Published: Sep 12, 2013 7:12 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection defended plans to sell some of the state's protected land Thursday.  The "sell list" includes state conservation land on Cayo Costa and more than 25 acres in the Charlotte Harbor Preserve.

The Florida legislature approved the state land-sale program with hopes of raising $50 million for future conservation.  The state is assessing a total 3 million acres of state-owned land.

On Thursday, the Department released the criteria for each site currently on the list.  You can find it here.

The Division of State Lands will provide an update on this process and the list at the Acquisition and Restoration Councilpublic meeting starting at 9 AM Friday in Tallahassee.

"The fact that sites are coming off the list as our staff conduct site-by-site review shows that the process is working," Susan Grandin, Director of the Division of State Lands, said.

"We have to look at all aspects of the land currently on the list to determine what the conservation value is and we are in the process of doing that," she said.


To date, the preliminary list of sites for potential sale has been reduced from 5,300 acres to roughly 4,200 acres, which represents 0.14 percent of the 3 million acres of state-owned conservation land.

The purpose of this assessment is to identify land that may be sold in order to purchase more valuable conservation land.