Florida's state-owned conservation lands comprise more than 6,000 square miles and more than 11 percent of the state's land area.
Florida spends more than $220 million a year to manage these lands.
Even the most conservative estimates suggest that the state's per-acre cost of land management appears substantially higher than the costs of private land managers.
Data on private versus state management of conservation lands suggests that creating a public/private partnership for the management of conservation lands could lower the cost to the state substantially. If half the state's conservation lands were managed by private land management firms, there would be the potential for an annual saving conservatively estimated at $15 million; and possibly much more if the state agencies involved made workforce reductions commensurate with their reduced responsibilities.
The 2008 Legislature approved a $4.5 million demonstration project to contract out for private management of about 200,000 acres of state-owned conservation lands.
The demonstration project received no acceptable bids, so that project has now been put on hold.
Examination of the RFP revealed provisions that would be unappealing to private contractors. The RFP thus failed to attract any successful bids because its design doomed it to fail.
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