Lee County Commissioners agree to move forward with acquisition of 7 parcels in CREW boundary

Lee County Commissioners voted Tuesday to move towards acquiring 7 parcels within the CREW Project boundary that are located in Flint Pen Strand.
This includes the Palm Tree Farm, an approximately 40-acre parcel that has been on the CREW Land & Water Trust wish list for years.
Ben Nelson, chairman of the CREW Trust Board of Trustees, spoke during the meeting and urged county commissioners to move forward with the purchase of the parcels, which were all nominated by willing sellers.
“These parcels may seem small compared to the earlier acquisitions within the CREW Project but they are just as important if not more so,” explained Brenda Brooks, executive director of the CREW Trust. “We’re coming down to the final stretch of acquiring the lands needed to complete the CREW Project, which has not only been part of our mission but also the vision of the CREW Land & Water Trust. I think of these parcels as the final pieces of a puzzle and until you have that final piece, the project still isn’t finished. However these seven parcels gets us closer and closer.”

Gov. Scott Pledges Up to $20 Million for CREW Land Purchases

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.

Gargiulo Land Trust site
Gargiulo Land Trust site (Photo by Land Solutions, Inc.)

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.

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