Conservation Easement Preserves Steinhatchee River Watershed

By: Suwannee River Water Management District Release
By: Suwannee River Water Management District Release

LIVE OAK, FL, December 1, 2010 –

The Suwannee River Water Management District commends the owners of Bailey Brothers, Inc. for a 10-year commitment to water resource protection.

The District purchased development rights on the 16,653-acre tract in Dixie County from Jim and Winston Bailey 10 years ago.

The property is adjacent to Mallory Swamp and the Eight Mile Creek, an important tributary to the Steinhatchee River, originates on the land. The easement protects 6,996 acres of swamp and wetland forests, bogs swamp and hydric hammock. The remainder of the property mostly consists of planted pine.

Under the terms of the conservation easement, landowners of the property have agreed to keep the property in its current natural state. The agreement restricts harvesting or alteration of forested wetlands. Silviculture activities in non-wetland areas must comply with best management practices to protect the environment.

“The conservation easement continues to be an excellent example of the compatibility of sustainable forestry and watershed protection for the Steinhatchee River,” said Joe Flanagan, the District’s director of land acquisition and management.

“It’s been a good partnership for us; it’s allowed us to continue our forestry operations while protecting the environment,” said Jim Bailey.

A conservation easement is a perpetual agreement that leaves the basic ownership and management of property with the private landowner but permanently restricts development and prohibits the alteration of wetlands. The District currently protects more than 125,000 acres of water resource lands using this tool.

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