On August 5th, 2014, Governor Rick Scott announced during a press conference at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary that he’s working with Florida Audubon to purchase key parcels of land within the CREW (Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed). The $20 million pledge would be from the Florida Forever Trust Fund and will be spent in Southwest Florida, with CREW lands being the primary goal. CREW has been on the Florida Forever acquisition list since 1991. Click here for a DEP fact sheet about CREW and Florida Forever.
One parcel that is of particular interest is the Gargiulo Land Trust – a 600-acre parcel near Corkscrew Sanctuary and Bird Rookery Swamp. CREW Trust Chairman of the Board, Ben Nelson, attended the announcement with Gov. Scott. “Our concentration has been on that particular piece because we knew it was available and it wouldn’t be available for long,” said Nelson. “That was the one that was our focus.” The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council adopted a resolution on August 14th supporting CREW land acquisition by Florida Forever funds.
This all comes as good news to the CREW Trust, which has worked for 25 years to protect and preserve this watershed through land acquisition, management, and education.