DeSantis signs Florida Wildlife Corridor Act
The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, which will dedicate an additional $300 million to protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor, was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The legislation directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection “to encourage and promote investments in areas that protect and enhance the Florida Wildlife Corridor,” according to the office of DeSantis.
The funds are in addition to the $100 million that is allocated to the Florida Forever program.
DeSantis said the funding “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.”
“This funding can be used for the acquisition of Florida Wildlife Corridor lands, in fee simple or conservation easements,” the office stated in a news release. The legislation designates the Florida Wildlife Corridor as an “existing physical, geographically defined area comprised of over 18 million acres, of which almost 10 million acres are conservation lands, that was developed through a coordinated effort of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition.”
The Florida Wildlife Corridor addresses habitat loss and fragmentation across Florida.
“Protecting essential Florida lands and waters is necessary not only to the Florida panther, black bear, red cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, longleaf pine and so many others that depend on those lands to move, grow and prosper in Florida, but also for our ability to successfully mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said The Nature Conservancy in Florida Executive Director Temperince Morgan.
“There is great economic opportunity in the preservation of our natural places, and the importance of access to nature for our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as for recreational opportunities cannot be understated. The signing of the Florida Wildlife Corridor bill demonstrates the Florida Legislature, Governor DeSantis and the state’s continued commitment to protecting rare and sensitive lands,” Morgan stated.