Ecosystem Management Agreement (EMA) with the St. Joe Company
On May 29, 2015, the St. Joe Company and the department established the Second Ecosystem Management Agreement (F.S. 403.0752). This EMA Area (EMA #2) encompasses 42,889 acres of St. Joe owned lands within the West Bay Sector Preservation Area in Bay County.
This agreement is the second such agreement entered into with The St. Joe Company. The first, in 2004, encompassed an area of 31,350 acres and provided for conservation for more than 20,760 acres of St. Joe owned property in Bay and Walton counties. The department and the federal government have urged St. Joe to take a comprehensive, regional approach to conservation and development that would provide for predictable community growth while affording greater protection to natural lands along the Emerald Coast.
St. Joe Company has extensive landholdings in Northwest Florida, some of which is earmarked for residential, commercial and recreational development, which require environmental permits. The agreement provides protective guidelines for activities associated with building roads, homes and community infrastructure.
As part of these two agreements, St. Joe is setting aside thousands of acres of high-quality habitat for preservation. The conservation areas create a two-pronged “Bay to Bay” wildlife corridor linking public land from Choctawhatchee Bay to St. Andrew Bay and preserving the ecological integrity of two of Northwest Florida’s most rapidly developing watersheds.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.