Green Infrastructure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 29 Principles of Landscape Ecology ................................ ................................ .................... 30 Environmental Planning Policy ................................ ................................ ....................... 31 Regulatory Authority ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 32 Planning Frameworks for Land Conservation ................................ ................................ ........ 34 Land Use Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 34 Environmental Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 36 Landscape Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 38 Ecological Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 39 Sustainable Landscape Planning ................................ ................................ ..................... 40 The ABC Resource Model ................................ ................................ .............................. 41 The Greenway Movement ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 42 Greenway Planning ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 45 Greenways in Florida ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 47 Land Conservation Planning in Regulatory Policy ................................ ................................ 50 Growt h Management and Smart Growth Initiatives ................................ ....................... 50

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7 State level Conservation by Strategies ................................ ................................ ................... 52 History of Florida Land Acquisition Programs ................................ ............................... 52 Land Protection Strategies ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 54 Mitigation Banks (Wetlands) ................................ ................................ .......................... 54 Conservation Easements ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 56 Payment for Ecosystem (Environmental) Services (PES) ................................ ............... 57 Fee Simple Acquisition ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 58 Summary of Acquisition Strategies ................................ ................................ ........................ 58 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 60 SITE SELECTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 60 Existing Protected Sites ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 60 Unprotected Test Site ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 62 Analysis of Existing Protected Sites ................................ ................................ ....................... 65 Site Evaluation Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ 65 Ecological Quality ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 65 Land Value ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 70 Land Protection Costs ................................ ................................ .............................. 70 Management Costs ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 72 T ax Revenue Generation ................................ ................................ .......................... 73 Calculating Payments for Ecosystem Services ................................ ........................ 74 Analysis of Test Site ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 74 Test Site Evaluation Measures ................................ ................................ ........................ 74 Test Site Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 75 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION SITES 1 9 ................................ ................................ ............... 76 Introduction to Site 1 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 76 Site 1: 301 Land Investment Pa rcels ................................ ................................ .............. 76 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................... 81 Introduction to Site 2 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 82 Site 2: Belmore State Forest North ................................ ................................ .................. 82 Site acquisition st rategy summary ................................ ................................ ................... 87 Introduction to Site 3 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 88 Site 3: Belmore State Forest South ................................ ................................ .................. 88 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................... 93 Summary of fee simple acquisition strategy ................................ ................................ ... 93 Introduction to Site 4 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 94 Site 4: Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ................................ ................................ ...... 94 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................... 99 Introduction to Site 5 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 100 Site 5: Greens Creek Mitigatio n Bank ................................ ................................ .......... 100 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................. 104 Introduction to Site 6 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 105 Site 6: Nochaway Mitigation Bank ................................ ................................ ............... 105 Site acquisition stra tegy summary ................................ ................................ ................. 10 9

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8 Summary of Acquisitions by Mitigation Banks ................................ ............................ 110 Introduction to Site 7 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 111 Site 7: Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement ................................ ................. 111 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................. 115 Introduction to Site 8 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 116 Site 8: Arahat chee Conservation Easement ................................ ................................ .. 116 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................. 120 Summary of acquisitions by conservation easements ................................ ................... 121 Int roduction to Site 9 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 122 Site 9: Bayard Conservation Easement ................................ ................................ ........ 122 Site acquisition strategy summary ................................ ................................ ................. 126 Summary of Observations for first 9 Sites ................................ ................................ ........... 127 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR TEST SITE ................................ ................................ ..... 130 Introduction to Site 10 ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 130 Site 10: Test Site ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 131 Results and Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 135 Summary of Acquisition Strategies for Site 10 ................................ ............................. 137 STUDY CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 140 APPENDIX ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 145 Appendix A: Regional Context Map of Ocala Natl. Forest to Osceola Natl. Forest and the Florida Ecological Greenway Network Version 2008. ................................ ............... 146 ... 147 Appendix C: Local Context Map of Clay County with Conservation Lands in the F.E.G.N. Critical Linkage 1. ................................ ................................ ............................. 148 Appendix D: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Vicinity Map ................................ ...... 149 Appendix E: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Abiotic Conditions Map ..................... 150 Appendix F: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity . 151 Appendix G: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover . 152 Appendix H: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Cultural Conditions Map ................... 153 Appendix I: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North) Vicinity Map ................................ .......... 154 Appendix J: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North) Abiotic Conditions Map ........................ 155 Appendix K: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity ........... 156 Appendix L: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover ............. 157 Appendix M: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North) Cultural Conditions ............................. 158 Appendix N: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South) Vicinity Map ................................ ........ 159 Appendix O: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South) Abiotic Conditions ............................... 160 Appendix P: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity ............ 161 Appendix Q: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover ............ 162 Appendix R: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South) Cultural Conditions .............................. 163 Appendix S: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank) Vicinity Map .............................. 164 Appendix T: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank) Abiotic Conditions Map ............ 165

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9 Appendix U: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 166 Appendix V: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover . 167 Appendix W: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank) Cultural Conditions Map .......... 168 Appendix X: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Vicinity Map ............................ 169 Appendix Y: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Abiotic Conditions ................... 170 Appendix Z: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 171 Appendix AA: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ . 172 Appendix AB: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Cultural Conditions Map ...... 173 Appendix AC: Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Vicinity Map ................................ ..... 174 Appendix AD: Site 6 (Nochaway Mitiga tion Bank) Abiotic Conditions Map ................... 175 Appendix AE: Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 176 Appendix AF: Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover . 177 Appendix AG: Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Cultural Conditions Map .................. 178 Appendix AH: Site 7 (Lon gbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Vicinity Map ........ 179 Appendix AI: Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Abiotic Conditions Map ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 180 Appendix AJ: Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 181 Appendix AK: Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 182 Appendix AL: Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Cultural Conditions Map ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 183 Appendix AM: Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Vicinity Map ........................ 184 Appendix AN: Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Abiotic Conditions Map ....... 185 Appendix AO: Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation E asement) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 186 Appendix AP: Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; La nd Cover ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 187 Appendix AQ: Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Cultural Conditions Map ...... 188 Appendix AR: Site 9 (Bayard Tract) Vicinity Map ................................ ............................. 189 Appendix AS: Site 9 (Bayard Tract) Abiotic Conditions Map ................................ ............ 190 Appendix AT: Site 9 (Bayard Tract) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity ........................ 191 Appendix AU: Site 9 (Bayard Tract) Biotic Condit ions Map; Land Cover ........................ 192 Appendix AV: Site 9 (Bayard Tract) Cultural Conditions Map ................................ .......... 193 Appendix AW: Site 10 (Test Site) Vicinity Map ................................ ................................ 194 Appendix AX: Site 10 (Test Site) Abiotic Conditions Map ................................ ................ 195 Appendix AY: Site 10 (Test Site) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity ............................ 196 Appendix AZ: Site 10 (Test Site) Biotic Conditions M ap; Land Cover ............................. 197 Appendix BA: Site 10 (Test Site) Cultural Conditions Map ................................ ............... 198 Appendix BB: Site 10 (Test Site) Parcels ................................ ................................ ............ 199

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10 LIST OF TABLES Table page Table 3.1 Abiotic Factor Valuation Metric ................................ ................................ .................... 67 Table 3.3 Cultural Factor Valuations ................................ ................................ ............................. 69 Table 4.1a Site 1 Ecological Value summarizes analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 79 Table 4.1b Site 1 Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 80 Table 4.2a. Site 2 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ..... 85 Table 4.2b Site 2 Economic Value Comparison of the land values, acquisition cost, management costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 86 Table 4.3a Site 3 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ....... 91 Table 4.3b Site 3 Economic Value Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 92 Table 4.4a Site 4. Ecological Value analysis and weighted valuation of the A BC resources ...... 97 Table 4.4b Site 4. Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 98 Table 4.5a.. Site 5. Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 103 Table 4.5b Site 5. Economic Values Compariso n of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 104 Table 4.6a Site 6 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources .... 108 Table 4.6b Site 6. Econ omic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 109 Table 4.7a Site 7 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ..... 114

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11 Table 4.7b Site 7. Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisiti on. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 1 15 Table 4.8a Site 8 Ecological Value: Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources .... 119 Table 4.8 Site 8. Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 120 Table 4.9a Site 9 Ecological Value: Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources ... 125 Table 4.9b Site 9. Economic Values Compa rison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 126 Table 5.1a Site 10 Ecological Value analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources .... 134 Table 5.1b Site 10. Economic Value Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 135 Table 6.1 Pros and Cons of Each Protection Strategy ................................ ................................ . 141

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12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page Figure 1.1 Resource Model for Evaluation of Ecological Value ................................ ................... 20 Figure 1.2 Study Sites and County Context to FEGN ................................ ................................ ... 21 Figure 2.1 Components of Modern Planning (Marsh, 1991) ................................ ......................... 25 Figure 3.1 Site Selection Based on Strategies for Conservation Protection. ................................ . 60 Figure 3.2 Clay County Study Sites ................................ ................................ ............................... 61 ¹Selected from the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve (NFTWR) Program ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 61 ................................ .... 61 Figure 3.3 Map of Clay County showing FEGN Priorities & site locations ................................ . 64 Figure 4.1 Local Context of Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) ................................ ............... 78 Figure 4.2 Site 2. Local Context of Belmore State Forest North ................................ ................... 84 Figure 4.3 Site 3 Local Context Belmore State Forest South ................................ ....................... 90 Figure 4.4. Site 4 Local Context Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ................................ .......... 96 Figure 4.5. Site 5. Local Context of Greens Creek M itigation Bank ................................ ......... 102 Figure 4.6 Site 6. Local Context of Nochaway Mitigation Bank ................................ ............... 107 Figure 4.7 Site 7 Local Context of Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement .................... 113 Figure 4.8 Site 8 Local Context of Arahatchee Conservation Easement ................................ ..... 118 Figure 4.9 Site 9 Local Context of Bayard Conservation Easement ................................ ........... 124 Figure 5.1 Site 10 Local Context of Test Site ................................ ................................ .............. 133 Figure 5.2 Fifty year analysis of Test Site (Site 10) ................................ ................................ .... 139

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13 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ABC Abiotic, Biotic, Cultural CARL Conservation and Recreation Lands DRI Develops of Regional Impact 3 Economic, Equity, Ecological EEL Environmentally Endanger Lands EIA Environmental Impact Assessment ESA Environmentally Sensitive Areas FCT Florida Communities Trust FDEP Florida Department of Environmental Protection FEGN Florida Ecological Gre enways Network FFA Florida Forever Act FPL Florida Power and Light FSP Forest Stewardship Program FSS Florida State Statutes FWS Fish and Wildlife Service GIS Geographic Information System IRT Interagency Review Team LATF Land Acquisition Trust Fun d LCCE Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement LDR Land Development Regulation NEPA National Environmental Protection Act NFTWR Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve NGO Non government Organizations NIPF Non Industrial Private Forest 020 Ocala to Osceola PES Payments for Ecosystem Services SESS Stewardship Ecosystem Services Study SESSP FR Stewardship Ecosystem Services Survey Project Final Report SJRWMD SR State Road WLLA Water and La nd Legacy Act

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14 Abstract of Masters Research Project Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Landscape Architecture LAND PROTECTION STRATEGIES FOR CONSERVATION: DETERMINING THE MOST SUITABLE METHOD OF PROTEC TION FOR VALUE AND USE By Jarod Andrew Prentice May 2015 Chair: Glenn Acomb Member : Major: Landscape Architecture Ecological landscape planning, regional conser vation planning and sustainable landscape planning are examples of overlapping theoretical frameworks for environmental planning focused on the alleviation of p ressures on natural ecosystems, habitat fragmentatio n, and losses to biodiversity. Four conserv ation strategies are frequently used for protection of environmentally sensitive lands, namely: fee simple acquisition , conservation easements, payments for ecosystem services and mitigation banks. Yet, there is no consensus on which is the best strategy suited for protection of any particular site. This study uses financial evaluation measures and a modified version of a commo n resource assessment model as an applied landscape metric to evaluate post protection ecological value conditions of abiotic, bi otic, and cultural (ABC) factors of ten sites in Clay County, Florida : (4 ) existing fee simple acquisitions, (2 ) existing conservation easements, (3) existing mitigation banks, and (1) currently unprotected site. Five of these sites in Clay County were ac quired through the N ortheast F lorida T imberlands and W atershed R eserve greenway project. By establishing a rated quality for the ABC resources and providing a comparison of cost to acquire those resources strategy effectiveness can be determined for each site .

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15 A n ecological valuation, acquisition cost, management cost, and tax generation value analysi s was completed for the selected sites . Conclusions from the analyses suggest the State may need to spend considerable monies to rest ore the ecological integrity of the acquired sites to optimize their investment. The results of this study reveal that the protected properties in the N ortheast F lorida T imberlands and W atershed R eserve greenway project have low overall ecological quality largely due to disturbance from previous silviculture activities. Study results also reveal the importance of fee simple acquisitions when public access is desired and in cases where structural improvements and appurtenances are needed to maintain connec tivity. It was also found Payments for Ecosystem Services to be cost prohibitive for long term protection, yet can be desirable for short term applications, and mitigation banks were found to be the cheapest alternative when public access is not a concern , yet not all sites are suitable to serve as a mitigation bank.

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16 CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 1 PLANNING FOR CONSERVATION The last half century has produced several overlapping theoretical frameworks for environmental planning and design wit h environmental co nsciousness at their forefront (Randolph, 2004 ) . These include sustainable landscape planning (Ahern, 1995; Leitao & Ahern, 2002; Ahern, 2005), ecological landscape planning (Ndubisi, 2002; Steiner, 2008), and regional conservation plann ing (Ausden, 2007; Hoctor et al., 2008 ) . Each has the goal of alleviat ing pressures on indigenous species and natural ecosystems caused by an ever increasing rise in population and sprawling development patterns at its core (Hoctor, Carr, & Zwick, 2000; H octor et al, 2008; Ahern, Cilliers, & Niemela, 2014). Conservation and protection of land to safe guard biodiversity and other ecosystem

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17 5) that all living things depend on to sustain life. Since human beings are the d ominant species in the landscape (Jongman & Pugnetti, 2004) and have caused significant and rapid changes to the landscape (Ausden, 2007), it is our responsibility to plan for and reconcile these changes to the maximum degree possible. Thus , the three pla nning frameworks above help to set the stage for how regulatory planning authorities and decision makers in state and local governments can institute the goals and objectives for connected land scapes , air, water and biodiversity protection. Planning for c onservation and offsetting environmental impacts from development activities extends far beyond protection of air and water quality to include preservation of functional ecosystems and the dynamic services these provide (Linehan, Gross, & Finn, 1995; Ndubi si, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995; Termorshuizen & Opdam, 2009; Jongman and Pugnetti, 2004) . C onservation of ecological habitats is ultimately a process of managing inevitable change (Ausden, 2007). As land uses are intensified there often are resulting negative e ffects on the landscape, such as decreased landscape heterogeneity and increased landscape fragmentation each threatening losses of biodiversity (Ahern, 1995; Beatley, 2000). When put into action, the three planning frameworks identified above can be used to reduce land and habitat fragmentation, while promoting protection of biodiversity and offsetting negative environmental impacts. An example of these planning frameworks and land conservation goals is illustrated by the Florida Ecological Greenways Netw ork (FEGN). The FEGN is a product of nearly two decades of research and a partnership between private citizens, non governmental organizations, as well as governmental agencies. Non governmental organizations such as 1000 Friends of Florida, The Nature C onservancy, and The Conservation Trust of Florida are a few that have

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18 been recognized as working partners for greenway projects in Florida (Hoctor et al., 2008). Similarly, Federal government agencies like the Department of Defense and The National Guard Bureau have also partnered with the state of Florida to acquire lands to help buffer and prevent encroachment by development upon military installations . Collaborative and concerted initiatives like this are making great strides in land conservation (Hoct or et al., 2008 and Department of Environmental Protection , 2012 ) Effects on the Landscape Problem Among the most serious causes of biodiversity losses are landscape and habitat fragmentation that are widely recognized as the result of exte nsive roadway systems, dispersal of population growth, urban sprawl, conventional land use practices and zoning controls (Ndubuisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995; Beatley, 2000; Hoctor, et. al., 2008; Hostetler, 2012; Talen, 2012). Urban sprawl can be attributed t Habitat, 2009; pg.28). Since the year 2000 urban sprawl has increased at two times the rate of urbanized population growth (UN Habitat, 2009) consuming the landscape without ethical accountability. The hu man ability to recreate land forms and alter ecosystem functions has resulted in a crucial need to develop and explore new frameworks and methods for managing our natural environment (Jongman & Pugnetti, 2004). Because of ever increasing population growth and sprawling of human settlements (Benedict & McMahon, 2006; Zwick & Carr, 2006; Hoctor, et. al., 2008), it has become incumbent upon our society to not only recognize the negative effects of sprawl (Randolph, 2004; Hoctor, et. al., 2008; Slavin, 2011; T alen, 2012) and its resulting waste of land (Phillips, 2003), but to plan for regional landscape connectivity of environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, recreation, while providing natural habitat for wildlife and a

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19 landscape fabric for wide rang ing animal species. In so doing, we can construct a suitable method of land and biodiversity conservation that will benefit and support flora and fauna and the ecosystem services that support them all, including humans . Protecting landscape connectivity is dependent upon the ability to acquire lands of environmental significance so that they can be managed accordingly. Therefore, establishing a protection strategy specific to the site is necessary to ensure funding is being expended reasonably for the l evel of protection gained by the acquisition. Gap For the four protection strategies: fee simple, conservation easements, payments for ecosystem services and mitigation banks, there seems to be no consensus in the literature on which strategy is best sui ted for protection of a particular site. Identification of this knowledge gap conjures more questions. Is there a particular acquisition strategy that should be used based on the ecological resource value of a site? Does the degree of ecological resource value correlate to the level of protection provided by each of these strategies ? Should the same level of protection be provided to all conservation lands? Research Question With millions of dollars being spent each year by state and local governments t o acquire and protect environmentally sensi tive lands for conservation, the following research question emerge s : How effective are these four strategies at in achieving protection of ecologically valuable lands ? Model T his study uses a common resource asse ssment model to measure and assess the ecological value of abiotic, biotic and cultural (ABC) factors (see Figure 1.1) of nine protected

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20 sites and one unprotected site . In order to evaluate which protection strategy is best suited for each site, the poten tial acquisition costs of each protection strategy will be compared including the associated management cost and potential tax revenues generated by each strategy presented. The strategies are then analyzed according to the preferential use or combination of uses on the site (e.g., Abiotic, Biotic, or Cultural). Further, an additional site was selected that was not currently under protection by one of the four protection strategies. An ecological valuation, acquisition cost, and management cost analysis, and tax generation value was completed for the selected site to determine which acquisition strategy will be best suited for that property . The tenth, currently unprotected , site is evaluated as described above and based on the assessment of the nine exi sting sites a protection strategy is recommended. Figure 1.1 Resource Model for Evaluation of Ecological Value Site Selection Using the example of the FEGN and one of its most important projects, the Ocala to Osceola Corridor Project, and the Northeas t Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve (NFTWR) program, ten study sites were selected from Clay County, Florida. They consist of five sites acquired through the NFTWR, three mitigation bank sites, one independent Abiotic Cultural Biotic

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21 conservation area and one unprotected site (see Figure 1.2) . The unprotected site is used to test the preferred protection strategy based on the above research model and evaluation measures. Figure 1.2 Study Sites and County Context to FEGN

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22 Summary The results of this study are useful for understanding the relationship between resource quality and cost of protection. By establishing a quality rating for the ABC resources and providing a comparison of cost to protect those resources conclusions are drawn.

