DEP Acquires Additional Acreage in Wakulla Springs Protection Zone

DEP Press Release header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2019

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

DEP Acquires Additional Acreage in Wakulla Springs Protection Zone

DEP Acquires 717 Acres within Wakulla Springs Protection Zone

Photo courtesy of Sunshine Real Estate Photography

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has purchased an additional 717 acres within the Wakulla Springs Protection Zone Florida Forever project. The acquisition of this property from the Ferrell family represents a successful multi-agency public and nonprofit partnership between DEP, the U.S. Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service and Conservation Florida, to protect water quality within the Wakulla Springs Basin.

This acquisition protects the springshed and the land that feeds Wakulla Springs, one of the largest and deepest artesian springs in the world. 

The property also buffers and protects an additional 13 karst features with hydrological connections to the Floridan Aquifer. The aquifer recharge provided by the property is essential to water quality and quantity at Wakulla Springs and the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve along St. Marks River shorelines in Apalachee Bay.

“With the thoughtful stewardship of the Ferrell family, who has owned the parcel since the 1870s, the tract is a perfect complement to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park,” said DEP Division of State Lands Director Callie DeHaven.

“The Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park are grateful for the purchase of the Ferrell property,” said Don Lanham, President of the Friends of Wakulla Springs. “Wakulla Springs is a national natural landmark, and the acquisition of this property has been on our horizon for more than a decade.”

“This is a big win for Florida and Wakulla Springs,” said Conservation Florida Executive Director Traci Deen. “Wakulla Caves is a North Florida gem that protects freshwater resources, offers world-class scuba diving and recreational opportunities, and solidifies a conservation corridor with key habitat for native plants and wildlife. We’re proud to have worked with our partners to protect it.”

“It is through the Forest Legacy Program and with strong partnerships that we can continue to prioritize the protection of Florida’s unique natural spaces,” said Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Forest Service and State Forester. “I am extremely proud of our team and their efforts to secure over $2.5 million to protect the Wakulla Caves property, one of the top ranked projects in the nation.”

Florida Forever is the state's conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving our natural resources and renewing our commitment to conserve our natural and cultural heritage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship.