CLAY COUNTY – The St. Johns River Water Management District and North Florida Land Trust have partnered on the conservation of 578 acres with three miles of riverfront on the north shore of Black Creek. The property is located across from the district’s Black Creek Ravines Conservation Area in Clay County and within NFLT’s Black Creek Preservation Priority Area. The acquisition was finalized today.
“We are excited about the opportunity to conserve these lands and further protect Black Creek,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This partnership with NFLT and the landowners provides the public with future opportunities to enjoy this distinctive property while protecting the land and waterway.”
“This is an incredibly important piece of property along Black Creek and we look forward to owning and managing this property,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We are thrilled to partner with the district to make this possible and we thank them for their partnership and quick response. Their staff, led by Dr. Shortelle, was a pleasure to work with and we look forward to partnering with them on future acquisitions.”
Under the agreement approved unanimously by the district’s Governing Board at its January meeting, the district will have a perpetual conservation easement on the property, at a cost of $150,000. NFLT will own and manage the property, allowing for public access including hiking, camping and other passive recreational activities.
Rideout Point is a significant acquisition in an area with distinctive ecological features. The property is relatively undisturbed and has alternating high, sandy oak bluffs and hardwood forested floodplain. The First Coast Expressway, once fully constructed, will cross parts of Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties and will divide the property into two sections.
The tract is near the Camp Blanding Military Reservation, Jennings State Forest, Belmore State Forest and the Bayard Conservation Area, making it part of an extensive network of conservation lands providing for water quality protection, water storage, natural systems protection and recreational opportunities.
The district buys land in the course of its work to protect and preserve water resources and owns or manages nearly 773,000 acres of land throughout its 18-county service area. District lands protect water resources while also protecting plant and wildlife habitat and providing areas for public recreation and environmental education. In addition, the district holds 138,145 acres in non-regulatory conservation easements.
Conservation easements are legal agreements designed to conserve open space, water recharge areas, environmentally sensitive lands, wildlife habitat or historic features on a specific parcel of land.