St. Joe Company and DEP looks to renew Ecosystem Management Agreement

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Joe Company have worked together to preserve more than 31,000 acres of wetland areas in Bay and Walton counties for more than a decade.

St. Joe and DEP officials held a meeting to get feedback from locals about the renewing of the "Ecosystem Management Agreement." (WJHG/WECP)

DEP and St. Joe Company officials say the EMA conservation plan started back in 2004 and includes Breakfast Pointe Basins, Devil Swamp Basin and other areas in Walton and Bay counties. The agreement allows the organizations to protect large portions of the area from new development and conserve the area's nature and wildlife. Officials say they renew the EMA conservation plan every 5 years.

Kent Wimmer with Defenders of Wildlife raised concerns about the St. Joe Company’s proposed plan to create the biggest city on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Tampa, according to Wimmer.

"We just wanna make sure that this plan that the Army Corps of Engineers and DEP is currently considering is strong to buffer the wetlands and protect habitat for wildlife,” said Wimmer.

The St. Joe Company, DEP and the Army Corps Of Engineers representatives were unable to provide a statement at this time about the possible proposed plan.

St. Joe Company officials say the process to renew the agreement will begin in March.

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