TALLAHASSEE— Following the Florida Board of Trustees’ Sept. 21 cabinet meeting where six parcels of land within the Florida Wildlife Corridor were approved for conservation, Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition CEO Mallory Dimmitt issued the following statement: “The Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition commends Governor Ron DeSantis and the Board of Trustees for their leadership in approving nearly 20,000 acres of land within the Florida Wildlife Corridor for conservation. This $50 million public investment will preserve key linkages throughout the Corridor, further protecting wildlife and safeguarding water supplies for residents and visitors alike. We hope these acquisitions and conservation easement agreements will close smoothly and swiftly."
The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act was signed into law effective July 1, following unanimous bipartisan approval.
These six parcels of land, spread across the state, are uniquely positioned to address key conservation focuses:
- Hardee Flatwoods, part of the Hardee Flatwoods Florida Forever Project, allows for the preservation of rare longleaf pine flatwoods, while also protecting the headwaters of Charlie Creek which flows into the Peace River.
- Wedgworth Farms, part of the Kissimmee – St. Johns River Connector Florida Forever Project, will remain a working ranch while securing a vital linkage in the heart of the Corridor and uniting the state’s two largest watersheds.
- Alico Ranch, part of the Devil’s Garden Florida Forever Project, will contribute to the expansion of the adjacent Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest, a core territory for the Florida panther and a path to the north from the Everglades
- Evergreen Timberco, part of the Coastal Headwaters Longleaf Forest Florida Forever Project, will expand the adjacent Blackwater River State Forest and restore the historic longleaf pine ecosystem, protecting the watershed for Coldwater Creek and Blackwater River.
- Corrigan Ranch, part of the Corrigan Ranch Florida Forever Project, will expand Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and protect one of the largest known populations of the Florida grasshopper sparrow – the most endangered bird in North America.
- Cow Creek Ranch, part of the Rural & Family Lands Protection Program, will remain a working cattle ranch while protecting a corridor linkage on the east side of Lake Okeechobee.