From the Headwaters to the Gulf…. In comparison with Florida’s beautiful coastline, its vast northern forests, picturesque river systems, unique sandy ridges, and the Everglades, there has been much less attention paid to the Peace River as a state resource throughout Florida’s conservation history. This inattention is reflected in the scarcity of protected lands that occur near and along the river as well as a shortage of directives aimed at protecting this critical natural resource.
Peace River Network
Peace River Network
Peace River Network
Peace River Network

Wildlands Conservation is working to develop a voluntary, partnership-based Peace River Network. Our goal is to protect ecological corridors of public and private conservation and agricultural lands along the Peace River and its major tributaries.

The Peace River is the principal freshwater source for Charlotte Harbor, Florida’s second largest estuary. The Peace River is a critical life line of central Florida – it is an essential source of water supply for thousands of Floridians, and it is the watershed of the Bone Valley region- Charlotte Harbor and southwest Florida’s health is directly related to the health of the Peace River. A healthy, protected, Peace River is critical in light of the fact that the region’s primary land uses over the past century have been phosphate mining and agriculture. The Peace River corridor is not only regionally significant, it also provides one of the few viable options for functionally connecting conservation lands in the south and north Florida, from the Everglades to the tip of the Florida panhandle.

We are currently working with landowners along the lower Peace River in Desoto County to explore various means for conserving their lands. This area is part of SWFWMD’s Lower Peace River Conservation Corridor Initiative and is a Wildlands Conservation Florida Forever project. Our Florida Forever Project: The Peace River Refuge, currently encompasses approximately 4000 acres along both sides of the River, from Arcadia southward. We are also working with other landowners throughout the region, to assist them in conserving their lands for critical water and habitat protection in this rapidly growing region.

The Peace River Network requires the use of many voluntary land conservation tools including fee-simple and less than-fee-simple acquisition, existing and proposed landowner incentives, and coordination among varied stakeholders with the common interest of long-term conservation, including the continuation of a sustainable agricultural landscape.

We are coordinating with landowners, private industry, state and federal agencies, regional planning councils, county governments and conservation groups in the region to ensure that this valuable resource is protected and enhanced for future generations. Conservation of the Peace River is critical to our fishing industry, our water supply, our flood protection, our cultural heritage and the sustainability and integrity of Natural Florida.

Please email info@wildlandsconservation.org if you would like to be involved in this effort.

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