Over the lifetime of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD or District) and its predecessors, the agency has acquired interests in nearly 1.5 million acres of land throughout its jurisdiction. About half of those lands are owned in fee simple, half in less-than fee. As budget constraints and legislative pressure have forced it to focus more on its core mission, SFWMD has begun a Comprehensive Land Assessment process to evaluate the land interests it holds. This process is intended to determine whether those lands contribute to its core mission “to manage and protect water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply”. It will also determine whether their current use is appropriate or should be reviewed, including whether the land should be considered for disposal, either to another government entity or to the public. A FAQ sheet from the District on the assessment process is attached.
The District’s stated goal is to complete the assessment process by late 2013. SFWMD lands have been divided into five districts for this process, and the first to be considered is the “Upper Lakes” region in the northern areas of the District. This District includes lands in the Reedy Creek, Shingle Creek and other watersheds. SFWMD is accepting public comment on the use and ownership of lands in this region until February 11, 2013. The assessment of all other regions will follow in short order.
Members of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Real Estate Development industry teams are monitoring this process. If you have any questions, please contact Dennis Corrick at DCorrick@deanmead.com.