Senate includes Florida Forever funding

The Senate Ways and Means Committee today voted to include $50 million in the proposed 2009-10 state budget for the Florida Forever land-buying program and $50 million for Everglades land acquisition.

The state has purchased 2.4 million acres since 1990 under Florida Forever and its predecessor program, Preservation 2000. The program has received $300 million a year since 1990.

Gov. Charlie Crist this year again proposed $300 million for Florida Forever. But with the state facing a $6-billion budget deficit, neither the House nor Senate included the program until the Senate included it today.

The Nature Conservancy today thanked Senate leaders for what the group said was a bipartisan effort to fund the land-buying program.

“These are highly challenging economic times,” Jeff Danter, TNC’s Florida director, said in a statement issued by the group. “The effort by these legislators to come up with innovative solutions under adverse circumstances demonstrates their commitment to preserving Florida’s natural resources. We look forward to working to make this artful compromise a reality.”

For more information about Florida Forever, go to

Copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and