Charlie Houder

Charlie Houder has worked in natural resource assessment and management for over 40 years in both the public and private sectors. His experience extends across the southeastern United States, focused primarily in northeast Florida where the key challenge is sustaining the full range of ecosystem services while accommodating a growing population.

On May 1, 2017, Charlie became director of Alachua County's Department of Parks and Conservation Lands. There he oversees the maintenance of the County’s two dozen parks as well as the management of 11,000 acres of nature preserves. The Department also implements conservation land purchases through the County’s Wild Spaces and Public Places program which aims to acquire and provide for the stewardship of environmentally significant lands and parks to protect, maintain and improve natural resources and diverse resource-based recreational opportunities for current and future generations.

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Upper Suwannee River

For the previous three years, Charlie currently worked with two firms that specialize in working landscapes:

Saunders Real Estate | Forestry Group helps buyers and sellers of timberland tracts with expanded specialty services for timber real estate brokerage, acquisition due diligence, investment analysis, and agricultural property valuations. Charlie’s work included conservation easements, public land acquisition, and ecosystem services.

Natural Resource Planning Services is a multidiciplinary consulting firm offering forestry, arboricultural, wildlife, real estate, and appraisal services. Charlie provided expertise in natural resource assessment and management including ecosystem restoration, timber management, and nature-based recreation.

While working with Florida’s water management districts, Charlie was a leader in the implementation of Florida’s ambitious public land acquisition programs. Through the Florida Forever, Preservation 2000, and Save Our Rivers programs, Charlie oversaw the acquisition of land and conservation easements on over 300,000 acres for the Suwannee River and St. Johns River water management districts.

Under his direction, the lands that Charlie acquired were managed to provide multiple benefits including watershed management, natural community restoration, timber production, and recreation.

Rock Dam on South Canal

Projects accomplished during his tenure included:

A Certified Forester, Charlie received a BS in Forestry from the University of Florida. Prior to his service with Florida’s water management districts, he worked with the regional consulting firm, F&W Forestry Services, Inc. where he helped both corporate and individual landowners meet their objectives. He maintains an active role in his profession through involvement in the University’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Society of American Foresters.