Management Plan Process
The State of Florida acquired Fish Island in November 2019. In October 2020, the City of St. Augustine will receive a lease from the state. At that time, the City will become the manager of Fish Island.
Within 10 months of an executed lease, the City is required to submit a management plan to the state’s Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) for approval. ARC is comprised of members from each of the state’s land management agencies, the Florida Department of State, two agency-appointed members and four governor-appointed members. ARC’s responsibilities include evaluating and ranking the state’s land acquisition projects and reviewing management plans for state-owned conservation lands.
There is great deal of information that goes into an ARC-approved management plan. Besides the natural and cultural resource information, there is a recreation/conceptual land use portion, and goals, objectives and a budget with a 10-year planning horizon. For a good example, please see the Anastasia State Park management plan.
An important part of the management planning process is to have a public workshop and a management advisory group meeting. The City is planning on doing these two things in November or December 2020. To support that process the Fish Island Public Input Questionnaire occurred from July-August 2020. There were 653 responses to survey questions about what recreational activities and amenities the public would like to see on the property, and what the public would like to name the property. The information from the survey will be compiled and used in developing the recreation/conceptual land use portion of the Fish Island Preserve management plan.
The City’s goal is to have a draft management plan submitted to ARC in December 2020. Once ARC has approved the plan, then the plan will go to the City Commission for its approval.