Bluefield to Cow Creek

Nearly 40,000 acres added to Florida Wildlife Corridor by Florida Cabinet

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on May 24, 2023

On May 23, 2023, thanks to a unanimous Cabinet vote, 39,583 more acres of the Florida Wildlife Corridor were approved for permanent protection, bringing conserved lands within the Corridor to 119,939 acres — a win for Florida’s ecology, economy and residents.

All of the properties approved for acquisition or conservation easement during the May 23 Cabinet meeting were made possible through collaboration from public and private funds and through the state’s Rural and Family Lands Protection and the Florida Forever Programs.

The majority of the lands are working agricultural lands that provide habitat and connectivity for key species including the bald eagle, sandhill crane, fox squirrel, crested caracara Florida panther, gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, swallow-tailed kite and more. These protected lands fall within Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Polk, St. Lucie and Walton counties.

“With today’s approvals, more than 100,000 acres of lands within or adjacent to the Florida Wildlife Corridor have been approved for conservation through a series of votes at each Cabinet meeting since the passage of the Florida Wildlife Act in 2021.

On behalf of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, we thank DEP Secretary Hamilton, state and federal partners, our fellow conservation organizations, and the members of the Florida Cabinet for prioritizing funding of land acquisitions and conservation easements through the Florida Forever and the Rural and Family Lands Programs.

Smart distribution through these funding programs will make significant progress in conserving the Florida Wildlife Corridor.  With consistent funding and a unified mission – permanently protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor – critical connections within the Corridor will be saved,” said Mallory Dimmitt, chief executive officer of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.

“The time to take action is now, and our leaders understand this urgency. The Corridor is expected to lose 500,000 acres by 2030. Under the guidance of Florida’s elected leaders our state will continue to grow, and it’s important that we accelerate conservation now to protect wild Florida for future generations.”

Mallory Dimmitt, CEO of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation
Map by Angeline Meeks / Archbold Biological Station

Nearly 40,000 acres added to Florida Wildlife Corridor by Florida Cabinet

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act became law on July 1, 2021, with unanimous bipartisan approval. The signing of the act, combined with increased awareness of the Corridor and the consistent and meaningful funding it provides, has helped increase landowner interest and applications to the Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands program. With these new approvals, 119,939 acres of land will have been protected in or adjacent to the Florida Wildlife Corridor by the State of Florida since the Act became effective.

Properties specific to the May 23 Cabinet meeting were supported by the dedicated efforts of partner organizations, including Alachua Conservation Trust, Conserving Land and Water for People and Wildlife, North Florida Land Trust, Florida Wildlife Federation, and private real estate agents. Federal investments were also provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Featured image by Lauren Yoho / Wildpath. Learn more at @leyoho @wildpath.



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