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The Critical Linkage concept is key to ensuring that comprehensive plans remain focused on the future.

The Work is
Mapped Out

The citizens of Florida have a unique chance to create a model wildlife corridor from the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Citrus County to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Pasco County. At the Gulf Coast Conservancy, we call this the Nature Coast Greenway and Wildlife Corridor.

As shown on the map, portions of the corridor have already been preserved. Placing the remaining parcels under protective management will provide a greenway with plenty of room for the natural Florida to flourish. The Nature Coast will offer residents and visitors a spectacularly beautiful
natural environment where humans and wildlife can live in harmony.

Acquisition and preservation of the properties which comprise the Nature Coast Greenway and Wildlife Corridor are underway, but there is still much work to be done. Many of the parcels needed to complete the project are still at risk. Acquisition of these sensitive natural areas is our number one priority.

 Click for a larger view of the area of interest. For a closer, interactive view, you can download the KMZ file. On your desktop, just double click on it. That should open Google Earth.  If you don’t have Google Earth, download it first. For Android phones, and Iphones and Ipads, please click on the KMZ File Instructions button below.

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The land already acquired also needs our attention. The agencies charged with managing these precious assets are developing their management plans which will determine the mix of public use and environmental protection. Our continuous involvement will be instrumental in helping to assure that a reasonable balance is achieved.

After 5 years of lobbying
Dredging Blocked at Fillman's Bayou

Read more on this issue at

It was September, 2006 when the GCC first learned that the SunWest mine property was to be developed. Since this property had been promised by the mining agreement to be returned to Pasco County for “recreation and conservation,” we were appalled to hear that a 2500 home subdivision and commercial center were to be built across 1000 acres of core black bear habitat.

Initially, we were the only ones to step up to the plate and oppose SunWest. This environmentally destructive project would have required three major changes in laws and ordinances to be approved, and the GCC set out to do all we could to derail this misuse of lands promised to the public.


GoogleEarth shows mine property nestled in core black bear habitat.

We’re happy to report that many individuals and agencies in the environmental community whole-heartedly joined in their opposition to this project. Together, after 7 years, we were successful in defeating the project in 2013.

On May 10th, 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers finally ran out of patience and denied the permit with prejudice. You can read their 140 plus page justification on the Corps' website. As the Corps proved in detail in its rejection of this ill-conceived and environmentally disastrous dredge proposal, the dredge was never in the public interest.


Looking West toward across the large lake to the Gulf. The strip of sand at the back of the lake is where they propose to put the big dollar homes, clearly a Coastal High Hazard Zone. For reference, see the Google Earth image above. This photo is taken at the N28°-24'-54" line.

Thanks are due to the 14 environmental groups and 40,000 citizens who wrote, called or signed petitions against this boondoggle. Congratulations are due to the Army Corps. Its analysts withstood pressure from local, Federal and State officials. They were able to separate the truth from the misleading statements by SunWest and SunWest advocates, among them Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano.

A special thanks to two concerned citizens who declined to be named, but whose efforts were instrumental in gathering data that played a significant role in proving that the County’s propaganda minimizing the amount of environmental damage that would be done by the dredge was simply wrong.


Critical Linkages Protected or Not?
Apparently Not in Pasco

16 years after the original lawsuit mandating the County create wildlife corridors, the Ecological Corridors ordinance was adopted and the associated Comp Plan Map amendment was finalized. Several previous Commissions had considered it but never approved the ordinance until June 2016.

Tweaks to the ordinance raised some concerns, especially the process to change the width and path of the corridor, possibly rerouting the corridor. That process was used recently on the proposed Project Arthur south of SR 52 and bordered on the west by the Suncoast Parkway in Central Pasco County. There the corridor was reduced from the designated 500-2500 feet to just 200 feet in places. Pasco County will purchase 843 acres with ELAMP funds.


The corridor was reduced from the designated 500-2500 feet to just 200 feet in places.

Land Preservation Funding Crisis averted 2020

The Florida legislature created and funded two very successful land preservation programs, which were specifically designed to purchase environmentally sensitive lands throughout Florida.

Preservation 2000 — known as P2000 — was enacted in 1998. It was replaced by Florida Forever in 2009. Each provided funding for environmental preservation land purchases. Little by little (beginning after the 2008 recession), Florida Forever funding has been raided to make up for budget shortfalls.

At present, annual funding is subject to legislative and gubernatorial whim. In 2014, the citizens of Florida overwhelmingly passed Amendment 1, which directed the legislature to fully fund Florida Forever.

After ten years with NO funding, a small miracle has occurred in 2020.

Florida voters spoke up, and the House and Senate agreed to fund water and land conservation programs like Florida Forever at $100 million in 2020.

3,200 e-mails, 200 phone calls, 30 tweets, and 200+ Gems Reports went out to Florida legislators from concerned citizens, and legislators listened.


What you can do.

Study our issues, read the reports and factsheets. For more detail, visit our Advocacy Resources page.

The Conservancy can use your help. To support our efforts, please consider membership. We can then keep you up to date on important events and actions.