O2O Wildlife Corridor
The O2O Mission
The O2O Partnership works to protect and improve ecological conditions of the
Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor. This includes protection of natural areas, wildlife
habitat and regional water quality as compatible with working lands and the natural
resource-based economy of the area. Furthermore, the Partnership promotes
conservation that assists the State and Federal military installations to sustain their
military training missions.
Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor
What is the O2O?
The Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor (O2O) is a 100 mile long, 1.6-million acre, landscape of public and private lands that connect the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. The O2O includes priority lands for the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN), and is a significant part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. If the system of natural landscapes and connector lands is protected, the O2O will continue to provide habitat for Florida black bears, imperiled species like the Florida Scrub-jay, red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, gopher tortoise and more. In addition, there are opportunities for protecting iconic Florida ecosystems, including longleaf pine forests, sandhills, and scrub in the O2O.
What are we doing to conserve the O2O?
North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) is currently working with 25 different organizations, the O2O partnership, to connect this vital wildlife corridor. We are working with our partner Camp Blanding to accelerate land conservation around the base to protect military training from incompatible land development, and to protect imperiled species habitat. In addition, NFLT partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement the Longleaf Pine and Gopher Tortoise Working Lands for Wildlife programs in the O2O. To this end, NFLT and the O2O Partnership received an $3.56 million allotment of Farm Bill funds (RCPP) for O2O land conservation in 2018, and 9.3 million in 2020, this also includes land protection and improved conservation practices on private lands.
NFLT and O2O Partners successfully brought diverse funding sources to the table. Which will provide matching funds to the 9.3 million in the 2020 RCPP to the amount of $11,405,100. Providing the O2O with more than $20,000,000 to fund conservation. We are reaching out to O2O landowners to protect critical lands and promote conservation management practices. For more information on land acquisition and conservation easements contact Ramesh Buch firstname.lastname@example.org To read more on the 2020 RCPP click here.
Our goal is to protect 140,000 acres in the O2O Conservation Corridor in the next 20 years. A network of connected conservation lands benefit wildlife and natural resources, as well as assure ecological resiliency as our environment changes and our population grows.
What are the benefits of O2O Conservation?
- Synergy of conservation programs: better coordination of conservation efforts among partner organizations including better landowner outreach and leveraging additional funding.
- Protection of wildlife habitat and natural resources: enhanced conservation will help > 16 endangered and threatened species and wide-ranging mammals such as the Florida Black Bear.
- Protection of working forestry: provide incentives for improved forest management for conservation and economic benefit
- Preserving existing water quality: Preservation and improvement of the lands within the corridor will improve water quality within the numerous watersheds of the O2O.
- Protect military mission and readiness: Increased land conservation in areas surrounding the military installation simultaneously protects natural resources and military training capacity.
What is the O2O Partnership?
The “Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Partnership” is a regionally unprecedented partnership of public agencies and private organizations working together toward a common goal – land conservation and protection of military mission in the O2O. North Florida Land Trust is leading this Partnership – other partners include:
Camp Blanding / Florida National Guard
Enterprise Florida/ Florida Defense Support Task Force
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
St. John’s River Water Management District
Suwannee River Water Management District
Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
North Florida Prescribed Burn Association
North Florida Land Trust is the O2O’s lead partner. You can learn more about the land trust and their efforts on their web page. WWW.NFLT.org