By Wes Wolfe
Nassau County got what it wanted in its No. 1 priority for state assistance in this Session, the matching million dollars to acquire land next to the Amelia River to enhance Piney Island’s resilience in the face of rising seas and stronger storms.
The House placed $1 million for it in that chamber’s budget bill, but the Senate didn’t do so in its bill or in its first offer. That changed Tuesday when Senators came back with a proposal agreeing to the $1 million outlay.
The area received attention for a number of reasons, including “view-shed protection, protection of cultural and archaeological resources, flood mitigation, preservation of greatest risk habitats, protection of wildlife corridors, passive ecological and cultural park use, creating a more resilient, sustainable, and storm resistant Florida, reducing vulnerabilities to sea level rise and climate change and, by extension, limiting further strain on insurance providers.”
Purchase of the land is meant to eliminate its risk to future development.
Sen. Clay Yarborough and Rep. Dean Black, both Jacksonville Republicans, filed requests for $1 million in state funds. The money will go to the Board of County Commissioners, which — in partnership with the North Florida Land Trust — will combine state and county money with private donations to obtain the property.