A HUGE conservation win for St. Johns County!
As the second fastest growing county in the state, St. Johns County is experiencing its fair share of growing pains including clearcutting and traffic congestion. But, on January 19, 2021, after years of advocacy from the environmental community, the St. Johns County Commission voted to reactivate the Land Acquisition and Management Program (LAMP) ordinance, appoint a LAMP Advisory Board, and fund the program with $500,000 to acquire and preserve environmentally sensitive land in St. Johns County.
Through the early 2000s, St. Johns County maintained the Land Acquisition and Management Program (LAMP) program which focused on acquiring and preserving environmentally sensitive land. Community landmarks such as Alpine Groves River Park, Vilano Beach Oceanfront Park, and the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park were acquired and preserved because of the LAMP program.
Unfortunately, the LAMP program was put on hold in 2008 due to funding limitations and never reinitiated once state conservation funding was available again. For the last couple of years Matanzas Riverkeeper, along with partners in the conservation community, have worked to try to get the LAMP program restarted, but ultimately, the decision rested with the St. Johns County Commissioners. The motion to restart the LAMP program was made by Commissioner Henry Dean and supported by Commissioners Jeremiah Blocker and Christian Whitehurst.
Matanzas Riverkeeper, Jen Lomberk, provided comments at the Board of County Commissioners meeting. “There is absolutely no question that the rate and character of development in our community has been an ongoing cause of frustration among St. Johns County residents and restarting the LAMP program is a way to ensure that the rate of development is being counter-balanced by protection of natural resources in order to preserve our quality of life.”