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23 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Conservation and Land Ethic Planning for conservation and providing for a communities connection to nature are not new ideas. Historical theories of openspace planning and environmental conservation date back planning have typically only ass essed provisioning of these public greens for the population or residences these are proximal to (e.g., within a five or ten minute walk), the open space or public parks (Mosley, Marzano, Chetcuti, & Watts, 2013). Providing for and conserving openspace or public greens for use and access is well documented to provide a multitude of benefits for the public health and welfare (Loukaitou Sideris, 1995; Lawson, 2007; Byrne & Wolch, 2009). This is in addition to providing the vital ecosystem services we all de pend upon for clean air, drinking water, and habitat for terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals. Terms and Concepts At the outset, it is important to provide the reader with the fundamental concepts and terms used in this dialogue, and highlight conte mporary land planning frameworks that shape our built environment, provide the foundation for the decision making process, and result in current strategies for conservation.

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24 Planning Many complex planning challenges are linked to the landscape and dispar ities between land uses and the surrounding environment (Marsh, 1991). Planning is a process that uses scientific, technical information, and organized knowledge for considering and reaching consensus on a range of choices (Steiner, 2008). Marsh (1991) pr esented three broad interrelated components of modern planning: decision making, technical planning, and landscape design (see Figure 2.1). The decision making process is an activity usually carried out by planning practitioners in conjunction with form al bodies of governmental authority. This process is a means to formulate plans, articulate planning goals and objectives then make decisions based on the best technical and scientific information available and is usually associated with land use determin ations and the intended protection of natural systems. Technical planning activities provide the basis for technical and scientific information used to support the decision making and landscape designing activities. These activities can include: species inventories, mapping of soils and wetlands, and environmental impact assessments. Once the decision making process has established plans identifying goals and objectives to be achieved the landscape design process can then begin to layout and configure c ertain land uses, features, and facilities that the plan specifies. Although listed here in a linear progression, the actual planning process should be practiced in an iterative and circuitous fashion with each component relating to the other (Marsh, 199 1). Planning and the planning process have important applications to land planning activities that are regulated by local governments.

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25 Figure 2.1 Components of Modern Planning (Marsh, 1991) We have learned from experience that local decisions have regi onal to world wide consequences, just as global and regional decisions have impacts at the local level (Hostetler, now . Consumption of natural resources, including energy source s used in our daily lives, is gathered from local, regional, and global locations affecting our land, air, and water quality; creating an learn how to consume our land in an ethically sustainable manor. We should also advocate for local regulatory land planning agencies to moderate the future growth boundaries and to preclude sprawling development patterns from being implemented in years, decades, and centuries yet to come. Conservation Conservation can be defined as planned management of natural resources, including ecosystems, to prevent over exploitation, destruction, or neglect during transformations (natural

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26 or manmade), reactions, or change (Merriam We bster, 2015). For the purposes of clarity, conservation could be considered as planned protection and management of natural resources (flora, fauna, and supporting ecosystems) during environmental changes, man made or naturally occurring, to prevent destr being of all life that is dependent on the proper functioning of ecosystems and their related services (Benedict & McMahon, 2006). This has been a leading ideology of American society that emphasizes the protection, management, and restoration of natural resources for public value, not only of natural resources, but also for sustainable social and economic applications ( Briske, 2012 ) . The early conservation movement grew from an ethical concern about losses of land and damage to natural resources from booming industrial development, expanding cities and general misuse of the environment. This emer gent concern of competition for natural resources and recognition to protect threatened environments created a need for land use and environmental planning (Marsh, 1991). Future change is inevitable, therefore it is our responsibility to identify and begi n implementing the best conservation strategies based on the available technical information. Conservation minded land planning in the United States was instituted by adopting an s notable forerunner physical, biological, and social elements of an area (Marsh, 1991). These attributes are over time (Steiner, 2008, p.15). These resource elements have become the foundation for many

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27 landscape resource assessme nts models (Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995; Leitao & Ahern, 2002). However, Steiner (2008) presented a slightly different view of conservation as : the management of human use of the environment to obtain the most sustainable benefit to present generation generations. Similarly, t development as "development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"( Bärlund, K. , 2005 ). This (2008) view of conservation. Similar to both these concepts is the notion of humans working with the lan d instead of against it and reducing the negative impacts to the landscape from the change of development. As our populations rise it is absolutely crucial that present day conservation strategies be planned for and m anaged in a sustainable manor. Sustai nability Sustainability is a very broad tern that is usually considered to be composed of three dynamic elements: economic, equity (social), and ecological (environmental) commonly morshuizen & Opdam, 2009; Ahern, 2013). Phillips (2003) suggested that the central issue overriding our relationship with the planet was sustainability; from both global and local perspectives. In recognizing the f humans arriving at a level of economic and social development that does not

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28 by the definition provided by the Brundtland Commissions Report, previously described (Ahern, 1995; Leitao, Miller, Ahern, & McGarigal, 2006; Randolph, 2004; Steiner, 2008). Therefore, sustainability is a dynamic possibly undefinable term w ith a large degree of variable applications. For this study, however, sustainability, will generally refer to terms and conditions relating to the conservation of natural lands, environments, ecological processes and systems in a manor so that vital func tions and services are maintained for equitable service to perpetuate and provide for needs of future generations. Biodiversity Biodiversity has many connotations and denotations among the environmental professions. The disciplines of planning and la ndscape architecture include guiding principles regarding the ethical treatment of the natural and built environments by their representative professional code of ethics. Inherent to these professional ethics is the need for practitioners to be savvy with (Ahern, Leduc, & York, 2006; p. 5) Biodiversity is a world wide recognized concept referring to Hostetler, 2012, p. 3) and entail three components: ecosystem diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity; Biodiversity is the pattern of connections among all levels of organisms and their physical living conditions; a natural process occurring through constant landscape level movements, disturbances, and local extinctions. (Van Der Ryn & Cowan, 1996). It is dependent on a gamut of landscapes and ecosystems ranging from (Van Der Ryn & Cowan, 1995; pg. 137).

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29 Given the numerous definitions and inclusive characteristics used throughout the sciences, the synthesized working definition of biodiversity used by Ahern, et al. (2006) will be ecosystem or region, including the ecosystem structure and function that supports and sustains the structure and function relationships between ecological processes and their resulting services thes e provide for all life forms. Green Infrastructure various meanings. Urban Foresters would consider it to be tree planting with ecological value in urban environments; yet other professionals may refer to it as an engineered structure for managing stormwater (Benedict & McMahon, 2006). However, it is considered by some t o be a life Comparable and just as necessary as roads and power lines, green infrastructure is considered to be the collective ecosystems and habitats associated with forests, riparian, and watercourse features of our natural environment (Beatley, 2000; Benedict & McMahon, 2006). other open spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and function, sustains clean air and water , and provides 105) are the importance of ecosystems being interconnected to biodiversity protection and

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30 natural systems are associated to the benefit of humans and our communities (Hoctor, et al., 2008). Since green in frastructure addresses conservation in congruence with land development and infrastructure planning it provides a framework different from that of conventional approaches to land and natural resource protection; whereas other conservation methods relate to development in opposition or isolation (Benedict & McMahon, 2006). Sometimes considered structure for land and water natural resources. Principles of Land scape Ecology As a useful source of key concepts in Landscape Ecology, I found: Landscape ecology principles in landscape architecture and land use planning by Dramstad, Olson, & Forman, 1996 to be very useful source for general concepts and a source for r elated definitions. For our discussion and deeper understanding of context of this study, some key terms stemming from the discipline of Landscape Ecology must be introduced. These concepts and terms have been sourced from (Dramstad, Olson, & Forman, 19 96) with their respective page numbers provided, as follows: plants, water, wind, mate

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31 Regional and landscape scale structural patterns are composed of three common elements: patches, corridors, and the matrix. These three elements are the common denominator used to compare dissimilar landscapes and the general terms used among land use planners and landscape architects to aid in the discussion of spatial patterns. 1) Patch es range in size, from something as large as a National or State Forest to something as small as a single tree in an urban setting. Patches are further identified by three main characteristics: Remnant, Introduced, and Disturbance 2) Corridors in the gr eater landscape may act as barriers or filters to terrestrial continuou 3) Matrix or landscape matrix is the overall structural or functional element of a vity of the natural landscape elements. Environmental Planning Policy Following the adoption of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the United States (U.S.) government has continued its commitment to the environmental quality by subsequently enacting additional legislative acts: Clean Air Act (1970), Water Pollution Control Act (1972), and Endangered Species Act (1973). Over time, these environmental laws ha ve been amended

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32 and updated to address the changing environmental effects from development (Benedict & McMahon, 2006). A chronical of the complete history of planning and policy evolution is beyond the scope of this paper. The intent is to recognize the important applications for planning when making decisions about regulations for conservation strategies. The development community, housing consumers and some local planning agencies, seem to be content in perpetuating a conventional, even antiquated, pr ocess of planning for development based on historical trends of growth management by paving roads, creating retention/detention facilities to manage stormwater runoff, and installing utility services for new residential and non residential developments (Ho stetler, 2012). Local government policies and development regulations are usually not easily configured for expedited review, or easily grasped, or tailored (Punter, 1999) toward a sustainable outcome (Talen, 2012). However, some states are changing grow th management strategies to help address impacts of sprawl, as is the case in Florida (Hoctor, et al., 2008). Regulatory Authority the needs of economic developmen t, growth management, and environmental protection for the health, safety and welfare for their citizens (Kaiser, & Godschalk, 1 995; Arendt, 1999; Punter, 1999 ). Local governments have four basic powers of authority: regulation, condemnation, spend, and tax (Steiner, 2008). For the purposes of this study, the authoritative power to regulate is most import to based on the US Department of Commerce, Standard Zoni ng Enabling Act of 1922 and the

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33 use controls which restrict factor such as d ensities and intensities of development, permissible and accessory uses, parking requirements, buffering and screening requirements, and building ( Community Planning Act, 1 975; Hostetler, 2012 ) such as subdivision ordinances (Arendt, 1999). become commonly known a s the Growth Management Act (Hostetler, 2012) which requires local governments to formulate a comprehensive plan to provide goals and objectives in the form incl ude in the comprehensive plans ( Community Planning Act, 1975 ) consist of future land use, transportation, aquifer recharge, conservation, recreation and open space, housing, coastal management (where applicable), and intergovernmental coordination. Of mos t important concern for this discussion are the elements of conservation, recreation and open space. Additionally, comprehensive planning involves conflict resolution on an extensive assortment of choices dealing with all the functions of an area or juri sdiction (Steiner, 2008). The comprehensive plan for local government is a tool that establishes the broad goals to be achieved accompanied by objectives that describe the actions that are to be taken to achieve the goals (Kaiser, 1995). Goal oriented pl anning is fundamentally intended to represent the practitioners. These comprehensive planning goals are often established and required by higher level governments mandating t he planning goals and regulatory authority of implementation and

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34 enforcement to the local level governments having to respond to an array of environmental, economic, and social planning and design related issues (Punter, 1999; Steiner, 2008). Planning F rameworks for Land C onservation In the 20th century traditional land use planning began as a simple consensus building instrument for physical form and delineation of property uses without regard to long term physical development, the contour of land forms , or a land ethic (Kaiser, 1995; Cowell 1998). Since the adoption of the NEPA of 1969, several theoretical frameworks for environmental planning and conservation planning of natural resources have evolved, mostly in recent decades, to design ways to bette r plan for and manage the human impact to the environment; each framework draws from some principles in the discipline of Landscape Ecol ogy (Ahern, 1995;Randolph, 2004; Hoctor, 2008). For the purposes of the paper this paper the planning frameworks are im portant to identify as these have slowly been incorporated into planning policies that govern environmental impacts and conservation strategies implemented by regulatory agencies. Land Use Planning defining term (Steiner, 2008) put simply as planning for how the land is used. Planning in governmental practice is common in most countries of the world; however, the role and perceptions regarding the functional purpose of land use planning significantly vary in the US ( Punter , 1999; UN Habitat, Part I, 2009 ). In the US, even the term describing the activity of land planning has several variations (e.g. urban planning, regional planning, spatial planning, physical planning, and city planning) (UN Habitat,

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35 Part I , 2009); other planning concepts providing frameworks for the planning of environmental conditions are discussed in more detail below. Arendt (1999) identified three major elements in a municipal strategy for mana ging growth to conserve land; the comprehe nsive plan, zoning ordinan ce, and subdivision ordinance with the last two being generally described collectively as part of the LDR. Comprehensive resources, the r ules that impact local built environments ( Community Planning Act, 1975 ). The comprehensive plan, goals and objectives, LDR, densities, intensities, and resulting physical form, serve as guiding regulatory documents for developing land use strategi es and the strategic framework. officials use to manage broad reaching goals and objectives of growth and development within their communities (Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995 ; Punter, 19 99 ). The fundamental notion is that each of these concepts deal with how the land is used policies in place should achieve more than just mediating conflict resolu tions; as is the case with use planning (Ahern, 1995 p. 132). Zoning laws throughout the US are fundamentally based and required by the same original source, the Zoning Enabling Act passed by Congress in 1926 (Arendt, 1999 , Punter, 1999 ). The Zoning Enabling physical form of development, such as: building heights, setbacks, lot size, residential densities, and nonresidential intensities (Punter, 1999).

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36 When it comes to land use planning, zoning agencies, through the comprehensive plans ents used for regulating densities, intensities, and design control (Punter, 1999). Sometimes these agencies are without properly trained personnel or means for professional guidance (Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995) to adequately address potential developme nt issues and relationships of the potential impacts to ecosystem processes related to resulting development patterns. Subsequently, this leaves the outcome of major environmental concerns and crucial ecosystem functions in the hands of laymen. Minimum r environmental processes and relationships between natural ecosystems and man made patterns altering the landscape. In these cases current land use planning and zoning schemes ma y fail to properly account for the impacts to ecosystems structures and biologic diversity which has a tendency to encourage landscape fragmentation, less connectivity to natural habitats, and respective ecosystem functions (Linehan, Gross, & Finn, 1995). Environmental Planning Randolph (2004) described environmental land use planning as an interdisciplinary field integrating science and politics to develop effective strategies for land development and conservation. This is an important definition becau se it identified a relationship where science, or scientific information, is integrated with the political decision making process. In this context use planning for develo activities to manage the acquisition, transformation, distribution, and disposal of resourc es in a manner capable of sustaining human activities, with a minimum distribution of physical,

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37 sufficient process identifies and accounts for the acquisition to dis posal of input resources throughout the process. The ability of these activities to self regulate is a necessary aspect to consider when practicing environmental planning. de those planning and management activities where there is an emphasis on environmental considerations, such as air and water quality; while the social, ecological, and physical factors hors emphasized that environmental considerations should not discount the need to account for the human relationships involved with environmental planning. These definitions vary to some degree, but have common elemental considerations, such as, managing human (social) impacts to environmental processes. planning activity, dealing with landscape features, processes and systems for the sustainable use Kato & Ahern, 2008, p. 544 ), in which human landscape interactions are primary attributes to landscape planning. The environmental planning defi nition provided by Steiner (2008) and the landscape planning definition provided by Kato & Ahern (2008) are very similar in that they both account for resource allocations, eluding to natural processes like decomposition and nutrient cycles that are attrib uting factors of ecosystem services. In this conceptual framework, the landscape is considered to be the unifying spatial element which should account for both human activities and the processes and services provided by various ecosystems within the lands cape.

