The Florida Natural Areas Inventory provides scientific support to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for Florida Forever, the nation's largest environmental land acquisition program. The Inventory contributes in two key ways: scientific review of newly proposed land acquisition projects, and comprehensive natural resource analysis and scoring of all Florida Forever projects using the Conservation Needs Assessment and F-TRAC.
Staff Scientist Reviews
For each Florida Forever proposal review cycle, FNAI scientists contribute to a multi-phase evaluation process.
First, new applications are reviewed and the Inventory prepares a Preliminary Evaluation Report in advance of the first vote of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC).
Second, for those proposals voted upon for further evaluation, FNAI staff scientists conduct field assessments. Field assessments help ensure that FNAI data reflect current local site conditions, and also give the applicant an opportunity to share additional information. Staff summaries from each assessment are incorporated into a multi-agency evaluation report compiled by DEP, Office of Environmental Services. DEP's evaluation report is presented to the ARC prior to the final vote and project ranking for each cycle.
Conservation Needs Assessment and F-TRAC
FNAI has conducted a statewide analysis of natural resource conservation priorities for the Florida Forever program. We created or compiled GIS data layers for rare species habitat, natural communities, ecological greenways, large landscapes, significant surface waters, natural floodplain, functional wetlands, aquifer recharge, coastal resources, cultural resources, and sustainable forestry. This Conservation Needs Assessment establishes baseline protection status for each natural resource, and provides a tool for tracking progress in resource acquisition.
FNAI has also developed the Florida Forever Tool for Efficient Resource Acquisition and Conservation (F-TRAC) to evaluate Florida Forever projects based on multiple resource values. In advance of each ARC project ranking in December, FNAI provides a comprehensive report that scores all Florida Forever projects on their values for individual resources and F-TRAC.
The latest Conservation Needs Assessment GIS data layers are available for download here. These data are updated approximately once a year.
FNAI Florida Forever data and analysis fall into two categories:
First, Conservation Needs Assessment data are the original data layers tied directly to measures outlined in the Florida Forever legislation.
Second, the Conservation Needs Assessment data layers have been combined into functional groupings for analysis. These groupings and related analyses are known as the Ranking Support Analyses (RSA).
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