A coalition of Florida environmental groups is ratcheting up its campaign for a state constitutional amendment setting aside money for land conservation. Group leaders say the strategy is necessary after conservation program budgets were slashed over the past few years.
The group, calling itself Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, has about a quarter of the nearly 700,000 petition signatures it needs to put a measure on next year’s ballot. The group proposes setting aside just less than 1 percent of the state budget to buy and restore nature preserves.
Field director Aliki Moncrief says there’s a disconnect between what the public wants and what the Legislature has done.
“People on the street, when you talk to them about conservation, it hasn’t been a politicized issue. So it’s unfortunate that on the budget levels, it hasn’t gotten the support since ’09 that it deserves," she says.
The proposed amendment would earmark part of the revenue from a tax on property transfers for acquiring and managing parks, preserves and urban green spaces.
The group has five months left to get the rest of the necessary signatures. A signature-gathering firm will ramp up the effort in early September.