The Southwest Florida Water Management District‘s Governing Board recently voted to exchange properties with Hillsborough County in an effort to work together to protect conservation land. The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve this same effort at their April 20 meeting.
The District agreed to exchange approximately 205 acres of land with the County for approximately 425 acres. This transaction will reduce the acreage of District landholdings that do not significantly meet the District’s four areas of responsibility and will support the objectives of Hillsborough County. In the future, these types of partnerships will continue to ensure effective and efficient management of public lands.
Hillsborough County agreed to exchange lands that they currently solely own, referred to as in the Little Manatee River Corridor (Rood Parcel), for lands recommended for exchange by the District. These lands include the Alafia River parcels (167 acres) and the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve parcels (38 acres), which were acquired through separate transactions as part of a flood detention area project.
The District will also reduce management liability and acquire an inholding that offers restoration project alternatives. The District will commit a minimum of $1.5 million to perform upland habitat restoration over an estimated 390 acres of the Rood property plus an additional estimated 54 acres adjacent and to the north of the Rood property for a total approximate restoration of 444 acres.