Water board votes in favor of conservation

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Will purchase Andrews family land in Cedar Key

By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

The state is purchasing  622 acres of environmentally sensitive coastal lands in Cedar Key, thanks to a unanimous decision from the Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board.
The board voted 6-0 on May 19 to allow District staff, who have been negotiating since October, to buy the property for $3.31 million, about $5,000 per acre.
The purchase will permanently protect the land, owned by the Dennis Andrews family, owners of Andrews Land and Timber Co. and the Andrews Family Trust, from development. The purchase will be funded through the Florida Forever program, which aims to buy land for conservation and recreation purposes.
The property, located near the No. 4 bridge along State Road 24, is important in protecting fragile coastal wetlands and natural resources, as well as acting as a buffer for nearby Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, according to the District staff. The property is predominantly wetlands, about 85 percent, and will be important in minimizing flooding in the area, as well, according to the District staff report.

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