Final land acquisition from the $10 million secured under the MOEX consent decree
TALLAHASSEE – The State of Florida has acquired conservation land over Seven Runs Creek in Walton County as part of a recently announced $10 million settlement with MOEX, a company invested in the well involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“This is a perfect example of the private sector working with government. In this case, DEP, for the benefit of biodiversity for all citizens,” said M.C. Davis, landowner of the Seven Runs Creek area.
After previously acquiring another portion of land, Escribano Point on Dec. 7, the remaining portion of the $5 million land acquisition funds allocated under the MOEX settlement was used to purchase a conservation easement over Seven Runs Creek, which is a part of the Florida Forever project in Walton County. The closing was Dec. 14th.
Governor Scott said, “This $5 million investment will benefit Florida’s groundwater resources in Walton County and also support the region’s surface water quality and wildlife. These dollars will support our mission of protecting and restoring Florida’s natural resources, so that Florida families who depend on these treasures can enjoy them for generations to come.”
With the assistance of The Trust for Public Land, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund received the conservation easement that comprises more than 2,336 acres of Seven Runs Creek, which is owned by the M.C. Davis Trust. The conservation easement will be managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands.
“We are pleased to announce another important land transaction as part of this settlement that helps protect Florida’s environment.” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “A conservation easement on Seven Runs Creek fulfills our mission to buffer military installations and provides a host of environmental benefits to the Florida Panhandle.”
The settlement includes not only $5 million in land acquisitions, but also $5 million in stormwater retrofit projects throughout Bay, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the expenditure of that money.
The acquisition of the property has many benefits to the state. Part of the project is considered to be a groundwater recharge area, since it has been mapped by the Northwest Florida Water Management District as a groundwater rich area. The project also includes a number of seepage streams that are considered pristine waterbodies that feed directly and indirectly into a Surface Water Improvement Management area and Outstanding Florida Waters of the Choctawhatchee River. Finally, this property will help to provide an environmentally protected connection, in perpetuity, between Eglin Air Force base and the Choctawhatchee River Water Management Area.
“Conservation of this Seven Runs Creek property advances Florida’s Gulf Coast restoration initiatives and permanently protects a beautiful natural area for the public to enjoy,” said Chris Kay, Chief Operating Officer for The Trust for Public Land. “The Trust for Public Land is proud to continue its partnership with the State of Florida to be responsive to Florida’s conservation, restoration and clean water priorities.”
MOEX Offshore was a 10-percent non-operating investor in the lease on the Macondo well at the time of the Deepwater Horizon spill and is the first entity to resolve civil penalty claims. This recovery does not affect any outstanding claims the State may have against any other responsible party, including BP.
For information directly related to Florida’s response and restoration activities relating to the Deepwater Horizon spill visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm.