Fellow Floridians:

We wanted to let you know of a very important issue that will be on the ballot this fall Amendment 4.

The Conservation Amendment.

Amendment 4 will appear on the ballot on November 4, 2008. With the approval of 60% or more of general election voters, this measure will be incorporated into the state’s constitution.

Amendment 4 accomplishes two extremely significant goals:

  • Landowners who put their environmentally significant lands into perpetual conservation protection, by a conservation easement or other mechanism, will be exempted from property taxes.
  • The land that is set aside will be saved forever, no matter who the owner is in the future. No houses or malls, just fish and wildlife habitat and water recharge – FOREVER.
  • Amendment 4 also allows those who use their lands for conservation purposes to be taxed at the same rate as those who have agricultural lands. While not perpetual in nature, the lessening of the tax burden on these landowners will keep desirable lands green that otherwise might have been lost to development.

Amendment 4, while slightly diminishing governmental revenue, will also reduce public expenditures as conserved lands cost the public very little, requiring no ongoing public services, such as police, roads and public schools as are required with developed lands.

The Florida Forever program and local government conservation programs can only go so far on limited dollars to protect needed lands. If no other effort is made, by 2060, at our present rate of growth, another 7 million acres will have been lost to development. That means more than the doubling of the size of current urbanized areas. It is time to act to help ensure that future generations have clean estuaries, abundant fresh water, wild landscapes, Florida panthers, recreational lands and fishing spots. Without the adequate preservation of private conservation lands, along with public lands, the outlook for clean water and open spaces is very dim.

That is why we are contacting you today to make you aware of this win-win proposal to save on taxes and save our lands. We will need your support to ensure passage of this important ballot initiative. In the coming weeks we will provide you with more information and enlist your help to secure voter approval for Amendment 4.

Thanks very much.

Preston Robertson ……………………………………Eric Draper
Florida Wildlife Federation………………………. Audubon of Florida

(850) 656-7113………………………………………..(850) 222-2473


From Staff and Wire Reports