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38 Landscape Planning According to Cowell (1998), landscape planning is based on an ecological approach to land use planning that involves the application of ecosystem concepts (e.g. structure and function) of the landscapes biotic and abiotic constitue nts as the primary basis of land use designations. Maintaining and restoring ecological functions to the maximum potential extent is paramount. This landscape planning approach requires an understanding of landscape interventions at multiple scales and ti me based characteristics necessary for habitat conservation and biodiversity, further providing a framework basis for: land use planning, habitat management and inventory and monitoring for habitat protection (Cowell, 1998). Further stating lly, the principles of conservation biology relate to ecosystem function and prescription for various spatial arrangements of land uses intended to achieve expl icit goals. This prescription is more adaptable than formulaic to achieve the intended goals. This achieve a sustainable outcome. These landscape planning s trategies are: protective, defensive, offensive, and opportunistic (Ahern, 1995; Ahern, 2005). procedural, Ahern (2005) provided examples of the substantive theory as islan d biogeography, prospect refuge, participative theory, and habitat theory which supports an understanding of the landscape interface of natural and cultural processes. On the other hand, procedural theory, focused on methodological issues, recommends the actions necessary to put the substantive theory into practice (e.g., suitability analyses). Planners use substantive theories for information while procedural theories are used as a framework to organize the information (Ahern, 2005). Planning, being a time sensitive activity

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39 is constantly faced with unique and often unforeseen situations and cannot always wait for all scientific data to accumulate in order to support planning decisions. Landscape planning necessitates the use of substantive theories to influence dynamic landscape processes by incorporating proactive approaches to the decision making process about real world problems (Kato & Ahern , 2008 ). Ecological Planning Ecological information has been used in planning and national policy since 1969 , when the US Congress enacted NEPA (Marsh, 1991; Ndubisi, 2002; Benedict & McMahon, 2006; Steiner, 2008). NEPA required all federal agencies to utilize ecological information in the p. 4). Stemming from the federal legislative enactment of NEPA, environmental planning emerged as a formal professional practice (Marsh, 1991). Thus, ecological planning is the use of biophysical and sociocultural information used to suggest opportunitie s and constraints for decision making about the use of the landscape (Steiner, 2008). Ahern (2005) identified landscape ecological planning as a concentration of the linkages of the landscape as the primary spatial unit for planning recommendations . Ste iner (2008) process for studying biophysical and sociocultural systems to reveal the best spatial arrangement for land use activities. St

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40 establishing goals, implementation and administrative plans, and the benefits of public participation. pportunities developed similar ABC criteria for his model of ecological planning. Regardless of the lanning, Steiner (2008) asserts Sustainable Landscape Planning New theoretical frameworks and approaches to land use planning have been established which take into account a broad landscape scale approach to land planning, based on local goals of resource orientation for sustainable landscape planning (Ahern, 2005) and connectivity to green networks (Moseley et al., 2013). Ahern (2005) described sustainable planning as an ac tivity centered on integrating spatial, policy, and social/economic planning sectors across social, economic, and environmental disciplines thereby implementing sustainable principles in ysical planning in a broader Biodiversity is the most important goal for greenways relative to sustainable landscape planning (Ahern, 1995). Ahern (2005) presented a theoretical framework of planning that expanded from landscape planning to landscape ecological planning, yet further refining the framework he of sustainabili Additionally, Ahern (2005) described

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41 five typologies of sustainable landscape planning: theoretical orientation (substantive/procedural), resource or goal orientation, interdisciplinary, strategic orientation, and spatial concepts. Of notable importance within this classification are the resource orientation, strategic orientation, and spatial concepts categories. Kato & Ahern (2008) described this framework seems to provide the best opportunity to incorporate greenway planning strategies into local government comprehensive plans, similar to the study done in Walton County, Georgia (Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995). T he ABC Resource Model Although fun planning other more recent examples of how the ABC resource model can be implemented have been conducted by the following authors. Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto (1995) documented a pilot study t hat demonstrated the application of a modified ABC model to assess environmentally The ABC model has many appealing features to resource surveys. In particular t o the Walton County example, it recognized an interdependence of natural and human processes that represented a combined approach to ESA planning (Ndubisi, DeMeo, & Ditto, 1995). In another example, when deciding to adopt a greenway strategy, Ahern (1995) suggested that the ABC Ahern (2007) applied the ABC resource model to articulate the ecological functions of green urban infrastructures; a spatial concept that focuses on connecting relic green spaces with the built infrastructure that provides

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42 h in water resource planning that addressed the ABC a ttributes of water resources. Even Ahern (2005 ) recognized the similarities between step process for ecological planning and . According to Ahern (2005) t he resource orientation approach to sustainable landscape lan landscape around it to change (Ahern, 2005). This approach can also be effective in preventing Based on the identified planning frameworks, it is clear that strategies have been formulated to g ive greater consideration to the discipline of ecology in planning systems. Ahern (2005) suggested using the framework method for sustainable landscape ecological planning that clearly addresses the multiple ABC resources in a cyclical and iterative proce ss guiding the planning process through alternative scenarios to inform and inspire the planning and decision making processes to link actions with potential outcomes and trial and error planning. The Greenway M ovement Park planning popular in the 19th c entury shifted to open space planning in the US in the late 20th century (Fabos, 1995). Open space planning considers planning activities centered on p, 6 ). Since open space can be a place for either recreation or protection of natural systems,

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43 planning to serve these multiple purposes becomes more dynamic (Fabos, 1995). The concepts of park planning and planning for open spaces have fused in the form of gree nways. The greenway movement is now moving into its second decade of existence in the US Outdoors in the US (1987) (Fabos, 1995). The Commission presented a future 1995; p. 1). The greenway movement has bolstered inte ractions and expanded dialogues between the disciplines of wildlife biologists, landscape ecologists, and practitioners of landscape architecture and planning (Fabos, 1995). but The corridor concept relative to greenways is supported by a pre existing nature based network of ecological systems and environmentally sensitive land fo rms, such as river and stream corridors, steep slopes or embankments which have a high erosion potential, floodplains, or attenuating flood waters (Fabos, 1995). Greenways can be considered woven networks of environmentally sensitive lands and land corrid ors that are planned, designed, and managed for a multitude of different yet accommodating purposes of ecological, recreational, and cultural value along with similar p.134 ). Mor eover, Ahern (1995) identified an opportunity for greenways to be a relevant planning strategy for landscape sustainability. This idea is important to this study in that it identifies a relevant framework to evaluate different conservation strategies as a measure of landscape connectivity.

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44 1995; p. 133), or ecological networks (Jongm an &Pugnetti, 2004), or a linked reserve system (Hoctor, Carr, & Zwick, 2000), or land corridors (Hoctor et al., 2008), greenways have become a part of state level regional planning strategies (Hoctor et al., 2008). Ahern (1995) proposed an inclusive def containing linear elements that are planned, designed, and managed for multiple purposes including ecological, recreational, cultural, aesthetic, or other purposes compatible with the concept of sustainable land consideration (Ahern, 1995): Non linear spatial arrangements allow for particular advantages with the movement and transportation of materials, species, and nutrients within a gradation of natural systems. Linkage is a characteristic relating to a vast landscape context, in the di scipline of landscape ecology, the landscape context is deemed the landscape matrix, the linked and integrated natural system attained by the combined effect of a network. It is multifunctional. It is a fundamental strategy consistent with the concept In an effort to categorized greenways, Fabos (1995) placed the majority of greenways into three major categories: a) Those of ecologically signi ficant corridors and natural systems, b) Those of recreational trails with scenic value by land or water linkages,

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45 c) Those of historical heritage and cultural values that attract tourism and educational opportunities. These major categories described by F abos (1995) are consistent with the major ideas known to provide and achieve. Greenway Planning Many local actors and non profit organizations are committed to t he greenway movement (Fabos, 1995) and support for regional conservation strategies have been noted in several states including Oregon and Florida in recent years, by 1992, all six New England states had developed wide greenway any character and greenway planning should be regarded as a complement, not a replacement to comprehensive planning agendas. Besides their most corroborated role in alleviating the negative effects of l and fragmentation, greenways have the following potential ecological benefits: to normalize landscape functions and flows (e.g., energy, nutrient cycles, and species mobility) between landscape elements (Ahern, 1995). It should be noted that the National Park level greenway planning activities (Fabos, 1995; p. 9). focus on achieving multiple benefits through combinations of spatially and functionally compatible land uses within a network. An important attribute of greenways, by way of open space planning, is that they provides a response to the growing concerns for the interconnected ness of ecological systems. Greenways have been shown to provide various uses and potentials for: protection of natural systems, such as, water filtration and purification;

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46 recreation and tourism by various active and passive activities, and; protection of historical character and intrinsic cultural identity to the local area (Fabos, 1995). In addition to the multifunctional and inclusionary elements of greenways another key function of greenways is to determine alternative ways of merging compatible us es for greenways while sorting out incompatible uses. In this context, greenways become a framework for strategic consensus building (Ahern, 1995), a necessary element to land planning practitioners both in private sectors and in public regulatory agenci es. Existing conservation schemes have done well to protect patches of open space areas and habitat; yet, this patchwork protection approach to land conservation has not fully succeeded in the protection of wider reaching ecosystems and large scale network s of indigenous plant or animal communities. As we know that fragmentation is one of the largest threats to conserving biodiversity and with the primary function of greenways being to establish larger scale linkages and networks of ecosystems to protect a gainst encroaching development and disturbance (p. 192) and regional species losses (Linehan, Gross, & Finn, 1995). Steady progression of acceptance for greenway planning has recognized greenway Gross, and Finn, 1995, p.179). However, more often than not, local level planning agencies often fail to acknowledge or adequately address the significant application of regional the connection effective

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47 s, & Finn, account for biological diversity and may actually encourage f Hoctor et al., (2008) sufficiently present the need for regional planning effort to combat Hoctor, T.S. (2008) populations and ecosyste structure since there is consensus among conservation researchers, Greenways in Florida Spearheaded by Governor Lawton Chiles and the Greenways Commission, in 1993, the Florida Greenway s program begins to take shape. In 1994, the Florida Greenways Commission (FGC) 2006, p. 51): an Ecological Network and a Recreational/ Cultural Network. The former ing of ecological hubs, linkages, and sites along rivers and coastlines and across

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48 rking landscapes, initiative transitioned form privately led program to publicly led program, funded by the state McMahon, 2006). Florida Greenw ays and Trails Act, 1979). Per the definition provided by the Florid a Greenways and Trails Act (1979 established along a natural corridor or man made corridor converted to a recreational use; an open space conne ( Florida Greenways and Trails Act, 1979 ). However, when implementing supporting initiatives by local planning a uthorities, the lands identified as greenways by the state are not to be adopted b y local policies use, ( Fl orida Greenways and Trails Act, 1979 ) . Although justifiable, t his state imposed legislative restriction on local g s power to regulate creates an influential disconnect between state and local governments planning goals and more specifically for the planning goal of achieving a functionally connecte d statewide system of greenways. Yet, this disconnect is even more influential to the establishment of greenways that are of open space connections between parks, preserves, forests, refuges and the like that cross multiple jurisdictional boundaries. ecological reserve network in

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49 Greenways and Trails in conjunction with the University of Florida GeoPlan Center has produced ranked priorities of lands to form a linked r eserve network for the entire state of Florida, known as the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) (Hoctor et al., 2008). the ec ological significance over the land (Hoctor et al., 2008, p. 96). The FEGN with its ranked priorities of ecologically significant lands is what the state legislature uses to inform land acquisitions decisions supported by the continuum of land acquisition programs mentioned non or et al., 2008). Furthermore, as described by om the Ocala National Forest in Central Florida to the Osceola National Forest and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in North Florida and Southeast Georgia e most important north with its motivating influence .

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50 Land Conservation Planning in Regulatory Policy Growt h Management and Smart Growth Initiatives American ideology. Following the lead initiatives and legislative measures enacted by the federal government, states and local gove rnments began adopting programs with objectives for 2002). States like Vermont, California, Oregon, and Florida were inspired, from growing concerns of environment growth in there jurisdictional areas (Ndubisi, 2002; p. 26). Specific to Florida, the Florida State Com prehensive Planning Act of (1972) established the Growth Management portion of the actions necessary to implement the state comprehensive plan with regard to the physical growth Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of (1972 ). The considerations to be addressed, such as: identificat ion of state environmental significance and establishing strategies to protect these ( Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of ( 1972 ); Florida State Comprehe nsive Planning Act of (1972 ); promoting land acquisition Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of (1972); put forward goals, objectives, and po Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of (1972); provide recommendation to local governments on when and the degree to which thei r

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51 Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of (1972 ) . comprehensive plan is not required to provide an accompanying land use map. This aspect jurisdictions. In the hands of regulatory authority this requires local governments to maintain minimum standards set forth by the state and allows f or local governments to provide for more restrictive measures of growth management at the local level. This is a key point that local maximize la ) by alternative techniques from traditional fee simple purcha se acquisitions to help achieve public policy goals, such as: on, and and by allowing private property owners to simple purchase acquisitions. Although not explicitly stated in the Florida Preservation 2000 Act, this was one of the first legislative examples of payments for ecosystem services (PES). The Florida Preservation 2000 Act only had a ten year self life of funding support from the state legislature effectively expiring in 2010; however, it is a statement to the commitment that the state policy makers have towar d environmental protection and conservation initiatives. Conservation Act (1972 ) the Florida legislature

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52 Conservatio n Act (1972 ) as the next incarnation of a land acquisition program aimed at State level Conservation by Strategies History of Florida Land Acquisition Programs taken proactive, legislative measures to acquire environmentally sensitive areas for conservation and recreational purposes ( Farr, J.A.; Brock, O.G. , 2012 ). Beginning in 1963, the Florida Legislature initiated a series of land acquisition programs with t he creation of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to purchase land for conservation and recreation purposes. The Florida Legislature subsequently passed the Land Conservation Act, thereby creating the Environmentally Endangered Lands (E.E.L.) program that was designed to protect unique and irreplaceable lands. Unlike the LATF program, the EEL program did not focus on resource based recreational goals as a basis for land acquisitions. In 1979, the Florida legislature expanded the EEL program by creat ing the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program that established new administrative procedures for Legislature passed the Preservation 2000 Act in 1990 t o provide a continuous source of revenue from documentary stamp taxes to be dispersed to established programs like the CARL program, a newly created Florida Communities Trust (FCT) program that supported land acquisitions by local governments and dispersio n of funds to state agencies, such as the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the Division of Forestry. The Florida Forever Act (FFA) succeeded the Preservation 2000 Act, allowed for continued funding for land acquisition. Unlike the precedin g land acquisition programs, FFA placed a larger focus on protecting water resources and supplies, while placing new emphasis on

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53 Farr, J.A. ; Brock, O.G. , 2012 ). Additionally, the FFA established eight specific goals with 34 performance measures that guide land acquisitions to include an emphasis w ater resource and ecological function ( Farr, J.A.; Brock, O.G. , 2012 ). Under the Preservation 2000, and Florida Forever programs the Florida legislature routinely spent $300 million per year on purchases ( Florida Amendments Project , 2014 ), the maximum all owed per Florida State Statutes (FFS), between the year 2000 and 2007. that enacts the next iteration of land acquisition programs in the state. Amendment 1, also known as the Water and Land Legacy Act (WLLA), will continue legislative measures initiated by the Florida Forever program by funding the LAFT to acquire, restore, improve, and manage: conservation lands such as wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitats; th e protection of water resources, drinking water sources, outdoor recreational lands, working farms, and geologic sites ( Florida Amendments Project , 2014 ). Under the above mentioned land acquisition programs, Florida and local government agencies commonly plan for and institute regulatory frameworks and land protection strategies such as: fee simple (FS) purchase, conservation easements (CE), and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Regulatory agencies also provide oversight of mitigation bank (MB) site s for protection of wetland ecosystems and there functions, nature based recreation and tourism, and compensation for unfavorable impacts caused by development. These conservation strategies have traditionally been applied to isolated patches of conservati on lands which is in contrast to more recent approaches, inspired by principles of landscape ecology, for local and regional

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54 conservation planning goals to incorporate concepts like linked landscape reserve systems and ecological land corridors which empha size the need for landscape connectivity to protect biodiversity, landscape functions, and ecosystem services. These broad concepts have been put to use in Florida and have become better known as ecological greenways (Ahern, 2007; Steiner, 2008; Hoctor et al., 2008 ). Land Protection Strategies Mitigation Banks (Wetlands) A mitigation bank is a wetland or other aquatic resource area that has been created, restored, or enhanced ( Natural Resource Conservation Service, 2015 ) to provide compensation the: bank site, bank instrument, interagency review team (IRT), and the service area. The ally requires wetlands being lost or impacted ( Natural Resource Conservation Service, 2015 ). The responsibility of implementation and success of the compensatory mitigation is assumed by a non permittee party or entity who assumes liability of the ecological management and long term success for protection of the mitigated functions or features. In response to critiques questioning the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation, governing agencies released the National Wetland Mitigation Action Plan in 2002 which included action items intended to improve the ecological performance of compensatory mitigation ( U nited S tates E nvironmental P rotection A gency, 2014 ). Accor ding to U nited S tates E nvironmental P rotection A gency ( 2014 ) mitigation banking has advantages over traditional permittee responsible compensatory mitigation in that mitigation banking programs are able to: (a) reduce uncertainty in offsetting project im pacts; and (b)

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55 accumulating information on planning and scientific expertise that provides more cost effective mitigation opportunities and efficient use of agency resources ( USEPA, 2014 ). Flo rida Water Resources Act (1972) describes mitigation banks to provide ecological value from greater likelihood of environmental success associated with proper construction and management. This same paragraph states: enhancement of degraded ecosystems and the preservat ion of uplands and wetlands as intact ( Flo rida Water Resources Act, 1972 ). considered: 1. Does mitigation banking promote conservation in a sustainable manor? 2. (Section 404) reasonable? 3. Does allowing the impact of wetlands on one parcel of property or development site justi fy recreation of wetlands on an off parcel or off property site where wetlands my not have been originally? 4. How can we justify disturbance one ecosystem by mandating disturbance to another ecosystem? This conservation strategy allows for impacts to c ertain ecological communities and species, provided that a quid pro quo method be used to satisfy the impacts elsewhere; either by a the effected wildlife speci es.

