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US Fish and Wildlife Service land acquisition grant

Project: Recovery Land Acquisition (RLA) Grant for Lake Grassy Scrub Tract
Client: Heartland National Bank
Principal Ecologist: Dr. Jay Exum conducted field assessments of the scrub habitat, wrote the long-term management plan and prepared the RLA grant application.

Conservation of dwindling habitats for threatened and endangered species requires multiple strategies to accomplish. The Endangered Species Act provides a process for funding land acquisition for projects that meet the objectives of federal Recovery Plans. Funding for the acquisition of a 55-acre tract of Florida scrub habitat was obtained for the Lake Grassy Scrub Tract in Highlands County Florida.


Prepare the necessary documents to obtain a Recovery Land Acquisition (RLA) grant for the Lake Grassy Scrub Tract.


Meeting the criteria of the RLA grant is somewhat difficult, but finding matching funds can sometimes be the biggest hurdle. Heartland National Bank was willing to provide the requisite 25% match by funding the long-term management plan.

Primary Accomplishments:

  • Completion of the management plan for long-term protection of Florida scrub habitat, the federally threatened sand skink and five federally-listed plants.
  • Successful coordination of the application with local, state and federal regulatory agencies.
  • Success! We were awarded the RLA grant.


Highlands County was engaged during the RLA grant application process, and before the funding was transferred, the county purchased the property from Heartland National Bank through their Natural Resource Acquisition Committee. This assures protection of this unique tract of Florida scrub habitat in perpetuity.

Sand Skink Trail Locations on the Lake Grassy Tract - Highlands County, FL

Locations of listed plant observations on the Lake Grassy Tract Highlands County, FL