The Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) continues to make progress in its “Rise Up for the Santa River” campaign, for which it received a Conservation Alliance grant. The campaign seeks to protect 818 acres of Florida’s Santa Fe River watershed. The designated area includes crucial wildlife and healthy forest habitat, freshwater springs, riverbank, and portions of the river itself.
With the Phase 3 acquisition of 195 acres of the Little Awesome Preserve, the ACT has reached just over 70% of its land acquisition goal for the campaign!
The Little Awesome Preserve is a tract of bottomland and upland forest alongside the Lower Santa Fe River. It’s an untouched, healthy forest of live oak, maple, elm and pine trees that slopes down toward karst features along the river. The ACT mobilized quickly when the land came up for sale–outbidding a real estate developer–in order to protect Little Awesome in perpetuity. ACT is currently establishing an infrastructure in the Preserve for passive public recreation.
Phase 1 of the Rise Up campaign was completed in 2019 with the acquisition of 254 acres and 1.3 river miles. Phase 2 was completed in 2021 with the purchase of 139 acres and 1.0 river mile surrounding Sawdust Spring.