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56 Conservation Easements flexibility and individual customization of applied restrictions while allowing existing and is usually placed in perpetuity ( Florida Forest Stewardship, 2014 ). Subject to Florida State Statutes , Title XL, Easem ents (1976) , conservation programs are established and run by all levels Main, M.B.; Karim, A.; Hostetler, M.E. , 2014 ) . In order to protect certain qualities (e.g. wildlife habitat, open space, or natural character ) of the subject property a landowner may sell or transfer the development rights (TDR) to all or part of the land to a conservation organization (private or public) for the use of its non agricultural or non open spaces areas ( Florida Forest Stewardship, 2014 ). Considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to be a habitat management technique, a conservation easement is a ncy). Two important elements in a comprehensive strategy to reverse habitat fragmentation are a habitat restoration program (e.g. Partners for Fish and Wildlife) and a habitat protection program by way of voluntary conservation easements ( United States F ish and Wildlife Service, 2014 ). The purpose of developing relations among Partners for Fish and Wildlife, local conservation foundations, and national private foundations are twofold: (a) presence of local broad based conservation groups supporting habi tat restoration, and (b) increased habitat funding from national private foundations ( United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014 ). Advantages of conservation easements: Financial; tax relief (income, real property, and estate)

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57 Assures land managem in perpetuity) Disadvantages of conservation easements: Restricts development options, potentially reducing market values Usually not open for public access ( Main, M.B.; Karim, A.; Hostetler, M.E. , 2014 and Little Traverse Conservancy , 2014 ). Conservation easements can be a favorable option for landowners who want to protect their land from future development ( Florida Forest Stewardship, 2014 ) and a measure for cost effective conservation ( United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014 ). Conservation easements are one of most effective tools for conserving private lands and extend conservation funds by protecting ecologically important lands on private properties ( The Nature Conservancy, 200 3 ). Payment for Ecosystem (Environmental) Services (PES) As with other terms, the definitions for PES are variable. One such applicable definition can be generally applied to the well is ma UN, United Nations Environment Programme , 2014, p.1 rvice such UN, United Nations Environment Programme , 2014 p. 1). PES projects have been effective tools in bridging public and private partnerships, especially in rural developments, and PES structures are capable of safeguarding long term commitments to deliver ecosystem services that may be difficult to achieve ( UN, United Nations Environment Programme, 2014).

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58 Although this definition satisfactorily addresses the condition of payme nt(s), it does not fully express what is meant by ecosystem services. To elaborate further, ecosystem services can be better described as those components of natural structures and processes that are enjoyed, consumed, or utilized (either directly or indi rectly) to produce measureable benefits for humans ( Escobedo, F. and Timilsina, 2010 ). Since PES structures are a relatively new approach to conservation as a strategy for providing remuneration for the use of ecosystem services, defining an accurate val ue for any one or multiple ecosystem services is a major challenge. The United Nations Environment Programme (2014) highlighted and described several European PES schemes being used for the valuation of biodiversity and forest services. However, more loc al PES examples for carbon sequestration and carbon neutral (Hoctor et al., 2008) schemes have spawned in the mid Atlantic region of the US. Fee Simple Acquisition At its most basic description, fee simple is the direct purchase of the real property, or, acquisition of all the interests in a property that results in its ownership (Benedict & McMahon, 2006). This strategy could be considered as the highest level of protection measures for land conservation and protection of the natural resources. Summary o f Acquisition Strategies Each of these conservation strategies has its origins or fundamental beginnings based in the planning frameworks presented in this study. These planning frameworks have adapted to new scientific information and dialogues between t he sciences and design disciplines. As such,

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59 so should the application of strategic spatial planning activities beginning to emerge in public sector planning agencies. There is now substantial evidence and information available for the need to develop re levant spatial strategies to land planning in order to achieve the local and regional planning goals. Conservation of natural resources and biodiversity and providing for nature based recreational and open space activities, are required elements within lo cal ecological greenways and provisions for greenway planning strategies at local levels. However, these are only partial considerations to achieve a suitable long term acquisition strategy to satisfy State goals such as the FEGN. It seems that the best acquisition strategy is not likely to come solely from one method, but a combination of multiple methods that can address the relationships between current and future hu man demands while protecting ecosystem functions and services of future natural resource supplies.

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60 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY SITE SELECTION Existing Protected Site s S ites within the 2008 Critical Linkage 1 (highest priority) , the O2O Corridor Project, and other priority corridors in Clay County, Florida were selected for this study. All sites were a minimum area of 640 acres (approximately one square mile), and were owned and/or managed lands by a state agency, or otherwise subject to state pe rmitting regulations for mitigation banks . Additionally, these sites were selected because they were protected through one of the following strategies: fee simple acquisition, conservation easement, or mitigation bank. No sites in Clay County are protec ted through PES, so it was not possible to include such a site in the study. Figure 3.1 Site Selection Based on Strategies for Conservation Protection. Protection Strategies for Conservation Fee Simple (4 Sites) Conservation Easement (2 Sites) Mitigation Bank (3 Sites) PES (0 Sites)

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61 Three sites from the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve (NFTWR) program (see Figure 3 .2) were selected for the Fee Simple acquisition category and are identified Investment Parcels . Also, one other site, Bayard Tract, was included to this group of fee simple acquisitions . In addition, two sites from the NFTWR program were selected shown to be Than Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement. Figure 3.2 Clay County Study Sites ¹Selected from the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve (NFTWR) Program ² Oversight provided by Each of these five sites from the NFTWR project is managed by The Division of F orestry, a state agency , according to the data set Florida Managed Areas of March 2012

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62 obtained from the Florida Geographic Data Lib The Bayard Tract was selected from the Florida Managed Areas of March 2012 data set where it is iden ti fied as a his property is owned and Management District (SJRWMD) . T hree mitigation bank sites were identified and selected from the Geographic Information System (GIS) data set of M itig ation B ank s . All three are situated Greens Creek, Highlands Ranch, and Nochaway. Unprotected Test Site A 10th site, yet to be protected, was selected to provide the opportu nity to determine what the best protection strategy for it might be. This site was selected under similar criteria as the other nine sites, such as minimum patch size and situated within a portion of FEGN Critical linkage 1or other priority level corridor within Clay County. The overall connectedness of the Critical Linkage 1 is challenged by parcelization, silviculture, mineral extraction activities, disjoined patches of protected areas, and several roadway barriers just within Clay County. Aside from ot her equally important challenging areas , the northwest corner of Clay County is highlighted in this study and the tenth site was selected from a group of adjacent parcels in this corner of the county. T wo p arallel right of way barriers, US Highway 301 a nd CSX Corporation (CSX) railroad are at their closest paral lel point in this corner of Clay County. T he close proximity of these two corridors presents a compounded barrier to the mobility of wide ranging fauna species . Instead of dwelling on the multip le barrier issue as a constraint ; it really presents an opportunity to provide a land bridge, as a wildlife crossing, across these two corridor barriers in an effort to prevent road way mortality by directing species through the surround ing land uses.

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63 The s urrounding land uses (e.g., mining and extraction, industrial, saw mills, and lumber yards) in this area presents certain challenges to maintaining and restoring habitat for preserving biodiversity and maintaining vital ecosystem services . Excluding other equally important factors, this study site will address the challenges of fauna crossing the US 3 01 and CSX railroad corridors by determining what the best protection strategy might be .

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64 Figure 3.3 Map of Clay County showing FEGN Priorities & site locat ions

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65 Analysis of Existing Protected Sites Site Evaluation Measures The following five assessments were used for a comparative analysis and evaluation all ten sites reviewed in this study. 1) Ecological qualities of each site were determined by the AB C met rics provided in Tables 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 . 2) Basic land values were established in order to be used to compare sites estimated values . 3) The potential costs of the four conservation strategies were established for each site. 4) The management costs we re determin ed for each site. 5) The tax generation was determined for each site . Ecologic al Quality By using a modified version of ) ABC resource model, each property was analyzed to establish a n overall ecologic al value. Ana lyzed abiotic resources included: patch size (total site area), wetland area percentage of site area, aquifer recharge, and topographic conditions by percent slope (see Table 3.1 ). Biotic resources were analyzed including: biodiversity factors of identifi ed focal species, species priorities, species richness, connectedness and corridors; land cover factors, bare soil conditions by the percent of site area, whether a monoculture or natural gradient was present on the site, as evident by presence of natural succession zones (see Table 3.2 ). Lastly, cultural resources were evaluated including recreational factors of existing trial systems and trail system opportunities; production factors of food, fiber, and timber conditions by farmland classification curren tly being provided on each site (see Table 3.3 ). the analyzed factors of ABC resource classes and ordinal point values of 1, 2, and 3, respectively, were applied to each resource facto r. The point values for each resource factor were then averaged per category then multiplied by a given weighted factor; 40% for Abiotic,

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66 40% for Biotic, and 20% for Cultural resources and finally totaled to derive an overall ecologic value for each site that ranged from 1.00 3.00 .

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67 Table 3.1 Abiotic Factor Valuation Metric Abiotic Criteria Value Patch Size Total Acres 650 2,000 1 LOW X 2,001 6,000 2 MODERATE 6,001 10,000+ 3 HIGH Hydrologic Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) 1 t ype, 0 % 25% 1 LOW X 1 2 types, 26% 50% 2 MODERATE 1 2 types, 51% 75% 3 HIGH Groundwater Aquifer Recharge/ Discharge / Yr. 1 LOW X 2 MODERATE 3 HIGH Slope Flat Steep 1 LOW X 1 2 Ridges, > 3% 2 MODERATE 3+ Ridges, > 3% 3 HIGH

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68 Table 3.2 Biotic Factor Valuation Metric Biotic C riteria Value Biodiversity Focal Species 1 3 species in Wetland Areas 1 LOW X 1 3 species in Wetland or Upland Areas 2 MODERATE 4 6 species in Wetland or Upland Areas 3 HIGH Species Priorities None 1 LOW X Priority Value 3 6 2 MODERATE Priority Value 1 & 2 3 HIGH Species Richness None 1 LOW X Priority Value 3 6 2 MODERATE Priority Value 1 & 2 3 HIGH Connectedness / Corridor W/in a FEGN Priority Area, connected to riparian systems, but disconnected from an adjacent protected land(s) 1 LOW X W/in FEGN Crit. Link 1 & connected to adjacent protected lands, & riparian systems 2 MODERATE W/in FEGN Crit. Link. 1, connected to adjacent protected land(s), & connected to riparian systems 3 HIGH Land Cover Bare Soils Monocul ture Natural gradient Bare Soils Present 1 LOW X Presence of Monoculture (Native or Non Native) 2 MODERATE Existing gradients of succession zones 3 HIGH

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69 Table 3.3 Cultural Factor Valuations Cultural Criteria Value Recreation: ( by State Trails Data) Active Passive No trails existing 1 LOW Identified Opportunities: Active/Passive 2 MODERATE Existing Trails Present 3 HIGH Production: ( by Farmland Classification in Soils Data) Food Fiber Timber Prime farmland 1 LOW Farmland of local importance 2 MODERATE Farmland of Statewide importance 3 HIGH

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70 Land Value B asic land values were derived from the Clay County Property Appraisers available data for the Fiscal Year 20 14. Due to variable propert y assessment techniques and allowable exemptions for certain use s used as the source value to establish the basic land value of each site. This lan d value data was tabulated and totaled for each parcel within the identified study site and then converted to a per acre value to establish a constant comparative factor to be analyzed with the four types of acquisition costs. The land value category was preferred over other listed values because it did not account for property improvements like building structures without influence of building and construction imp rovements or market values. If no land value instead to establish a baseline value of the land. Furthermore, the land value figure was used because it assumes that the property appraisal methodology has created a fair relative value for each parcel, regardless of ownership or use. Land Protection Costs For the purposes of this study, the cost to permanently protect the environmentally sensitive lands was consid the transactional cost to protect the property for each acquisition strategy. For each site, the transactional cost of protection was calculated for all 4 strategies, regardless of how the site is actually protected. Comparisons have been made between PES and the three other acquisition methods (fee simple, conservation easement, and mitigation bank) reviewed by this study.

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71 T he acquisition value for the PES was based on an estimated value that a typical acre of forest land, enrolled in the Florida Forest Stewardship Program (FSP), provides in ecosystem services. This figure is based on estimated values for ecosystem services at the time of publication, 2010, of the Stewardship Ecosy ste m Services Survey Project Final Repo rt (SESSP FR ). Land acquisition values were derived from the most recent sale data identified from the Clay County Property Appraisers online database for each parcel (or as otherwise noted) c omprising the total site area . The acquisition value derived from the most recent sale data was calculated and described for how the site was actually acquire d in a per acre value . If the site was acquired by fee simple acquisition the calculated most recent sale data was appl ied to the sites fee simple acquisition strategy. For the four sites meeting this condition the remaining acquisition values to be derived (CE and MB) were calculated by using the Land Value; whereas, the CE acquisition value is one half the Land Value an d the MB acquisition value equals the Land Value figure. Likewise, if the site was actually acquired by a conservation easement acquisition , the calculated most recent sale data was applied to the sites conservation easement acquisition strategy, as in t he case for Arahatchee and Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easements. For these two CE sites, the remaining acquisition values (FS and MB) were calculated by using the Land Value; whereas, the FS acquisition value is two times that of the Land Value and the MB acquisition value equals the Land Value figure. And as with mitigation banks, i f the site was acquired as a mitigation bank acquisition the calculated most recent sale data was applied to the sites mitigation bank acquisition strategy. For these sites, the remaining acquisition values (FS and CE) were also calculated by using the

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72 Land Value; whereas, the FS acquisition value is twice the Land Value and the CE acquisition value is one half the Land Value figure . Once the acquisition values were cal culated for each of the four protection strategies and for each site and described in a per acre figure. Next, t he Future Value of the per acre figure was calculated to provide a present day (2014) acquisition value to the land protection costs for each s ite. The Future Value is based on a compounded annual percentage rate that was calculated for each site. The percentage rate was calculated based on the year of acquisition with the year 2005 being a threshold year that divided the percentage rate. Ther efore, each year of acquisition prior to 2005 was given a 2% compounded rate and each year after 2005 was given a 5% compounded rate. So, the final Acquisition Cost per acre, provided in the Economic Comparison Tables, for each site represents the produc t of the Land Value figures described above, the actual transaction figures based on the most recent sale data, then multiplied by compounding interest rates to provide a present value in 2014 dollars. Management Costs As it relates to this study, managem ent costs were considered to be those costs incurred for preparation of management plans and general annual labor and expenses associated with managing or maintaining the property and its ancillary facilities (e.g., prescribed burns in fire dependent ecosy stems or managing invasive exotic species). C osts associated with construction of facilities and personnel to staff the facilities, were not included . M anagement cost s for mitigation banks are variable depen ding on the permitting criteria, yet regardless , are not a cost to the public. Thus, management or maintenance costs incurred by mitigation banks have been excluded from this study as there is no cost incurred by the public for management or

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73 maintenance. The SJ RWMD is the entity responsible f or managing the majority of th e properties used in this study. Their management cost per acre includes terrestrial invasive plant control and will be used as a constant management cost to the public for the selected study sites. The SJRWMD annual per acr e management cost was identified as $11.52 for the fiscal year 2013 14 ( S. R. Miller personal communication , October 29, 2014 ). I t should be noted that this SJRWMD per acre management cost is less than that for the previous fiscal year ( $11.87 ) ( S. R. Mil ler personal communication, October 29, 2014 ). Tax Revenue Generation Property t ax revenue is collected by local governments , authority discussed in Chapter 2 , in order to fund their operations . This revenue comes from a ta x levied The rate at which this tax is assessed may vary from year to year and is commonly known as the Mileage Rate. The property tax generated from any given property is the result of the mi leage rate divided by one hundred and multiplied by the assessed value as determined by the local Property Appraisers Office. As it pertains to this study, the Land Value and the Assessed Value are the same for tax revenue generated figures. However, the actual assessed values of the sites analyzed in this As with taxes levied, there are also conditions upon which certain exemptions may be granted. Tax exemptions s uch as Homestead and Agricultural provide discounted values to which the mileage rate is applied. As a result, the property owner is afforded a lesser overall tax levied against the property each year. Similarly, properties owned by the state are complet ely exempted from any taxing assessments and therefore do not pay property taxes to local governments.

