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The Gulf Coast Conservancy takes pride in expansion of the Nature Coast Greenway and Wildlife Corridor.

Land Acquisition

The Gulf Coast Conservancy is proud of its role in the expansion of the Nature Coast Greenway and Wildlife Corridor. As a result of acquisitions by federal, state, and local government agencies, more than 75,000 acres have been preserved in Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties since 1992.

  • With negotiation by the GCC in 1994, Oak Sound became the Weeki Wachee Preserve when an offer was made for the property by SWFWMD. Six thousand proposed homes and shops became a 7000 acre preserve.

  • The GCC has proposed creation of Aripeka Coastal Greenway, identified member parcels to SWFWMD. Parcels are listed in their 5 year plan. Several parcels have been acquired with GCC serving as facilitator.

  • Two parcels donated to the GCC were transferred to SWFWMD. The GCC proposed the ACG to the Hernando Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program and it was ranked in their Land Acquisition Program.

  • The GCC has proposed parcels in the ACG to the Pasco ESL for acquisition. As a result of GCC facilitation, the 210 acre parcel known as Aripeka Heights was acquired in 2007 and 250 homes were not built in core bear habitat.

  • We are continuing to work to complete the ACG as an extension of the Weeki Wachee Preserve.


Presence in the Community

    • Press articles, radio programs.

    • Partnerships with other organizations, Pascowildlife, Hernando Audubon, Gulf Restoration Network, Defenders of Wildlife.

    • GCC board participation in State Parks Planning, and Environmental and Land Conservation initiatives.

    • Planning Awards from the Sons of Norway, Conservation Group of the Year from the Land Trust Alliance, Florida Greenways Commission Grant.

GCC members are a common sight at community events throughout the Nature Coast.

  • Service on the Interagency Bear Working Group, Hernando Environmental Sensitive Lands Committee, Pasco ELASC, River Task Force, Pasco County Greenways, Trails & Blueways Advisory Committee.

  • Testified before Hernando and Pasco Development Review, Planning and Zoning, and Boards of County Commissioners to insure habitat preservation is considered in land use decisions.

  • Initiated an Ecotourism program for Hernando County.

  • Participation in events: Swampfest, Umatilla Bear Festival, Crystal River National Wildlife Celebration, Crews Lake Earth Day Celebrations.

  • Supported larger sanctuary for manatees in Homosassa in 2001.

  • Educational presentations for civic groups and at yearly public meetings.

  • Chosen by FFWC to Beta Test new software.


SWFWMD Governing Board OK’s Boat Springs Purchase

The water management district reached agreement with the property owner, the contract has closed, and Boat Springs is now a part of the Weeki Wachee Preserve.

The springs are part of the Hammock Creek system, a second-magnitude system. It includes Boat, Magnolia, and Aripeka 1 and 2 springs, which all flow into Hammock Creek that connects with the Gulf of Mexico at the SR 594 bridge in the village of Aripeka.

Combined Hernando/Pasco County Appraiser’s Maps (some property lines removed); click for larger version.

The acquisition (outlined in red), totals 85 acres, with approximately 54 acres in Hernando County and 30 acres in Pasco County. The property is a mosaic of springs, spring runs, a natural sand ridge rising to 40 feet, and freshwater swamps that support the adjoining saltwater estuary of Hammock Creek.

The springs are part of the Hammock Creek system, a second-magnitude system. It includes Boat, Magnolia, and Aripeka 1 and 2 springs, which all flow into Hammock Creek that connects with the Gulf of Mexico at the SR 594 bridge in the village of Aripeka. Locals have long used the estuary as a premier site for fishing and kayaking, and visiting fishermen drop their lines from the two bridges every day. Placing the headwater parcels in protection will go a long way toward ensuring the health of this valuable recreational asset.


Aripeka Sands Park Opens To Public

The GCC had sought to facilitate public purchase of the 210 acre Aripeka Sands property as part of the Greater Chassahowitzka Black bear population range. The parcel, originally slated for 235 residential units, is now permanently protected and open for the public to enjoy. We worked for several years to oppose development of the property.

New ownership along with a downturn in the real estate market enabled acquisition by the Pasco Environmental Lands Program in partnership with the SWFWMD. The diversity of habitat and presence of several imperiled species make it a key section of the Weeki Wachee Preserve's southern end.
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Children have no problem understanding that bears are important.

The GCC mascot travels to community events to teach young and old citizens about the Florida black bear.


GCC Florida Black Bear Action

  • The GCC started a bear hotline in 1995, which resulted in the Bear study by the University of Kentucky funded by SWFWMD. The information that was gathered from the GCC Bear Hotline over several years led to many years of cooperative study by biologists and wildlife experts from SWFWMD and University of Kentucky. Bears

  • This kind of data helps the cause of land preservation funding. Parcels rank higher and then qualify for funding from state and federal agencies.

  • A new group was formed after the bear data emerged. Black Bear Interagency Working Group, which consists of SWFWMD, Division of Forestry, Game and Freshwater Fish, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

  • The GCC received permit from FWC to display mounted bear cub at educational events.

The bear we donated now has company!

Memorial funds for board members Niki Everitt and Linda Pedersen enabled GCC to provide an educational display at the Springs Coast Environmental Center in Hernando County. The Center then added many more animals and birds to the display. Click for larger version.

Nature Pays

The GCC "Nature Pays" initiative, with resulting brochure, was effective is showing citizens and policy makers the true costs of uncontrolled development.