Alachua County Without end eyes new property in Lochloosa Creek Flatwoods

Alachua County Without end eyes new property in Lochloosa Creek Flatwoods

“I really like headwaters and sand,” Kristen Younger stated.

To most, that is an odd comment about environmental options. However to Younger, the newly elected secretary of the Alachua County Land Conservation Board (LCB), it was good motive for Alachua County to buy the Lochloosa Creek Flatwoods property, “Sherouse and Flowers.”

Certainly, after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations on Thursday, the board voted to put the property in a pool to be publicly acquired by Alachua County.

Brian Block, board chair, described the LCB as a citizen advisory panel that should approve property earlier than it may be eligible to be bought by way of Alachua County Without end (ACF).

ACF is a program that seeks to “purchase, enhance, and handle environmentally important lands that shield water assets, wildlife habitats and pure areas appropriate for resource-based recreation.”

The seven board members watched as Ryan Kennelly, senior environmental specialist, delivered a presentation in regards to the property. To collect such data, Kennelly routinely travels to properties which are potential targets for ACF to buy and evaluates them.

Kennelly examined 10 totally different pure communities inside the property, corresponding to basin swamps and scrubby flatwoods and graded each. Out of the ten totally different pure communities, 4 had been graded “good-fair,” 5 had been graded “good” and one was graded “glorious.”

Kennelly supplied an outline of the Sherouse and Flowers property, detailing its scope and bodily attributes. The 154-acre property consists of 60% wetlands options and 40% uplands.

The property is in good situation, the human affect on the land is comparatively gentle, and it incorporates a low density of invasive crops, the one two discovered had been cesar weed and climbing fern. That is important in line with Melissa Hill, the brand new vice chair of the board.

“Intact wetlands are onerous to come back by,” she stated.

The constructive situation of this property helped its case in being positioned on the precedence record, however its main promoting level was that it incorporates the first headwaters of Little Orange Creek.

Alachua County Without end eyes new property in Lochloosa Creek Flatwoods
Ryan Kennelly delivers a presentation on the Sherouse and Flowers property. (Rory McDermott/WUFT Information)

The headwaters of a river is the supply that the water within the river comes from, making this a precious water useful resource for ACF to guard.

Whereas the Little Orange Creek headwaters could have been the first motive the property was accepted for the precedence pool, it was not the one one. The Sherouse and Flowers property additionally offers essential spots for birds. In Hill’s phrases, the land is “important for folk that fly.”

Not all board members had been assured that the property merited placing it within the precedence pool. Board member Jason Teisinger stated it was “untimely to maneuver ahead” with the land.

Teisinger was not alone. Younger acknowledged that the event potential of the Sherouse and Flowers property was low. She didn’t see a simple street to turning this land into one thing like a park or path. Even so, Younger voted to approve the property for precedence standing, as did each different board member moreover Teisinger.

This implies the Sherouse and Flowers property is now a main goal for public acquisition by Alachua County. The property can be bought utilizing Alachua County taxpayer {dollars}, through the newly carried out infrastructure tax.

The property is at the moment owned by Joyce Flowers and the heirs of George Sherouse. Their asking value for the property is $475,000.

The tax, accepted on Nov. 8, 2022 is a 10-year, full cent tax. Half of that cent is devoted to public infrastructure, corresponding to park enhancements. The opposite half is used to buy and enhance conservation lands.

Alachua expects to gather $180 million from the tax to spend on environmental tasks this yr, in line with Andi Christman, supervisor of the Alachua County Workplace of Land Conservation and Administration.

The following LCB assembly is about for Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m., within the Grace Knight Convention Corridor of the Alachua County Administration Constructing. The general public is welcome to attend and touch upon present and future environmental tasks.

Parcel map of Lochloosa Creek Flatwoods, Sherouse and Flowers. (Picture courtesy of Alachua County Without end)