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74 Calculating Payments for Ecosystem Services PES valuations were applied to each site analyzed in this study to provide a comparison of the cost of payme nt for ecosystem services for each site and to illustrate how these lands may be undervalued in traditional markets. Placing economic value on the services ecosystems provide is a newly developing field without definitive measures for economic valuations. C Ecosystem Services Study (SESS) assessed, in part, key ecosystem services pr ovided by Non Industrial Private Forest s (NIPF) enrolled in the FSP voluntary program to establish economic values of four service categories: nutrient retention / water quality, carbon stocks, timber production, and wildlife conservation of ecosystem ser vices. The results of the SESS are reported to be conservative estimates of the value of ecosystem services . Using the InVEST valuation model the SESS Final Report provided a combined estimate d value for water purification, carbon stocks, and timber and wildlife conservation services of $5,030/ acre per year . This value was used to provide a comparison of the cost of fee simple, conservation easement, and mitigation bank protection strategies . Analysis of Test Site Test Site Evaluation Measures The same five assessment measures were used to on the tenth site just as sites 1 9 to further test and evaluate these measures on an unprotected site to determine which protection strategy would be best suited for this site. In addition to the acquisition value a nalysis, the same methods described in Chapter 3 were also used in determining the ecological value for Site 10.

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75 Test Site Methodology Five parcels of land were selected, collectively called Site 10 (see APPENDIX BB ), are owned by three different corporat e entities and total 1, 557 acres. These properties are situated within the identified Critical Linkage 1 of the FEGN. As with the majority of sites acquired by NFTWR Project, all of these sites are timberlands and have been used for silviculture activit ies. An attempt was made to maintain consistent methods in determining base land values for Site 10 as in the analyses of Sites 1 9; however, property records for each of these five parcels had no were used in determining the base land value for Site 10 (see Table 5.1b). The base land value facilitates the comparative analysis among the four protection strategies, as done for Sites 1 9. Land acquisition values were derived from the most recent sale data identified from the Clay County Property Appraisers online database. Each parcels most recent sale data was totaled and calculated to a per acres figure (or as otherwise noted) and applied to the fee simple prot ection strategy. determining the acquisition values could not be used. As a result, the following methods were used to establish the acquisition costs for each protection strategy. Similar to the other sites, 50% of the fee simple value was assigned to the conservation easement method of acquisition, and a factor of 1.25 times that of the fee simple acquisition cost was assigned to the mitigation bank method of acquisition . Remaining consistent with sites 1 9 was the assigned value for PES to fulfill all values for the acquisition method(s) as shown in Table 5.1b .

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76 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION SITES 1 9 This chapter presents the five assessments applied to site s 1 9 evaluated in this study. Each site is presented by numerical order and each site begins with a brief introduction, a description of site characteristics, a context map, supporting Tables and Figures representing the five assessment measures analyz ed, followed by a summary of site acquisition strategies. Introduction to Site 1 This site was acquired for conservation by Fee Simple means from a company named 301 Investment Parcels. Located in the northwestern quadrant of Clay County (Figure 4.1) , thi s site was a S tate of Florida acquisition through the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve P roject and since then has been incorporated into Jennings State Forest , which is managed by the Division of Forestry (see APPENDIX D ) . Site 1: 301 L and Investment Parcels A relatively small property consisting of 1,165 acres, this site is void of any named streams or creeks and offers fairly flat terrain of less than 3% slope. However, an unnamed tributary does run west to east through the site leadi ng to the North Fork of Black Creek which are comprised of de ciduous freshwater forests and shrub wetlands with palustrine hydric soils providing frequent flooding occurrences within the riparian corridors on site. Surface water storage capacity is limited to frequent and temporary events. The rate of aquifer rech arge for this site has been identified as less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX E) .

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77 Thi s site falls into a top ranked Critical L inkage 1 of the FEGN with a portion of its eastern boundary connected to Jennings State Forest while the southern boundary i s adjacent to the Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank site (Figure 4.1) . This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly Pinelands, Hardwood Swamps, and patches of Mesic Flatwoods. However, the majority of this site has historically been managed for row crop s , or as a planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in a monoculture of pine species in non wetland areas, and provides no natural gradient of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetl and habitats. Yet, hig h values f or priority species and species richness have been identified for this site. Wetland dependent and upland focal species have been identified as ranging from 1 to 3 species in wetland areas and 1 to 3 species in upland areas of this site (see APP ENDIX F and APPENDIX G ) . Jennings State Forest encompasses a majority of the North Fork of Black Creek and being adjacent to this site presents potential for a paddling trail, although no prime farmland, existing trails or other recreational opportunities are present on site. However, this site would also be suitable for public use opportunities like nature study, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, canoe/kayaking, picnicking, freshwater: boating, fishing, and swimming, hunting and primitive camping act ivities (see APPENDIX H ) .

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78 Figure 4.1 Local Context of Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels)

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79 Table 4.1a Site 1 Ecological Value summarizes analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 1: 301 Land Parcels Short Description Value W eighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size LOW 1 0.4 Total Acres 1176.82 Ac. Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater forested / shrub wetlands; 114.5 Acres = 9.7% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge LOW 1 Slope LOW 1 Steep Flat None < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 1.04 Focal Species 1 3, Up; 1 3, Wet MODERATE 2 Species Priorities Priority 2 only HIGH 3 Species Richness Values 1&2 HIGH 3 Connectedness / Corridor Jennings S. F., Rip arian, & w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 HIGH 3 Land Cover Bare Soils:(% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 0 Acres; 0 % Yes No MODERATE 2 Cultural 20 % Recreation: ( by State Trails Data) MODERATE 2 0.3 Active Passive None Existing, but padd ling opportunity Production: ( Farmland Classification in Soils Data) LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.74

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80 Table 4. 1b Site 1 Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisi tion cost, management costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros High biodiversity value Moderate production value Low acquisition cost to land value Connectedness: FEGN Crit. Linkage 1 and adjacent Jennings State Forest trail systems Publicly accessible Cons Low overall ecologic value A fee simple approach results in l oss of annual tax revenue Historic site disturbances Monoculture, silviculture activities Of note from Table 4.1b the calculated pur chase price of this property is less than the calculated land value, using a fee simple acquisition method by the state of Florida as part of the NFTWR greenway program, suggesting the state got a good deal from the transaction. Since Florida owns this pr operty the public will be responsible for management costs for this site at an annual rate close to $13,500. Also, public access would be expected of this site since it is also adjacent to a portion of the Jennings State Forest and contiguous with propose d paddling trails along the North Fork of Black Creek. The conservation easement strategy would be the least costly strategy for this site . However, the state would lose the opportunity to provide additional recreational opportunities

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81 associated with the adjacent Jennings State Forest which could increase patronage . The fee simple strategy wa s a more costly initial investment, yet one that could save funds over time , compar ed to the conservation easement. Further analysis of the Acquisition Cost to Acqui sition Method shows the constant value used for PES is well above that of either of the other methods. This substantially higher value seems to make the PES method cost prohibitive. The mitigation bank method might have been an interesting option by retai ning nearly $40,000 in the tax base while a non public entity would be responsible for the management c osts. But this would only save a mere $13,500 each year. Even though the mitigation bank option may be an enticing option financially, it may not be th e best incentive or practice for long term sustainable conservation . Although the fee simple strategy was not the l e a st costly acquisition value determ ined for this site , th is strategy appears to have been the better strategy for the purpose of long term preservation of this site . Site acquisition strategy summary Site 1 has a low management cost and would be the nominal cost to acquire compared to its land value. However, this relatively small study site clearly shows, in spite of a low ecologic value, that fee simple acquisition was the most appropriate s trategy for it, (see Figure 4.2 ). Fee simple will allow for maximization of public use potential and connectivity to both a larger state forest system and a neighboring mitigation bank, Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank (Site 2). Even though the overall ecologic value was low, the GIS analysis indicated that there is a high level of biodiversity on this site lending to the validity for fee simple acquisition. This site represents a key if not critical p roperty to acquire and therefore demands a higher level of protection.

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82 In contrast, the PES strategy appears to be cost prohibitive to the fee simple strategy, s site would still have decreased in public value and decreased in connectedness if it were under private ownership or a conservation easement not under dedication in perpetuity. Introduction to Site 2 Acquired for conservation by fee simple means as pa rt of the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve P roject , Belmore State Forest North is located in the heart of Clay County (Figure 4.2) . This site is adjacent to Camp Blanding Military Reservation on two sides, its south and western boundari es with its predominant feature being Bull Creek, a major tributary of the south fork of Black Creek (see APPENDIX I ) . Site 2: Belmore State Forest North This site is of moderate size, 3, 527 acres with primarily gentle slopes but features a few ridges be tween 3% and 6% slope adjacent to Bull Creek . The wetland areas are comprised of deciduous freshwater forests and shrub wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils are found on site with frequent to occasional flooding occurrences as the dominant condition, primaril y adjacent to the banks of Bull Creek and within wetland boundaries. However, some frequent flooding occur s on flat upland portions of the site. This site provides for some frequent and occasional surface water storage outside of the associated wetland are as and where the slopes are less than three percent. The entire site has an aquifer recharge potential less than one inch per year and no discharge areas were identified (see APPENDIX J ) . This site falls into the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked pri ority linkage , of the FEGN and is immediately adjacent to county and state roads on three sides. The indigenous land

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83 cover of this site is predominantly pinelands, shrub and brushlands, h owever, the majority of this site has historically been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in remnant patches of bare soils and a possible monoculture of pine species, in non wetland areas which provides no natural gradient of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas, primarily adjacent to Bull Creek; and one to three species in upland areas of this site (see APPENDIX K and APPENDIX L) . As noted previously the majority of this site has been and is still managed for timber production. No prime farmland or existing recreational acti vities are present on this site, h owever, there is potential for passive activities, such as: nature study, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, hunting, and primitive camping that could be provided while maintaining the timber production activities for this site. Additionally, given that Bull Creek is a dominant natural feature o n this site , there could be la nd conservation and ecosystem management education provided here as well (see APPENDIX M ) .

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84 Figure 4.2 Site 2. Local Context of Belmore State Forest North

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85 Table 4.2a Site 2 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 2: Belmore State Forest North (Bull Creek Portion) Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size MODERATE 2 0.7 Total Acres 3,527 Ac. Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater forested / Shrub Wetland; 313 .5 Acres = 8.8% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge LOW 1 Slope HIGH 3 Steep Flat 3 Ridges 3 6% slope < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.64 Focal Species 1 3 Species up; Up to 4 6 Species, Wet HIGH 3 Species Priority None on site LOW 1 Species Richness None on site LOW 1 Connectedness/ Corridor Roads on 3 sides; and w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 LOW 1 Land Cover MODERATE 2 Bare Soils: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 105 Acres = 3% Yes No Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.54

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86 Table 4.2b Site 2 Economic Value Comparison of the land values, acquisiti on cost, management costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Steep slopes Moderate size Remnant native vegetation patches Cons High fee simple acquisition cost Low ecological value Bare soils Of particular interest for this site is the actual cost of acquisition by fee simple at three times the recorded land value. This value seems to be somewhat excessive in comparison to the conservati on easement and mitigation bank strategies. While this sit e is of a moderate size, the ecological value determined should indicate that the site could have been acquired for a considerably lesser amount. However, when we look at when this property was acquired, during a recent period of inflated land prices, the acquisition cost may really not have been too extreme for the period in time. Even though this site was determined to have a low overall Ecological Value, there are significant focal species and steep slopes interacting with a major watershed, Bull Cree k, which likely warrants long term protection on this site. Given the overall low ecologic value of this site, the conservation easement strategy would have been more appropriate to save state conservation dollars to be applied to more worthy properties. Further, if the state were to place a

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87 conservation easement on this site and allow it to remain under private ownership, long term management costs could be avoided and the ad valorem tax revenue could be retained in the county tax rolls adding valuable r evenue to the local government budgets. Yet, when considering the management cost of this site over 50 years (as shown in Figure 4.2), it pales in comparison to the dollars spent acquiring this site by fee simple means, providing more of a case for using the conservation easement strategy for this site even if it were managed by a state agency. The use of this site as a mitigation bank could be feasible by cost factors, but given the historical conditions of the site and that there are remnant patches of i ndigenous vegetation, creating more wetland areas on site in an area with low ground water recharge just does not seem practical from an ecological perspective. Seeing that the PES per acre value of this site is nearest to the fee simple strategy, one may want to consider PES for this site. However, we have to keep in mind that the PES is an annual payment and for this site that results in a nearly $18 million bill for taxpayers each year, this is definitely cost prohibitive. Site acquisition strategy su mmary A conservation easement strategy of acquisition may have been the better means to acquire this site. The large area of this site together with the low ecological value and the cost of acquisition, impart this site far askew from the other fee simp le acquisitions. The land value per acre, and the acquisition cost, seems to be too disparate to justify outright purchase of this site. Perhaps the timing of this acquisition had more of a role to play than that of the any of the other factors analyzed in this study. This property was purchased during the top end era of the last major real estate boom; in effect, paying top dollar for an immediate benefit insufficient to justify the cost. Disconnected from its sister site, Belmore State Forest South, this site is

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88 bordered by two major state roads and one well traveled county road. Perhaps a privately owned conservation easement allowing public access for game hunting (deer and turkey) could have paid dividends to the local economy instead of becoming a substantial state expenditure for 3,500 acres, spending more than three times the land value to acquire this site. Granted it is still within the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 area; however, this site also doubles as a buffer area for the military maneuvers p erformed on the adjacent (south and west sides) Camp Blanding Military Reservation. Introduction to Site 3 This site was acquired for conservation by fee simple means through the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Watershed Reserve greenway project . One o f the most interesting sites a cquired by that greenway project , Belmore State Forest South (Figure 4.3) is located centrally in the southern half of Clay County and borders Putnam County to the south (see APPENDIX N ) . Site 3: Belmore State Forest South Thi s is a relatively large site comprised of 8,438 acres with predominant gently sloping land featuring two creeks, Ates Creek and Devils Den Creek. Two ridges with slopes between 3% and 6% are also featured here along the eastern edge of Ates Creek at the n orth end of the site. The wetland areas on this site are comprised of deciduous freshwater forests and shrub wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils are found on site with more frequent than occasional flooding occurrences as the dominant condition in and out of wetland areas. Significant frequent flooding occurrences are shown to occur on flat upland plateaus on the site providing for frequent surface water storage outside of the associated wetland areas. Additionally, hydric soils are shown to extend beyond the designated wetland areas providing potential for additional surface water storage capacity. This site also offers aquifer recharge areas of less than one inch per year and,

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89 to a greater portion of the property, recharge areas one inch to ten inches p er year (see APPENDIX O and APPENDIX P ) . This site falls into the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, of the FEGN and a portion is connected to Nochaway Mitigation Bank along the easterly boundary and has adjacent county roads at the n orth and south ends of the property. Also, this site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands, shrub and brushlands, hardwood hammocks, and hardwood and cypress swamps. Evidence from aerial photography suggests that a majority of this site has historically been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation presenting a possible monoculture of pine species, in non wetland areas, yet a more natural gradient of indigenous habitat is present buffering riparian areas from wetland t o upland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from as many as four to six species in wetland areas, primarily adjacent to Ates Creek, and one to three species in upland areas of this site (see APPENDIX Q ) . As noted previ ously the majority of this site has been and presently appears to be managed for timber production. No prime farmland or existing recreational trails or activities are present on this site. However, there is potential for passive recreational public use activities such as nature study, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, hunting, and primitive camping could be provided while maintaining the timber production activities for this site. Furthermore, the southerly end of this site has the potential access p oint to a roadwalk connector of the Florida National Scenic Trail, between Etoniah Creek State Forest and Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park. Lastly, given the predominantly flat terrain, camp lodge sites may also be suitable for this property (see AP PENDIX R ) .

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90 Figure 4.3 Site 3 Local Context Belmore State Forest South

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91 Table 4.3a Site 3 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 3: Belmore State Forest South (Dallas Pension Fund Tract) Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size HIGH 3 0.9 Total Acres 8,438 Ac. Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Deciduous Freshwater Forested / Shrub Wetlands; 1,007 Acres = 12% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge R less than R HIGH 3 Slope MODERATE 2 Steep Flat 2 ridges 3 6% slope < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.88 Focal Species 1 3 Species Up; & Wet; 4 6 Species Wet HIGH 3 Species Priority None LOW 1 Species Richness None LOW 1 Connectedness/ Corridor To Nochaway M.B. on E.ern side; and w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 HIGH 3 Land Cover HIGH 3 Bare Soils: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 174 Acres = 2 % No apparent Yes, but some clearing present Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None Existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.98

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92 Table 4.3b Site 3 Economic Value Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, ma nagement costs and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros recharge, Steep slopes, size (large) Relatively low acquisition cost to land value Connectedness within FEGN Cons Minimal access, without recreation Past Timber/Silviculture Activities Although this site and Site 2, Belmore State Forest North, were originally identified to be fee simple acquisitions in the NFTWR greenway program, these two sites were ultimately pur chased about three years apart; Site 3 was purchased first in June of 2004 then Site 2 was purchased in August of 2007; in this case, the market values between the two acquisitions more than quadrupled based on the actual sale prices recorded with the loca l property appraisers office. It appears as though this site was the better value in acquisition cost and ecological value as well as for the total area acquired. Compared to the potential acquisition through a conservation easement, which is usually les s than fee simple acquisition costs, this site was most opportunistically acquired when the market value was nearest to the determined land value justifying the fee simple strategy to protect a more valuable property. Ultimately, even though

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93 this acquisit ion method by the state has resulted in the removal of a considerable sum from the tax base, it serves as a major piece of the connective fabric for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and has the potential to provide significant passive recreational opportunities if the state decides to incorporate such facilities to help offset the annual management costs incurred by this site. Site acquisition strategy summary Acquiring this property by fee simple acquisition and in perpetuity seems to have been the most favor able strategy for long term conservation of this site because of the small difference in cost to land value, the higher ecologic value, and the prospect for public use of the property. In contrast, this site would have been cost prohibitive to use the PES strategy, given the size of the site. Since this site presents a higher ecological value, a conservation easement for acquisition may not adequately protect the valuable resources on the site, if left in private ownership. Summary of fee simple acquisiti on strategy Fee simple acquisition is the outright purchase of the land. For the purposes of this study, in this case the owner is solely responsible for the management costs and in some cases the property taxes are applied to the property. However, Sta te owned properties are exempted from ad valorem taxes assessed by local gove rnments resulting in diminished source of revenue for local government operating budgets. This acquisition strategy has shown to be successful for long term protection when acqui sition cost is equal to or less than the land value and when management costs are less than the potential loss of annual property tax revenues which would otherwise be generated from the property if not owned by the State. These three sites were purchased using Florida Forever funds, over the course of at least three years, at variable per acre

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94 rates. Had each of these sites been purchased at the same time, perhaps a more constant rate per acre cost would be seen. Introduction to Site 4 Highlands Ranch ha s been a cquired for conservation as one of four designated state regulated mitigation bank sites in Clay County (Figure 4.4) . This site is located in the northwestern quadrant of the county and borders Camp Blanding Military Reservation to the south, Site 1 to the north and Jennings State Forest to the east (see APPENDIX S ) . Site 4: Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank A relatively small size property consisting of 1,793 acres, this site is features Boggy Branch Creek which runs west to east along the norther n property boundary feeding North Fork Black Creek and offers two ridges with slopes between 3% and 6% along the southerly side of Boggy Branch. The remainder of the site is fairly flat terrain less than 3% slope. The wetland areas are comprised of decid uous freshwater forests, shrub wetlands and freshwater emergent wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils provide frequent flooding occurrences within the riparian corridors and wetland areas on site. Surface water storage capacity is limited to occasional and t emporary events not in wetland areas. The rate of aquifer recharge for this site has been identified to provide less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX T ) . This site falls into the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, of the FEGN and a portion of its eastern boundary is connected to Jennings State Forest while the northern boundary is adjacent to the 301 Land Parcels site. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands, shrub and brushlands, and mesic flatwoods. H owever, evidence form aerial images suggests that the majority of this site has historically been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in a possible monoculture of pine species, in

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95 non wetland areas, and provides no natural gradient of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from one to three species in wetland areas and one to three species in upland areas of thi s site. Additionally, this site has identified predominately species priorities of priority 2 rankings and species richness values in the two highest rankings (see APPENDIX U and APPENDIX V ) . No prime farmland or existing or proposed trails were found on this site are within a close proximity (see APPENDIX W ) . This bank site is a restoration project, restoring wetlands that were historically present, but had been filled to operate silviculture activities. The application for this mitigation bank site is for the construction and implementation of Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank. The purpose of this mitigation bank is to provide up front mitigation credit to be used for sale or transfer to other private and public entities to offset impacts to wetland sys tems resulting from their development projects within the proposed service area. Also, providing for extensive borrow pit operations to provide clean fill soils for offsite construction projects in which the applicant or related parties have an interest a nd to unrelated projects in the Clay County area (St. Johns River Wa ter Management District, 2015)

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96 Figure 4.4 Site 4 Local Context Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank

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9 7 Table 4.4a Site 4 Ecological Value analysis a nd weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 4: Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size LOW 1 0.5 Total Acres 1,775 Ac. (193 potential credits) Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Emergent and Freshwater Forested/shrub wetland; 175.5 Acres = 9.8% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge LOW 1 Slope MODERATE 2 Steep Flat 2 ridges, w/ 3 6% slope < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 1.04 Focal Species 1 3, Up; 1 3, Wet MODERATE 2 Species Priorities Priority 2 only HIGH 3 Species Richness Values 1 and 2 (High) HIGH 3 Connectedness / Corridor Jennings S.F.; 301 Land Parcel site; & w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 HIGH 3 Land Cover MOD ERATE 2 Bare Soil: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 4.4 Acres = 0.25% Yes No Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Val ue LOW 1.74

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98 Table 4.4b Site 4. Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Significant focal species St eep slopes, High surface water hydrologic value Connectedness within FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and adjacent to Jennings State Forest Cons Low tax revenue High cost per acre (based on actual purchase) Low overall ecological value No public access Low land v alue When considering the acquisit ion values in Table 4.4b , one might think that purchasing this acquiring this property by fee simple means would be a superior deal. However, the acquisition cost for mitigation bank is the more realistic cost associat ed with this site. As with acquisition values are also skewed. In this case, the skewed value is not by market fluctuations but by the land value determined by local property appraisement methods or techniques. With the methods and techniques applied to land valuations by property appraisers in mind, it is important to consider these influences on land values, not only for what the property is being

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99 used for (e. g. silviculture or agriculture) but also restoration projects like this mitigation bank site. Clearly the least land value cost per acre of any of the study sites, yet the mitigation bank acquisition cost actually represent a more real world cost appraisa l . Moreover, as with each of the sites reviewed in this study, each of these properties presents an intrinsic value for ecosystems and landscape connectivity. Although the PES value is a constant in this study, it illustrates just how significantly thes e larger tracts of land may be undervalued and the role that these can provide in supporting ecosystem services and management of our natural resources under present and future pressures on the states with the remaining undeveloped land and natural open sp ace. Site acquisition strategy summary Although currently a privately owned and managed mitigation bank site, this property presents a considerable benefit to the overall landscape connectedness for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and the adjacent Jennings St ate Forest. Also, given that this site is in private ownership, it benefits the goal of state acquisitions and eliminates the need for the state to spend resources to acquire and manage the site. Furthermore, even if the state were to acquire this site w ith a conservation easement once the mitigation bank credits have all been consumed, and the wetland restoration is completed, it would likely still remain in private ownership with management responsibilities incumbent upon the property owner. As a resul perspective, this site possibly presents a free acquisition for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1.

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100 Introduction to Site 5 Greens Creek has been acquired for conservation as one of four designated state regulated mitigation bank sites in Clay County. This site is located in the southeast ern quadrant of the county and borders Site 7 along its western boundary (Figure 4.5) . This site features Greens Creek along the majority of its eastern bound ary, a major tributary feeding the south fork of Black Creek (see APPENDIX X ) . Site 5: Greens Creek Mitigation Bank A moderately sized property consisting of 2,035 acres features Greens Creek which runs north to south along the eastern property boundary feeding the South Fork Black Creek. It offer s six ridges with slopes between 3% and 6% along the southerly side of Greens Creek. The remainder of the site is fairly flat terrain less than 3% slope with a broad plateau in the middle of the site. Identified wetland areas are comprised of deciduous f reshwater forests. Shrub wetlands with palustrine hydric soils provide frequent and occasional temporary flooding occurrences within the riparian corridors and wetland areas on site. Surface water storage capacity is accommodated by frequent to occasiona l and temporary events in wetland areas. The rate of aquifer recharge for this site has been identified to provide less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX Y) . This site falls within the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, the FEGN a nd a portion of its western boundary is adjacent to Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement divided only by a Florida Power and Light (FPL) power transmission corridor. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands, shrub and brushlan d, and sandhills. However, evidence from aerial images suggests that the majority of this property has been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in a possible monoculture

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101 of pine species in non wetland areas, and provides minimal natural gradients of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas and one to three species in upla nd areas of this site. Additionally, this site has identified predominately species priorities of Priority 1 and 2 rankings and species richness values in the two highest rankings with the higher values being outside of the Sandhill habitat areas and the lower value situated in the pineland habitats (see APPENDIX Z and APPENDIX AA ) . No prime farmlands or trail systems were found on this site (see APPENDIX AB ). Greens Creek Mitigation Bank covers a project area of approximately 4,200 acres, which is compris ed of approximately 2,035 acres of wetlands and 2,130 acres of uplands proposed for mitigation in southern Clay County. The mitigation bank plan includes the preservation, enhancement, and restoration of wetlands, along with the preservation and enhancemen t of uplands. A notable area of preservation consists of approximately 3.5 miles of Greens Creek, a tributary of Black Creek ( Water Management District, 2014 ).

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102 Figure 4.5 Site 5 Local Context of Greens Creek Mitigation Bank

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103 Table 4.5a Site 5 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 5: Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size MODERATE 2 0.8 Total Acres 2,035 Ac. , (588 potential credits) Hydrologic MODERATE 2 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Forested / Shrub Wetlands; 905 Acres = 44.5 % Groundwater Aquifer Recharge Recharge LOW 1 Slope HIGH 3 Steep Flat 6 ridges; 3 6% slope < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 1.12 Focal Species 1 3, Up; up to 4 6, Wet HIGH 3 Species Priorities Priorities 2 & 5 HIGH 3 Species Richness Values 1& 2 HIGH 3 Connected ness /Corridor Adjacent to L.C.C.E; and w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 HIGH 3 Land Cover MODERATE 2 Bare Soils(% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 9.3 Acres = 0.45% Yes No (Mostly cleared) Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None Existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value MODERATE 2.12

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104 Table 4.5b Site 5 Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potentia l tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Significant focal species High in biodiversity Steep slopes, moderate size Connectedness , within FEGN and Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement Private ownership, manag ed in perpetuity Remains on tax roles as private mitigation bank Cons Undetermined acquisition value Loses tax revenue if not under private ownership Low overall ecologic value Site acquisition strategy summary Greens Creek is an active mitigation bank site that was purchased by a private entity at an website for this property it is difficult to ascertain how one acquisition method would actually be more or l ess costly than another. However, the land value figure was used as the mitigation bank acquisition cost instead; thus deriving the fee simple and conservation easement acquisition cost values for this site. The land value per acre is significantly less than the mitigation bank due to the fact that this was not the actual cost to acquire this site

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105 Although currently a privately owned and managed mitigation bank site, this property presents a considerable benefit to the overall landscape connectedness for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and the adjacent Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement . Also, given that this site is in private ownership, it benefits the goal of state acquisitions and eliminates the need for the state to spend its revenues t o acquire a nd manage the site. F site presents a free acquisition for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 overall connectivity . Introduction to Site 6 Acquired for conservation as one of four designated state regulated mitigation bank sit es , Nochaway Mitigation Bank is a newly permitted site. This site is located centrally in the southern half of Clay County and its southeastern property corner is adjacent to Putnam County, providing further potential connectivity across the common county boundary (Figure 4.6) . This site features the headwaters of Greens Creek and shares adjacency to Site 3 along its western border (see APPENDIX AC) . Site 6: Nochaway Mitigation Bank This is a relatively large sized property consisting of 4,076 acres and f eaturing a portion Greens Creek which runs through the north half of the site and offers fairly flat terrain less than 3% slope with a broad plateau throughout the easterly half portion of the site. Identified wetland areas are comprised of deciduous and needle leaved freshwater forests. Shrub wetlands with palustrine hydric soils provide frequent seasonal and temporary flooding occurrences primarily within the riparian corridors and wetland areas on site. Surface water storage capacity is accommodated b y significant portions of wetland areas not identified in hydric soil areas. The rate of aquifer recharge for this site has been identified to provide one inch to ten inches per year over the entire site (see APPENDIX AD) .

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106 This site falls within the Criti cal Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, the FEGN and its western boundary is adjacent to Belmore State Forest South. However, this site is divided by a FPL power transmission corridor running north and south through the property. This site off ers indigenous land cover of predominantly mesic flatwoods, shrub and brushland, cypress swamps, and mixed wetland forests. However, evidence form aerial images suggests that the majority of this property has been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silv iculture operation resulting in a possible monoculture of pine species in non wetland areas, and provides minimal natural gradients of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal speci es have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas and one to three species in upland areas of this site. Additionally, this site has identified species richness values in the two highest rankings with the higher values predominatin g over the majority of the site (see APPENDIX AE and APPENDIX AF) . No prime farmlands, existing trails, or State trail opportunities were found on site (see APPENDIX AG). Nochaway Wetland Mitigation Bank generates credits by preservation, enhancement and r estoration of wetlands. Mitigation activities are accomplished by mechanical modification of the existing water control features including removing or raising culverts, installing low water crossings, removing bedding and filling ditches. The native vegeta tion communities are to be enhanced or restored as applicable to soil type. Other goals of this bank site are to control exotic and invasive plant species and to re establish of the appropriate vegetation composition and strata through natural regeneratio n and succession ( S t. J ohn s R iver W ater M anagement D istrict , 2014 ) .

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107 Figure 4.6 Site 6 Local Context of Nochaway Mitigation Bank

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108 Table 4.6a Site 6 Ecological Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 6: Nochaway Mitigation Bank Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size MODERATE 2 0.7 Total Acres 4,076 Ac. (459 potential credits) Hydrologic MODERATE 2 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Fr eshwater Forested / Shrub Wetlands; 1180 Acres = 29% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge MODERATE 2 Slope LOW 1 Steep Flat No steep slopes < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 1.12 Focal Species 1 3, Up; up to 4 6, Wet HIGH 3 Species Priorities 2 only HIGH 3 Species Richness 1 & 2 HIGH 3 Connectedness / Corridor Adjacent to Belmore S.F. So.; and w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 MODERATE 2 Land Cover HIGH 3 Bare Soil: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient None No Yes Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value MODERATE 2.02

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109 Table 4.6b Site 6 Economic Values Comparison of land val ues, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Significant focal species; steep slopes High aquifer recharge, natural land cover gradient Size (moderate), within FEGN, connectedness Management by private entity Cons Minimal tax revenue High cost per acre over fee simple and conservation easement No public access Site acquisition strategy summary T his property presents a considerable benefit to the overall landscape co nnectedness for the FEGN Critical Lin kage 1 and the adjacent Belmore State Forest. G iven that this site is in private ownership, it benefits the goal of state acquisitions and eliminates the need for the state to spend valuable monetary resources to acqui re and manage the site. As a result, this site re presents a free acquisition for the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and connectivity to Site 3 . Since it is diff icult to speculate how one acquisition method would actually be more or less costly than another. However, the land value figure was used as the mitigation bank acquisition cost instead; thus deriving the fee simple and conservation easement acquisiti on c ost values for this

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110 site. The land value per acre is significantly less than the mitigation bank due to the fact that this was not the actual cost to acquire this site. Summary of Acquisitions by Mitigation Banks Considering mitigation banks as land cons ervation acquisitions may only be a pseudo acquisition due to the fact that not all bank sites will be held in ownership by state agencies. However, once the bank site has sold off all of their mitigation credits, the property will remain under the terms of its conservation purpose in perpetuity or until the lands that were impacted, requiring mitigation, are turned back to its original state. The long term preservation of these sites is what qualifies these sites as acquisitions for land conservation for the purposes of this study. Whether privately held in perpetuity by the bank site owner or transferred as conservation easements to possibly be managed by state agencies, these sites have a bona fide merit for land conservation. The analyses of the sit es reviewed in this study are held by private entities. As a result, the inherent variations in management cost are borne by the private entities and not by the public. Likewise, the property tax revenue generated by these properties benefit the local go generate substantially fewer tax dollars; while in comparison to the conservation easement sites that would only generate a somewhat lesser amount of tax dollars du e to ownership and property usage exemptions that may be applied by the local taxing authority. Regardless of the property tax revenue factor, the mitigation bank sites analyzed in this study are currently of low ecological value. The low ecological val ue of these sites has shown to be consistent with the majority of the sites reviewed. Since bank sites generally fit into one of the three categories (restored, enhanced, or created) for wetlands mitigation the bank sites are

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111 usually restoring once damage d or degraded wetland systems that had been in place historically. Given the fluctuations in property physical uses, it is of no surprise that the ecological values of the mitigation bank sites are presenting low values. However, once the bank site has c ompleted its restoration, enhancement, or creation it should provide a higher level of ecological value, providing more of a contribution to regional networks of preserved land and more specifically, better contribute to the priority Critical Linkage 1 of the FEGN. Introduction to Site 7 Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement (Figure 4.7) has been a cquired for conservation by less than fee simple means as part of the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Wate rshed Reserve greenway project. It is centrally located in the southeastern quadrant of Clay County and shares a property boundary with Site 5 to the east (see APPENDIX AH) . Site 7: Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement This is of a relatively moderate size comprised of 2,684 acres featuring two c reeks, Ates Creek and the South Fork of Black Creek. Also featured are five ridges with slopes between 3% and 6% along the eastern edge of Ates Creek at the north end of the site where the two creeks are joined. The wetland areas on this site are compris ed of deciduous freshwater forests and shrub wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils are found on site with frequent and occasional semi permanent flooding occurrences as the dominant condition only within wetland areas. Surface water storage opportunities on this site are limited, primarily within identified wetland areas. This site also offers aquifer recharge areas of less than one inch per year and discharge areas of less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX AI) .

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112 This site falls within the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, the FEGN and a portion of its eastern boundary is adjacent to the Greens Creek Mitigation Bank site. However, this site is bisected by a FPL power transmission corridor running generally north and south along the e asterly property boundary, dividing it from the adjacent mitigation bank site. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly mesic flatwoods and mixed wetland forests. However, evidence from aerial images shows that significant portions of this property have been clear cut and exhibit bare soils in addition to having been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in a possible monoculture of pine species, in non wetland areas, and providing no natural gradient of indig enous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas and one to three species in upland areas of this site (see APPENDI X AJ and APPENDIX AK) . Based on analysis of aerial photographs and land cover data, the majority of this site has been and still presently appears to be cleared managed for timber production. No prime farmlands or existing trail systems are present on t his site. However, there is potential for passive recreational activities such as birding, hiking, and equestrian trails could be provided while maintaining the timber production activities for this site. Additionally, given the significance of Ates Cree k and the South Fork Black Creek, this site could provide for educational opportunities for land conservation and ecosystem management (see APPENDIX AL) .

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113 Figure 4.7 Site 7 Local Context of Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement

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114 Table 4.7a Site 7 Ecol ogical Value Analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 7: Longbranch Crossing C.E. Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size MODERATE 2 0.9 Total Acers 2, 684 Tot. Ac. Hydrologic HIGH 3 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Forested/shrub Wetland; 1,442 Acres = 54% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge D LOW 1 Slope HIGH 3 Steep Flat +5 ridges, 3 6% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.64 Focal Species 1 3 Species Up; up to 4 6 Species Wet HIGH 3 Species Priorities None LOW 1 Species Richness None LOW 1 Connectedness / Corridor Adjacent to Greens Creek M.B. & w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 MODERATE 2 Land Cover LOW 1 Bare Soils: (% of Site Area) Monoc ulture Natural gradient 1,200 Acres = 45 % No No Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None Existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.74

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115 Table 4.7b Site 7 Econ omic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Potential fee simple acquisition cost above land value Moderate to high abiotic values Significant focal species Steep slopes Moderate size Connectedness, within FEGN Recreational potential Cons No significant groundwater recharge High acquisition cost per acre vs. land value Minimal tax revenue, loss of tax base Significant clearing/ vege tation losses Site acquisition strategy summary Moderate to high abiotic values lend to giving consideration for maximum protection of this site by fee simple acquisition. Yet, without higher yielding aquifer recharge capabilities PES seems to be too f arfetched at such high costs. While the moderately low values for biotic and cultural values suggest that substantial improvements would need to be made on this site to be of long term benefit for wildlife habitat or trial systems. Although previous and current conditions favor fiber production this is not highly suitable farmland for food production adding to the overall long term expenditures on this site to make it worthy of outright purchase by the state.

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116 Overall, acquiring this site as a conservatio n eas ement makes the most se nse for the present ecological value allowing at least some initial improvements and the cost of management to be offset by private entities. Introduction to Site 8 This site was also a cquired for conservation by less than fee simple means as part of the Northeast Florida Timberlands and Wat ershed Reserve greenway project. Similarly to Sites 2 and 7, Arahatchee is also centrally located in Clay County (Figure 4.8) and provides connectivity to Camp Blanding Military Reservation to the west and Site 7 along its easterly boundary, divided only by the south fork of Black Creek (see APPENDIX AM) . Site 8: Arahatchee Conservation Easement This site is the smallest size property analyzed in this study. It is comprised of merely 900 total acres. The site features five unnamed tributaries feeding the South Fork of Black Creek. Also featured are two ridges with slopes between 3% and 6%, one along the southern edge of a west to east running tributary and the other at northeast corner o f the site with the remainder of the site exhibiting terrain with less than 3% slope. The wetland areas on this site are comprised of deciduous freshwater forests and shrub wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils are found on site with frequent, temporary floo ding occurrences as the dominant condition and only within wetland areas. Surface water storage opportunities on this site are limited to areas within riparian corridors identified in wetland areas. This site also offers predominant aquifer recharge area s of less than one inch per year and a minimal discharge area, adjacent to South Fork Black Creek of less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX AN) .

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117 This site falls within the Critical Linkage 1, the highest ranked priority linkage, the FEGN and a portion o f its eastern boundary is adjacent to the Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement site. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands, shrub and brushland, mixed wetland forests, and hardwood swamps. However, evidence form aerial im ages shows that significant portions of this property have been clear cut and exhibit patches of bare soil conditions in addition to having been managed as a row crop, planted pine, silviculture operation resulting in a possible monoculture of pine species in non wetland areas, and provides no natural gradient of indigenous habitat or ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas an d one to three species in upland areas of this site (see APPENDIX AO and APPENDIX AP) . As noted above, the majority of this site has been cleared and replanted for timber production. No prime farmlands or existing trails are present on this site; howeve r, a potential land trail access point has been identified where this property is adjacent to State Road (SR) 21 along the western property boundary. Also, there is potential for passive recreational activities such as off road bike trails, birding, hikin g, and equestrian trails could be provided while maintaining the timber production activities for this site (see APPENDIX AQ) .

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118 Figure 4.8 Site 8 Local Context of Arahatchee Conservation Easement

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119 Table 4.8a Site 8 Ecological Value: Analysis and we ighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 8: Arahatchee C. E. Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size LOW 1 0.6 Total Acres 900 Tot. Ac. Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Forest/shru b wetland; 310 Acres = 3.4% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge R LOW 1 Slope HIGH 3 Steep Flat 1 small ridge > 3 6% slope (NE) & stream embankment > 6% slope < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.64 Focal Species 1 3 Species Up; up to 4 6 Species Wet HIGH 3 Species Priorities None LOW 1 Species Richness None LOW 1 Connectedness /Corridor Riparian w/ rds. 2 sides and w/in F.E.G.N. Crit. Link. 1 LOW 1 Land Cover MODERATE 2 Bare Soils:(% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 1.6 Acres = 0.17% Yes No Cultural 20 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None Existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.4 4

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120 Table 4.8 Site 8. Economic Values Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Potentially low fee simple acquisition cost compared to land value Significant f ocal species Steep slopes; three watersheds to Black Creek Connectedness within FEGN & LCCE Cons Minimal to no tax revenue High acquisition cost per acre for a conservation easement Loss of tax base, if state owned Overall low ecological value Site acqu isition strategy summary Since moderate to low abiotic values do not lend providing this site with maximum protection by F.S. acquisition. Yet, with higher yielding aquifer recharge capabilities and gentle slopes there may be a potential to consider usi ng this site as a mitigation bank to improve existing wetland systems. While the mostly low values for biotic and cultural values suggest that substantial improvements would need to be made on this site to be of long term benefit for wildlife habitat or tr ial systems. Although previous and current conditions favor fiber production, this is not highly suitable farmland for food production adding to the overall long term expenditures on this site to make it worthy of outright purchase by the state. Aside fr om the relatively high cost of actual acquisition as a conservation easement, this site could also have

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121 been reasonably acquired as a mitigation bank to improve on site wetlands and allow initial improvements and the cost of management to be provided by pr ivate entities, thereby deferring such costs to the state. Summary of acquisitions by conservation easements This acquisition method allows land owners to voluntarily protect their land from future development by a legally binding agreement that can be cu individual objectives. Conservation Easements can be held by private or public ownership and certain NGO may use a conservation easement to purchase all or part of the development rights of a property in order to keep the land in its current agricultural, forestry, ranching or open space uses. Conservation easements used to acquire protection of land for conservation is a very useful method of acquisition with or without management responsibilities being retained at public costs. Similar levels of protection can be applied to these properties as those that are acquired by fee simple and PES methods and usually at a fraction of the cost.

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122 Introduction to Site 9 Acquired for conservation r Management District as a conservation area, the Bayard Tract is located in the southern half of Clay County and shares (Figure 4.9) . This site also features several multi use t rails well known by local recreational enthusiasts (see APPENDIX AR ) . Site 9: Bayard Conservation Easement This site is the largest size property analyzed in this study and is comprised of 10,388 River frontage with the entire site having less than 3% slope. The wetland areas on this site are comprised of deciduous freshwater forests and freshwater emergent wetlands. Palustrine hydric soils are found on site with only frequent, temporary and seas onal flooding occurrences as the dominant condition only within wetland areas. Surface water storage opportunities on this site are limited to pockets of hydric soils not subject to temporary seasonal flooding. This site also provides only aquifer discha rge areas of one inch to five inches per year and discharge areas greater than five inches per year (see APPENDIX AS) . This site falls within Priority 6 ranked linkage of the FEGN and is accessible from SR 16 at the properties northern boundary. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands and hardwood swamps. As evident form aerial images this site does provide for a natural gradient of indigenous habitat and ecological succession opportunities from upland to wetland habitats. Wetla nd dependent focal species have been identified ranging from four to six species in wetland areas and one to three species in upland areas of this site (see APPENDIX AT and APPENDIX AU) .

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123 Moreover, this site offers recreational opportunities by providing s everal multi use trails, notably for hiking and equestrian uses. Additionally, this site presents opportunities for other land and waterway paddling trails. Lastly, small portions of this site have been identified to contain row/field crops for agricultu ral production. Timber production activities could not be identified on this property (see APPENDIX AV) .

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124 Figure 4.9 Si te 9 Local Context of Bayard Conservation Easement

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125 Table 4.9a Site 9 Ecological Value: Analysis and weighted valuation of the A BC resources Site 9: Bayard Conservation Easement Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size HIGH 3 0.8 Large/Small 10,388 Tot. Ac. Hydrologic HIGH 3 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Emergent Wetland; Fr eshwater Forested Wetland; 9,552 Acres = 92% Groundwater Aquifer Recharge D 1 LOW 1 Slope LOW 1 Steep Flat All < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.72 Focal Species 1 3 Species Up; up to 4 6 Species Wet HIGH 3 Spec ies Priorities None LOW 1 Species Richness None LOW 1 Connectedness /Corridor Clarks Creek South; FEGN Priority 6 linkage LOW 1 Land Cover Bare Soils: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 26.2 Acres = 0.25 % No Yes HIGH 3 Cultural 20 % Recreation HIGH 3 0.4 Active Passive Multi Use trails Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.92

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126 Table 4.9b Site 9. Economic Values Compa rison of land values, acquisition cost, management costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Significant focal species Native habitat Large size Accessible; recreational trails Two wetland types P ossible potential for wetlands enhancement Cons Road barriers on two sides RxR along western boundary bisecting site Low acquisition cost per acre vs. fee simple Not within FEGN Critical Linkage 1 Loss of tax revenue Site acquisition strategy summary Al though this site only ranks with a moderate ecological value it is by far the highest ranked site of those analyzed in this study and has the most balanced comparison of acquisition costs per method. Given the higher overall ecological value of this site, it makes sense that this site is under a conservation easement to protect its valuable resources. Unlike other conservation easement sites in this study it has existing multi use trail systems for public use and has potential adjacency to land trail oppo rtunities. As with the other two conservation easement sites in this study, this site is also owned and managed by a state agency resulting in a not so modest annual management cost. However, this site has significantly higher recreational benefit to the local area which should help justify its management costs.

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127 One apparent drawback for this site, given its notable ecological value, is that it is not within a higher Priority linkage for the FEGN. Yet, given the road, railroad barriers and distance to the other sites in this study, it would be difficult, to attain a viable connectedness tot the identified Critical Linkage 1 corridor. Ultimately, this site would not be sought after for connectivity, but for other significant ecosystem services it provid es, such as a discharge filter Summary of Observations for first 9 Sites Fee simple acquisition is th e outright purchase of the land and this acquisition strategy is best utilized when public access is needed or desired, needi ng to make conservation minded improvements on the site or even when there is significant ecological integrity and when the cost is not excessively high when compared to base land values of similar properties. This acquisition strategy has shown to be su ccessful for long term protection when acquisition cost is equal to or less than the land value and when management costs are less than the potential loss of annual property tax revenues which would otherwise be generated from the property if not owned by the State. However one drawback for using this strategy is that the State owned properties are exempted from ad valorem taxes assessed by local governments resulting in diminished source of revenue for local government operating budgets. Nonetheless, thi s protection strategy offers the highest level of protection with the greatest potential use that can be afforded to any particular site. Conservation easement tend to be the most cost effective protection strategy regardless of ecological values and affor This acquisition method allows land owners to voluntarily protect their land from future development by a legally binding agreement that can be customized to meet the

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128 ownership and certain NGO may use a conservation easement to purchase all or part of the development rights of a property in order to keep the land in its current agricultural, forestry, ranching or open space uses. Conservation easements used to acquire protection of land for conservation is a very useful method of acquisition without management responsibilities b eing retained at public costs. Similar lev els of protection can be applied to these properties as those that are acquired by fee simple and PES methods and usually at a fraction of the cost. Where Conservation Easements provide the most cost effective measure of protection, one major drawback is that public access is not so easily accommodated. Even though mitigation banks were used as a protection strategy in this study, it is highly unlikely that the State will open up significantly more wetland mitigation bank sites to achieve the conservatio n goal of ecological connectivity. Although mitigation credits for open space may be a consideration in the future as more greenfields are converted to developed lands. Considering mitigation banks as land conservation acquisitions may only be a pseudo ac quisition due to the fact that not all bank sites will be held i n ownership by state agencies. However, once the bank site has sold off all of their mitigation credits, the property will remain under the terms of its conservation purpose in perpetuity or until the lands that were impacted, requiring mitigation, are turned back to its original state. Although in the case of wetland mitigation banks, they are practically free conservation areas that are only bound to improve ecological character as time pro gresses. The long term preservation of these sites is what qualifies these sites as acquisitions for land conservation for the purposes of this study. Privately held in perpetuity by the bank site owner or transferred as conservation easements to possibl y be managed by state agencies, these sites have a bona fide merit for land conservation.

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129 The analyses of the sites reviewed in this study are held by private entities. As a result, the inherent variations in management practices and cost are borne by t he private entities and not by the public. Likewise, the property tax revenue generated by these properties benefit the local generate substantially fewer tax do llars; while in comparison to the conservation easement sites that would only generate a somewhat lesser amount of tax dollars due to ownership and property usage exemptions that may be applied by the local taxing authority. Regardless of the property ta x revenue factor, the mitigation bank sites analyzed in this study are currently of low ecological value. The low ecological value of these sites has shown to be consistent with the majority of the sites reviewed. Since bank sites generally fit into one of the three categories (restored, enhanced, or created) for wetlands mitigation the bank sites are usually restoring once damaged or degraded wetland systems that had been in place historically. Given the fluctuations in property physical uses, it is of no surprise that the ecological values of the mitigation bank sites are presenting low values. However, once the bank site has completed its restoration, enhancement, or creation it should provide a higher level of ecological value, providing more of a co ntribution to regional networks of preserved land and more specifically, better contribute to the priority Critical Linkage 1 of the FEGN.

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130 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR TEST SITE Introduction to Site 10 This test site (S ite 10) comprises four individual parcels each owned by a different corporate entity. This collection of parcels was selected and categorized as Site 10 to serve as a test case for the analysis, methodology, and selection of a protection strategy (Figure 5.1) . Recall that the site was selected because of its potential to serve as a land bridge crossing US Highway 301 and a CSX Corporation railroad corridor ( see APPENDIX AW ) in an effort to prevent wildlife mortalities by channelizing flows and further providing connectivity to the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 between Camp Blanding Military Reservation and the Osceola Natio nal Forest. With the exception of Site 9, the sites analyzed in Chapter 4 are all situated within the identified Critical Linkage 1 of the FEGN which helps to ach ieve regional landscape connectivity for ecological systems and mobility for wide ranging species; this connectedness results in an overall benefit to human needs by protecting ecosystem services and biodiversity. The Camp Blanding Military Reservation ( Camp Blanding) is unique to Clay County because it provides for military training facilities and a wildlife management area of sum 56, 000 acres on portions of its campus not directly impacted by militar y installations. The Camp Blanding Wildlife Manageme nt area contains habitat that supports red cockaded woodpeckers, white tailed deer and wild turkey (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2015) . Furthermore, with the significant land area, it serves as an ecological stepping stone between th e Ocala and Osceola National Forests and acts as a hub for landscape linkages and priority ecological corridors.

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131 Site 10: Test Site In comparison to the other nine sites of this study, Site 10 is a somewhat smaller site comprising 1,557 acres of gently sl oping terrain all of which is less than 3% slope. An important feature of this site is an unnamed arm of the Mill Branch tributary generally running west to east across the southerly portion of Site 10. Small wetland areas are present on this site and co nsist of only freshwater forested/shrub wetlands found only where there are palustrine hydric soils. The wetland and hydric soil areas provide for temporary flooding occurrences within the riparian corridors, limiting any significant surface water storage capacity potential. Additionally, aquifer recharge capacity is minimal for this site; only providing recharge rates at less than one inch per year (see APPENDIX AX) . As with the other sites analyzed for t his study, except Site 9, the parcels comprising S ite 10 are situated within the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and have the potential to provide for a critical point of connection across the US Highway 301 and CSX corridors in this area. This site offers indigenous land cover of predominantly pinelands and pat ches of hardwood swamps. However, the majority of this site has historically been managed as a silviculture operation, likely resulting in a monoculture of pine species, in non wetland areas, and provides little natural gradients of indigenous habitat or opportunities for ecological succession from upland to wetland habitats as long as it remains under management for silviculture. Yet, high values of priority species and species richness have been identified for this site along the southern boundary where an arm of Mill Branch Creek transects the site. Wetland dependent focal species have been identified ranging from one to three species in upland areas and one to three species in wetland areas; with small patches of four to six focal species on site (see APPENDIX AY and APPENDIX AZ) .

