1018 Thomasville Road
Suite 200-C
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Phone: (850) 224-8207
Fax: (850) 681-9364

Florida State University
Florida Resources and
Environmental Analysis Center
at the Institute of Science
and Public Affairs

NatureServe
A Network Connecting Science with Conservation




Florida Forever

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 every six-month Florida Forever 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, the Inventory prepares a Resource Planning Boundary, recommending modifications to help ensure protection of the resources associated with the proposed project.

Third, staff scientists conduct field assessments for each proposal. Information from this assessment is 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 June and December, FNAI provides a comprehensive report that scores all Florida Forever projects on their values for individual resources and F-TRAC.

    Florida Forever Project Evaluation and Progress Reports for Fall 2013 Cycle:

    Project Comparative Analysis Table - November 2013 (471 KB pdf) Excel Version (176 KB) "Bubble Sheet" Version (360 KB)
    This table, formerly known as the "bubble sheet", provides concise summary resource scores for all current and proposed Florida Forever projects. Newly available are sortable Excel worksheets for the supporting data underlying the Comparative Analysis. Resource Evaluation Scoring Worksheets - November 2013 (479 KB)

    Natural Resource Acquisition Progress Report - November 2013 (193 KB pdf)
    This report tracks acres acquired of each natural resource layer included in the Conservation Needs Assessment, tied directly to measures outlined in the Florida Forever legislation.


GIS Data
The latest Conservation Needs Assessment GIS data layers are available for download here. These data are updated approximately once a year.


Documentation
FNAI Florida Forever data and analysis fall into three 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 regrouped into more meaningful categories for analysis. These groupings are known as the Decision Support Data. These data are also used to score projects based on Single Resource Evaluations.

    Data Layer Synopsis Page - Revised November 2013 (86 KB pdf)
    This document provides a brief overview of the Decision Support Data layers.

    Decision Support Data Documentation - Revised November 2013 (438 KB pdf)
    Detailed documentation for the Decision Support Data, including how the original Conservation Needs Assessment layers are grouped into Decision Support Data.

    Single Resource Evaluation Documentation - Revised November 2013 (2 MB pdf)
    This report documents the methods used to score Florida Forever projects for each (single) resource data layer. These scores are summarized in the Project Evaluation Summary Table (see above).

Third, the Decision Support Data are used in the F-TRAC analysis.

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Cautionary Note Regarding the Interpretation of F-TRAC Analysis Results
FNAI runs a new F-TRAC analysis for each 6-month project evaluation cycle. The F-TRAC results will change each cycle based on several possible occurrences. First, as portions of projects are acquired, the scores for resources occurring on the remaining portions of those projects may change. Second, as resources are acquired through land acquisition, the relative influence of each resource type on the analysis results may change. Third, as natural resource data layers are refined and updated, resource values for a given area may change. While the overall results of F-TRAC scenarios should be largely consistent over time, results for specific locations or Florida Forever projects may change from one evaluation cycle to the next.