The Alachua County Forever land acquisition program closed on 348.5 acres of land that will protect over three-quarters of a mile of the Lochloosa Slough waterway and surrounding forest.
The purchase, which was finalized on July 11, will now protect the final gap of the Lochloosa Slough. The wetland is located south of Hawthorne and is an important water connection between Lochloosa Lake to Orange Creek, the Oklawaka River, and the St. John’s River, according to an Alachua County press release.
“We are pleased that our valued partner, Alachua County, has acquired an integral parcel of land in the Lochloosa Lake/Orange Lake watershed,” said St. John’s River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register in a press release. “The Colasante property is a wonderful addition to the conservation lands in this region that protect water and natural resources. This property will directly protect Lochloosa Slough and is an important piece of the corridor between Orange Creek and Lochloosa Lake.”
The property is within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a statewide landscape corridor identified as critical to protecting wildlife habitats.
Funding for this $1,815,440 conservation land purchase was provided by the voter-approved Wild Spaces and Public Places sales tax.
The Colasante property is the fourth Alachua County Forever conservation land acquisition of 2023.
In March, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized spending nearly $2.5 million to purchase more than 650 acres of conservation land for conservation that included an acquisition of the Lake Alto and Lochloosa Slough properties.
Recently, the BOCC approved $3.8 million to buy a conservation easement on 623 acres north of the city of Alachua and east of County Road 241.