TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Florida Cabinet on Tuesday approved the purchase of 5,534 acres of sensitive lands from Alico, Inc., for the Devil's Garden Florida Forever project.
"We are incredibly proud to support the State of Florida to preserve this critical land and the biodiversity it hosts for future generations," said Alico Interim President Ben Fishman. "Alico is committed to conserving Southwest Florida land and water resources," Fishman said.
"In addition, Alico is working every day to complete our dispersed water management project on adjoining land in Hendry County to help improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee estuary. Between the Florida Forever land sale and our water project, Alico has dedicated 40,000 acres of property in Hendry County to environmental protection," Fishman said.
The soon-to-be acquired Alico lands are part of the Devil's Garden Florida Forever project, an 83,000-acre area in Hendry and Collier Counties. The 5,534-acre Alico acquisition is comprised of 3,233 acres of uplands and 2,301 acres of wetlands. The state purchased the land from Alico for $14.8 million.
Currently used for cattle grazing, Cabinet staff analysis noted, "The long-term stewardship of the landowner is evident through the diversity of ecosystems and resource integrity found throughout the western portion of the project area."
Specifically, this property:
- Provides a natural habitat to several threatened native plant and animal species, and has numerous recording sightings of the Florida Panther;
- Adjoins the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail; and
- Provides a critical flow of water to the natural systems of Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress Preserve
For more information on the land sale, please read the article "Alico to sell 5,500 acres to Florida for conservation" in the Naples Daily News and Fort Myers News-Press. For more information on the dispersed water project, please read the editorial "More Bad Water? We hope not." from the Fort Myers News-Press.
Alico, Inc. primarily operates two divisions: Alico Citrus, one of the nation's largest citrus producers, and Alico Water Resources and Other Operations, a leading water storage and environmental services division. Learn more about Alico (Nasdaq: ALCO) at www.alicoinc.com.