Aerial View of Florida Everglades at Sunset Hour – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by ocudrone
POINCIANA, Fla. – Recently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act into law in Poinciana.
The governor signed SB 976 at the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve at 2700 Scrub Jay Trail.
The legislation guides the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in encouraging and promoting greater investment in areas that protect and strengthen the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
“Today, we celebrate another milestone of this year’s legislative session, which was a resounding success for Florida’s environment,” DeSantis said. “I thank the legislature for their support of this landmark legislation that will conserve critical natural ecosystems and working landscapes for the protection of Florida’s unique and diverse wildlife while preserving Florida’s green spaces for generations to come.”
The 11,500-acre Disney Wilderness Preserve near Kissimmee stands not only as an attestation to Disney’s love of nature but to the power of perseverance and cooperation. Home to more than 1,000 animal and plant species, the preserve is an essential part of the Everglades ecosystem. About 3,500 acres of restored wetlands act as nature’s “sponges” by filtering out nutrients, capturing rain, and replenishing groundwater.
The legislation describes the Florida Wildlife Corridor as an already existing physical and geographically defined area made up of over 18 million acres. Nearly 10 million acres are conservation lands and were developed through a conjoined effort of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition. Now, the funding can be used for the acquisition of these lands, in simple fees or conservation easements.
“Thanks to the governor’s bold vision and the continued support of the legislature, Florida’s environmental priorities have remained strong, including land acquisition for protection of our natural resources and wildlife,” said Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “This bill will further Florida’s conservation efforts by building upon a network of public and private lands to provide critical habitat for wildlife across the state.”
“The signing of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act by Governor DeSantis marks a big win for land conservation in Florida and sparks both excitement and inspiration for Florida’s conservation future,” said Conservation Florida CEO Traci Deen. “Conservation Florida is thrilled to celebrate the signing of the Act into law and is grateful for the governor’s leadership on this historic day.”
“From the study of the Little Wekiva River to the creation of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, we are taking important steps toward the preservation and protection of vulnerable lands and waters – particularly those needed to allow for the migration and genetic exchange of Florida’s apex predators, especially black bears and panthers,” Sen. Jason Brodeur said.
In short, the act includes the following:
- Helps to sustain working farms, forests, and lands
- Protects the headwaters of major watersheds, including St. Johns River and Everglades
- Preserves water and land to protect coastal estuaries
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