The Conservation Land Acquisition & Management (CLAM) was developed by Nassau County Staff with the assistance of the North Florida Land Trust (NFLT), a 501(c) non-profit operating in Nassau County and throughout North Florida.
The plan was adopted by the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners on January 25, 2021.
The County has proposed raising the money for the land acquisition program through issuing up to $30 million in General Obligation Bonds. A question on the Nassau County Ballot in November seeks to assess citizens' approval for this issuance. This is the question that will appear on the ballot:
NASSAU COUNTY GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR LANDS TO
PROTECT WATER QUALITY, WILDLIFE HABITAT, AND RIVERS
To acquire lands that improve water quality in rivers, creeks, and drinking water
sources; protect natural areas, beaches and the St. Mary’s, Nassau and Amelia
Rivers; reduce flooding, conserve wildlife habitat, and provide outdoor recreation, shall Nassau County be authorized to issue General Obligation Bonds, not exceeding maximum lawful interest rates, maturing within 30 years, not exceeding 30 million dollars payable from ad valorem taxes, with citizen oversight and full public disclosure of all spending?
____ YES, FOR BONDS
____ NO, AGAINST BONDS
A number of local organizations are looking for support for the initiative and asking residents to vote YES, including Protect Nassau Now or Never .
The Amelia Tree Conservancy has put together the attached flier that goes into the CLAM initiative.
HOW COULD THIS IMPACT AMERICAN BEACH?
Recommendations for the lands to be acquired were approved by the BOCC on September 25, 2022. North Little Nana Dune, Central Little Nana Dune, and South Little Nana Dune ranked #5 out of the 30 recommended projects. (The detailed reports can be read here.)
One of those lots is now under development as a single family home. Two remain as undeveloped dune.
In response to an enquiry about possible destruction of the dune, Nassau County Planning Department commented as follows:
"To demonstrate compliance with LDC Section 37.04 (Beach dunes and coastal strand), we developed an independent assessment of the property, and required the builder to submit a dune protection “action plan”.
There is no doubt that the construction activities will degrade the dune, and much of the focus of the action plan is to protect natural areas during construction and then follow a dune restoration plan post-construction that focuses on sand fences and replanting of coastal strand vegetation. Now that the builder has submitted a tree plan that shows the removal of four protected trees, we will be asking him to modify the action plan to include strategic tree planting designed to restore the damaged maritime hammock and thereby shore up Little Nana Dune.
One of the challenges we have in this instance is the still somewhat undeveloped character of American Beach. Other beach communities have long lost the secondary and ancient dunes to development, but Little Nana Dune is an ancient dune that is overlooked as most regulations focus on the primary dune. Our regulatory point of entry is the coastal strand, which is the area seaward of the maritime forest consisting of shrubs and low brushy plants. The maritime forest is protected to a limited extent by the tree ordinance, but this ordinance allows removal and mitigation of protected canopy trees. However we believe in this the post-construction tree planting will be an important way to protect and enhance Little Nana Dune."