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Environmental Groups Push Apalachicola River Protection

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Environmental groups want the state to buy nearly 40,000 acres of land along the Apalachicola River.

Riverkeeper Dan Tonsmeire said he hopes Florida will add the project to the Florida Forever program. The proposed conservation easement aims to protect fish and wildlife in the flood plain.

Credit USDA
The Florida Channel

“I think this is a very important and even critical acquisition for the continued protection of the Apalachicola," he said. "We have seen in other areas how development in the flood plain can harm the downstream resources.”

The state legislature decided not to fund Florida Forever land purchases this year. But Tonsmeire said the land can be bought in the future as long as it’s on the Florida Forever priority list. A land acquisition council will consider the project next month.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.