Land Conservation is always a hot topic. This last year we received over 1.2 billion in funding for acquisition and protection, the most in history. We want to continue to build on this at the state and federal level to continue allowing for conservation of environmentally sensitive and working lands.
Another way we will see this done is through the county level, with environmental lands referendums. In 2024, we should see more of these pop up around the state, using local taxes to generate additional dollars to put with state and federal dollars to conserve more of what makes Florida so special.
The Right to Fish and Hunt will continue to be a talking point into the fall of 2024, as we celebrate this opportunity to ensure these pursuits, which REQUIRE clean water and wild lands, will be enshrined forever (thereby, ensuring the need to have wild lands and clean water!).
A number of counties are chattering about comprehensive plan reviews. These are an opportunity to influence the shape at a local level, which is where most unfettered growth occurs. Rate of Growth Ordinances (RoGO) have existed in the Keys for a while, but this is becoming more of a talking point at the county level around the state, and could provide some much needed guard rails for us to move forward.
On the wildlife front, we’ll continue to see limits placed around consumptive use by wildlife agencies; while these are not always a bad thing, they can be hijacked into being weaponized against outdoor recreationists and, ultimately, become a pinch point for conservation. Pelicans, Goliath Grouper, trapping, shore birds, game management, invasive species and many others will continue to be hot topics we’ll work on through the foreseeable future.
Finally, we’re seeing an uptick in the concept of “landscape conservation” – this is the idea of ALL things interacting within the conservation sphere – from communities to people to animals and habitat. All Florida will continue to be at the forefront of these conversations and movements, our “woods, water, wildlife & way of life” being an alliterative ideal of this concept!