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132 No prime farmlands or trails systems were found on or near this site (see APPENDIX BA). T his site is currently without a connection to any other protected conservation lands. Additionally, the majority of the western portion of this site is currently under mining and extraction activities compounding the site disturbance.

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133 Figure 5.1 Site 10 Local Context of Test Site

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134 Table 5.1a Site 10 Ecological Value analysis and weighted valuation of the ABC resources Site 10 : Selected Parcels Short Description Value Weighting Factor Abiotic 40 % Patch Size LOW 1 0.4 Large/Small 1,557 Tot. Ac. Hydrologic LOW 1 Surface Water NWIP: (% of Site Area) Freshwater Forested/Shrub Wetlands; 95 Acres = 6% Groundwa ter Aquifer Recharge LOW 1 Slope LOW 1 Steep Flat All < 3% slope Biotic 40 % Biodiversity 0.88 Focal Species 1 3 Species Uplands; up to 4 6 Species Wetlands HIGH 3 Species Priorities Priority 2 only HIGH 3 Species Richn ess 1 & 2 HIGH 3 Connectedness /Corridor Stream tributary of Mill Creek; FEGN Critical Linkage 1 LOW 1 Land Cover Bare Soils: (% of Site Area) Monoculture Natural gradient 9.0 Acres = 0.6 Possible; Timberland None, Overall LOW 1 Cultural 2 0 % Recreation LOW 1 0.2 Active Passive None Existing Production LOW 1 Food Fiber Timber Not Prime Farmland Overall Site Ecological Value LOW 1.48

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135 Table 5.1b Site 10 Ec onomic Value Comparison of land values, acquisition cost, ma nagement costs, and potential tax revenue generated per acre per year for each method of acquisition. Pros Acquisition cost to land value Connectedness: FEGN Critical Linkage 1 and potential for connectedness to protected lands Potential land bridge co nnection Cons Low overall ecologic value Historic site disturbances Monoculture, silviculture activities Not currently protected for conservation Results and Discussion Abiotic ecologic conditions were found: to provide less than one inch per year recha rge to the Floridan aquifer. Only freshwater forested/shrub wetlands were present on site with hydric soils only located where flooding was found to be a dominant condition, providing no additional surface water storage capacity. No steep slopes were ident ified on this site ( see APPENDIX AX ). Additionally, biotic conditions were analyzed and found that a significant portion of the west side of the site, west of the road corridors, were of an extractive land cover. The east side of the site contained a maj ority of pinelands, small patches of shrub and brushlands with small isolated patches of mixed wetland forests (hardwood and cypress swamps) lining Gum Branch

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136 and the north arm of Mill Branch Creeks ( see APPENDIX AZ ). Also found in the Pineland areas of this site were areas of timber production and patches of cleared or disturbed soils ( see APPENDIX AZ ) , identified by aerial imagery. Continuing with the biotic analysis of Site 10 for biodiversity elements found one to three focal species in upland areas and patches of one to three focal species in wetlands were present only in the southerly portion of the site mainly following the north arm of Mill Branch Creek. There was one other isolated patch of four to six focal species locate in the north central area of the eastern portion of Site 10. Species richness and species priority rankings were only found to be located along the north arm of Mill Branch Creek in the southerly portion of the site. No cultural conditions were found to be present or propose d on this site (see APPENDIX BA) . This site was also subject to the same evaluation measures as the other nine sites. However, this particular combination of parcels presents an even greater function for connectivity within the FENG Critical Linkage 1. T hat is, Site 10 represents a potential for channeling wide ranging animal species to a potential wildlife crossing to connect both east and west sides of the FEGN Critical linkage 1 that is bisected by two major barriers. These two barriers being US Highw ay 301 and a CSX, Corporation railroad corridors. It just so happens that these two roadways come to their closest parallel point in this northwestern corner of Clay County, creating the opportunity for funneling wildlife movement over these barriers to p revent and possibly eliminate roadway mortality in this area. The best acquisition strategy for Site 10 was determined by identifying and locating the ecological features that would be best suited for use in providing connectivity and by how each portion w ould be used. In this case, the collective area of Site 10 could actually be used in a few

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137 different ways. The best way to break down the different uses is to subdivide Site 1 0 into its individual parcels by ownership . Three separate property owners and f ive parcels comp rise Site 10: Jefferson Smurfit (356 Acres), Clay Hill Properties, LLC (541 Acres ) and (77 Acres), and E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company two parcels (DuPont Company) (352 Acres Total ) (see APPENDIX BB) . Although the site is disconnected from other conservation lan ds and only contributes to human needs by its timber production, this site may have a greater importance to provide a potential land bridge connection across two major corridors. This opportunity for a land bridge connection could best be provided along t he southerly boundary of Site 10 generally following the northern arm of Mill Branch Creek with an additional buffer of at least one hundred feet on either side. Due to the need to construct a physical connection , over the US 301 and CSX corridors , between the DuPont Company and the Jefferson Smurfit parcels; at least that portion of these sites buffering the northern fork of Mill Bran ch Creek would need to be acquired in fee simple. The remaining portions of these parcels could be acquired as conservation easements or mitigation bank sites with reasonable c ost to the public. C onnectivity in the FEGN Critical Linkage 1 would be fruit less without this test site linked to other conse rvation areas and serving as a physica l connectivity corridor , primarily for wide ranging species. Summary of Acquisition Strategies for Site 10 As discussed throughout this study, landscape connectivity and connect edness of smaller ecosystems to network with large conservation areas are key factor s when planning for ecological greenways. Analysis indicated that Site 10 acquisition strategies, apart from other considerations, provided the least costly strategy to be the best method (see Table 5.2) .

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138 However, unless specific conditions are established in the dedication of the conservation easement instrument, construction activities or even significant structural improvement may be limited or not permitted at all on this site if acquired for protection by a conservation easement. Also specific to this site, a wetlands mitigation bank would not be appropriate due to a lack of wetlands being historically present on site and that creation of wetlands systems at this si te would create additional unnecessary disturbances to an upland ecosystem and likely be cost prohibitive. Unlike the conservation easement and mitigation bank strategies, the PES seems to be more appropriate for smaller sites and those that have a high ec ological value or significance. In this case, for Site 10 it is a relatively small site yet it is not overly significant based on the ecological value determined in T able 5.1a . Therefore, realizing that this site and its sub parcels may be the only loca tion for a suitable connection across two major barriers, US 301 and CSX Railroad, the fee simple strategy is likely t he appropriate method to protect those lands needed for a physical connection. In other words, the area of land situated between the two barriers and other portions of Site 10 adjacent to either side of US Highway 301 and the railroad line , as well as a buffer area adjacent to the north fork of Mill Branch Creek would be best su ited for fee simple acquisition . This is due to the potential scenario of a land bridge being constructed as a physical connection between the east and west sides of the two barriers. Although the fee simple strategy may not need to apply to the entire area of Site 10, certainly a conservation easement could be bett er suited where physical structures or appurtenances are not to be located on site.

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139 Figure 5.2 Fifty year analysis of Test Site (Site 10) Fee Simple, $3.50 Conservation Easement, $1.70 P.E.S. (WTP)/ FY 2010, $391.85 Mitigation Bank, $2.56 $0.00 $50.00 $100.00 $150.00 $200.00 $250.00 $300.00 $350.00 $400.00 $450.00 Protection Strategy Total Cost of Protection Over 50 Years (Millions) Test Site 50 Year Acquisiton Cost Analysis

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140 CHAPTER 6 STUDY CONCLUSIONS This study has analyzed 10 sites for their existing level of conservation p rotection based on their method of acquisition: fee simple, conservation easement, and mitigation banks. These acquisition methods have also been compared to a PES strategy. Except for Site 9, and the mitigation bank sites, these sites were acquired thro ugh the NFTWR Florida Forever Project. The intended purpose of these public (state of Florida) acquisitions was to contribute to Florida suitable for ecologi cal greenways or outdoor recreation opportunities that are compatible with conservation purposes; (c) expanding resource based public recreation and educational opportunities; and by restoring the quality and natural functions of land, water, and wetland s ystems within the state. For a summary of the pros and cons of each protection strategy see Table 6.1. By analyzing the actual protection methods of the study sites and comparing alternative s identification may begin based upon whether or not the actual a cquisition method used was the most cost effective for the sites intended use(s), and more specific to this study, the ecological value that each site represents. This more specific analysis of the existing site conditions provides insight as to the best a cquisition strategy per site, based on land values and ecological values present on each site.

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141 Table 6.1 Pros and Cons of Each Protection Strategy Protection Attribute Cost to Public Public Access Likelihood to Meet Conservation Objectives Durati on to Meet Conservation Objectives Protection Strategy Fee Simple Moderate Initially High Yes High, if properly managed 0 20+ years, dependent on existing conditions Conservation Easement Less than Fee Simple Only if specified / limited access High, if properly managed 0 years Mitigation Bank None None High, if properly managed 0 20+ years, dependent on extent of restoration, enhancement, or creation PES Very High None High, if properly managed 0 years A n understanding of variable resource qu ality must be understood. In other words, not all properties will provide the same resources or quality of resources, yet, may be comparable in its ecological value from one site to another. Furthermore, an appropriate use of the sites can be determined based on the quality of resources the site holds. For instance, if the site resources are in need of rehabilitation; perhaps, then the site could be used as an educational tool to demonstrate habitat restoration practices. Further, if the State were to i nstall recreational trails, such as paddling, equestrian, and/or multi purpose trails, to provide a cultural benefit in the community, there could be an increase given to the cultural analysis factor; although it would be only a slight increase. Also, if a site presents moderate to high ecological values; perhaps, then recreational trails would be a preferred use of the property for users to partake of scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities. For instance, with Sites 1 and 3; Site 1 has the potential for

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142 connecting paddling opportunities along the North Fork of Black Creek through Jennings State Forest. And Site 3 has potential for recreational opportunities like camping or scenic overlooks and educational opportunities to demonstrate how small scale wat ersheds influence larger watershed systems. Lastly, if a particular site is of high ecological value, it may then be prone to disturbance that could alter or negatively impact sensitive ecological characteristics, then the use of such a site would need t o be limited to public access to best preserve the natural correlation to the acceptable uses that may be planned for on a given site; further suggesting that the us e of a conservation site should be considered thoroughly prior to its acquisition so that the best acquisitions method may be utilized so as to not spend funding in a frivolous or whimsical manner. Although Sites 5 and 6 were assessed to have the highest e cological values ranked in this study, Sites 3 and 9 were shown to be of low ecological value , yet marginal to being a moderate ecologically rank . And Sites 7 and 8 protected with conservation easements through the NFTWR greenway project resulted in the b est value per cost , affirming this strategy to be highly viable for conservation purposes . Site 2, Belmore State Forest North, was shown to be, by far, the largest expenditure per acre and per ecological value of all the sites analyzed in this study. Per haps this greater expense was brought about by the need to buffer Camp Blanding military installation from the encroaching sprawl development. Regardless of the potential opportunities any of these sites may offer in terms of cultural criteria, the best du e diligence for determining which method of acquisition to use should be, in part, based on an ecological valuation of existing conditions and weighed against current purchase prices. For instance, the fee simple cost of Site 2 alone cou ld have paid for t hat

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143 management cost for over 5 study. When the figures are examined in this way, one very importa nt question is revealed : was Site 2 a critical site to acquire for maintaining connectivity of the Critical Linkage 1 and wa s it of significant ecological importance to spend over $22.5 million to acquire in a fee simple method , perhaps not, but the fact that this area will serve as additional connective fabric and provide . The o verall ecological value determin ed for Site 2 was a score of 1.54 and with Camp Blan ding Military Reservation providing the major connection from southeast to northwest; Site 2 does not appear to be critical for connectivity, especially since it s bordered by three roads. Although , proper consideration should also be given to connectivit y of neighboring parcels, stream corridors, and local or regional trail systems within the state identified priority Critical Linkage 1, but for Site 2 anyway, it seems that connectivity was the least worthy factor for its acquisition and as such, could ha ve been acquired by a conservation easement to reduce the overall financial burden of the State and eliminate the need to manage this property in the future . One thing is clear from this study, when looking at PES acquisitions, yearly payments of $5,030 results in the least cost effective method of protection for e cologically significant lands. Since it is the undeveloped lands and undisturbed open spaces that provide for our most precious needs; for humans , that provides one of our most innate desires t o have a personal connection with nature and a sense of belonging to something bigger than your neighborhood or city of residence. Fee simple acquisition is best utilized when public access is needed or desired, needing to make conservation minded improvem ents on the site or even when there is significant ecological

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144 integrity and when the cost is not excessively high when compared to base land values of similar propertie s. Conservation easement tend to be the most cost effective protection strategy regardl ess of ecological values and affords management of these sites, in effect, stretching the tax payer . Even though mitigation banks were used as a protection strategy in this study, it is highly unlikely that the State will ope n up significantly more mitigation bank sites to achieve the conservation goal of ecological connectivity. W here Conservation Easements provide the most cost effective measure of protection, one major drawback is that public access is not so easily accomm odated. In conclusion, it seems as though each of these protection strategies has their own merits and each strategy should be given due consideration for existing ecological conditions and physical connectivity that each site has to offer in future decis ion making processes.

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145 APPENDIX

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146 Appendix A: Regional Context Map of Ocala Natl. Forest to Osceola Natl. Forest and the Florida Ecological Greenway Network Version 2008.

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147 Appendix B: Local Context Map of Clay County with State Managed Areas (S

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148 Appendix C: Local Context Map of Clay County with Conservation Lands in the F.E.G.N. Critical Linkage 1.

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149 Appendix D: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Vicinity Map

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150 Appendix E: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Abiotic Conditions Map

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151 Appendix F: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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152 Appendix G: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

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153 Appendix H: Site 1 (301 Land Investment Parcels) Cultural Conditions Map

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154 Appe ndix I: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North ) Vicinity Map

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155 Appendix J: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North ) Abiotic Conditions Map

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156 Appendix K: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North ) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity

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157 Appendix L: Site 2 (Belmore State Fore st North ) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover

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158 Appendix M: Site 2 (Belmore State Forest North ) Cultural Conditions

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159 Appendix N: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South ) Vicinity Map

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160 Appendix O: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South ) Abiotic Conditions

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161 Appendix P: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South ) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity

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162 Appendix Q: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South ) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover

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163 Appendix R: Site 3 (Belmore State Forest South ) Cultural Conditions

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164 Appendix S: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ) Vicinity Map

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165 Appendix T: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ) Abiotic Conditions Map

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166 Appendix U: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity

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167 Appendix V: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Ba nk ) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover

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168 Appendix W: Site 4 (Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank ) Cultural Conditions Map

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169 Appendix X: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Vicinity Map

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170 Appendix Y: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Abiotic Condi tions

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171 Appendix Z: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Biotic Conditions; Biodiversity

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172 Appendix AA: Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Biotic Conditions; Land Cover

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173 Appendix AB : Site 5 (Greens Creek Mitigation Bank Site) Cultural Con ditions Map

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174 Appendix AC : Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Vicinity Map

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175 Appendix AD : Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Abiotic Conditions Map

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176 Appendix AE : Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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177 Appendix AF : Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

PAGE 178

178 Appendix AG : Site 6 (Nochaway Mitigation Bank) Cultural Conditions Map

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179 Appendix AH : Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Vicinity Map

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180 Appendix AI : Site 7 (Longbranch Cross ing Conservation Easement) Abiotic Conditions Map

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181 Appendix AJ : Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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182 Appendix AK : Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

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18 3 Appendix AL : Site 7 (Longbranch Crossing Conservation Easement) Cultural Conditions Map

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184 Appendix AM : Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Vicinity Map

PAGE 185

185 Appendix AN : Site 8 (Ar ahatchee Conservation Easement) Abiotic Conditions Map

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186 Appendix AO : Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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187 Appendix AP : Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

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188 Appendix A Q : Site 8 (Arahatchee Conservation Easement) Cultural Conditions Map

PAGE 189

189 A ppendix A R : Site 9 (Bayard Tract ) Vicinity Map

PAGE 190

190 Appendix A S : Site 9 (Bayard Tract ) Abiotic Conditions Map

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191 Appendix A T : Site 9 (Bayard Tract ) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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192 Appendix A U : Site 9 (Bayard Tract ) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

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193 Appendix A V : Site 9 (Bayard Tract ) Cultural Conditions Map

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194 Appendix A W : Site 10 ( Test Site ) Vicinity Map

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195 Appendix A X : Site 10 ( Test Site ) Abiotic Conditions Map

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196 Appendi x A Y : Site 10 ( Test Site ) Biotic Conditions Map; Biodiversity

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197 Appendix A Z : Site 10 ( Test Site ) Biotic Conditions Map; Land Cover

PAGE 198

198 Appendix BA : Site 10 ( Test Site ) Cultural Conditions Map

PAGE 199

199 Appendix BB : Site 10 (Test Site) Parcels

PAGE 200

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