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  1. Hillsborough

Hillsborough County asks residents to nominate land they want to see protected

TAMPA — Know of a beautiful, natural setting in Hillsborough County that you would like to see stay beautiful and natural?

Then just say so. It's possible you could get your wish.

Hillsborough County is accepting nominations until June 30 for property to be considered for purchase under the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program. The program protects and preserves endangered, environmentally sensitive and significant lands in Hillsborough County. Most property bought under the program are eventually opened for passive public uses, such as hiking and bird-watching.

Residents, land owners, community associations, and government agencies can nominate sites. Land is purchased only from willing sellers. Properties under consideration go through an assessment process to determine their environmental significance; selected sites eventually go to the Board of County Commissioners for approval.

Factors that qualify property for possible purchase include land that is comprised of mostly native plants and animals, provides habitat for state or federally listed species, has unique geologic features, helps protect water quality or links with other protected lands to form habitat corridors.

Nominations should be submitted to: Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program Conservation & Environmental Lands Management department, Bell Creek Administrative Office, 10490 McMullen Road, Riverview, FL 33569. For more information, call (813) 672-7876.

The county manages more than 61,000 acres of environmentally sensitive wildlife habitat and corridors acquired through the lands acquisition program. Under the program, county workers conduct prescribed burnings, inventory wildlife and control invasive species and feral animals and maintain trails. It is a citizen-based program with volunteer committees involved in every key aspect of the program, according to the web site,

— Times staff