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The Florida Senate

President Office — Press Release


February 22, 2024

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

Senate Passes Compact to Conserve: Preserving Florida’s Land, Water & Wildlife Legacy

SB 1638 dedicates funds for acquisition, management of conservation lands and water quality

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill (SB) 1638, Florida’s Compact to Conserve, sponsored by the Dean of the Florida Senate, Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine). The legislation commits revenues available through the Compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to establish dedicated funding for continued acquisition and management of Florida’s conservation lands and clean water infrastructure.

“Conservation and preservation of Florida's land and water resources is essential to maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy as well as sustaining and growing a thriving economy, including legacy industries like tourism and agriculture,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). “The Compact to Conserve invests in the strategic expansion of our Wildlife Corridor, and will help protect endangered native species, including the Florida Panther. I am grateful to Governor DeSantis, Speaker Renner, and Commissioner Simpson for their vision and steadfast leadership in safeguarding Florida’s land, water, and wildlife legacy.”

“Our Compact to Conserve dedicates a new, steady stream of funds to acquire conservation lands and invest in our clean water infrastructure,” said Dean Hutson. “Additionally, we have a tremendous focus on management of our conservation lands, which helps to protect our state from wildfire damage and guard against dangerous non-native species. Together these investments will expand and promote public access to state recreation lands, including Florida's state parks, greenways and trails, and game lands, so our current residents and visitors, and Floridians generations down the road, can get out there and enjoy our pristine land, water, and wildlife legacy.”

Compact to Conserve

SB 1638, Florida’s Compact to Conserve, dedicates the revenues from the gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida to the acquisition and management of conservation lands and the identification and prioritization of critical clean water infrastructure investments.

Specifically, the bill sets forth the following appropriations of compact revenues:

  • $100 million each fiscal year to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor, including the acquisition of lands or conservation easements within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
  • $100 million for the management of state-owned lands and removal of invasive species, which is further subdivided as follows:
    • $32 million for land management within the State Park System.
    • $4 million to implement the implement the Local Trail Management Grant Program.
    • $32 million for land management within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, including state forests.
    • $32 million for land management within Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, including state game lands and management activities for gopher tortoises and Florida panthers. 
  • $100 million for the implementation of Florida’s Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.
  • After the distributions outlined above, the remainder of funds available each fiscal year are distributed to the Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund to implement Florida’s Water Quality Improvement Grant Program. $79 million is appropriated for Fiscal Year 2024-25, an amount expected to increase in future years.

The bill outlines percentage distributions for each category in the event compact revenues are less than expected.