The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) commends Loncala, Inc., of High Springs, for its commitment to protect groundwater, surfacewater and natural systems on lands in Hamilton and Gilchrist counties. A total of 2,081 acres of land – between both parcels – are covered under conservation easements purchased by the District. Both properties provide protection to the 100-year floodplain of the Santa Fe and Alapaha rivers, recharge to the Floridan Aquifer and protection to wetlands and wildlife habitat. “Loncala has proven to be an excellent conservation partner and steward of these lands,” said Charlie Houder, deputy executive director for the District.
The District purchased the conservation easements 10 years ago for $821,000 or about $350 per acre for the Hamilton County tract and about $450 per acre for the Gilchrist County tract. A conservation easement is a perpetual agreement that leaves the basic ownership and management of property with the land owner but permanently restricts development and alteration of wetlands. The District has protected 154,000 acres of water resource lands using this tool.