Natural Resources Protection Strategy

What We Do

The County protects natural areas through regulatory and non-regulatory tools. 

How We Do It

The county government has developed a combination of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches that have led to the protection of over 25,000 acres of green space in Alachua County. The County’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations are designed to protection critical and sensitive natural areas through the development review process and strong protection standards. Regulatory tools include mapped strategic ecosystems, upland habitat protection standards, strong wetland avoidance policies and buffer standards, and incentive opportunities for developers protecting resources.


 In 2000, the voters of Alachua County approved the creation of Alachua County Forever, with the goals of protecting water quality, wildlife habitats, and providing natural areas for resource-based recreation. This willing-seller (voluntary) acquisition and management program has successfully protected over 21,000 acres of land while maintaining and enhances these areas for wildlife habitat and other resource values and creating recreational amenities and trails for our citizens. For additional information on how the program works visit Land Conservation.


Regulatory tools include both strong resource protection standards in combination with incentive-based land protection options available to land owners and developers. Some of the incentive based tools include a voluntary TDR program for conservation and agricultural lands, clustering and density bonuses for increased habitat protection, and increased design flexibility (i.e. Low Impact Development design options for storm water management and open space). Strong resource protection standards included up to 150 ft. average buffers for Outstanding Florida Waters and 100 ft. average buffers for wetlands with listed species, upland habitat standards that protection up to 25% of the property and up to 50% of the upland areas within designated strategic ecosystems and required clustering policies for large developments in agricultural areas. The results from regulations have been tracked since the latest regulations were adopted in 2006. For more information and a summary of the natural areas and resources protected through these regulatory tools, please visit our Natural Resources.

Click here for a presentation on these strategies.