TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Last night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, which creates “incentives for conservation and sustainable development while sustaining and conserving the green infrastructure that is the foundation of Florida’s economy and quality of life.” The legislation will also secure access to habitats for wide-ranging wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther, prevent fragmentation of critical lands, protect the headwaters of major watersheds such as the Everglades and St. Johns, help to sustain working farms, ranches, and forests, and preserve lands and waters to protect coastal estuaries.
“We are grateful that Governor DeSantis, as well as every single member of the Florida House and Senate, supported the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act,” said Jason Lauritsen, executive director, Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition. “Floridians support a balance between the growth of the economy and preservation of natural resources. This is a moment to celebrate, but also the beginning of a new journey. Florida is finding innovative solutions for conservation to ensure wild Florida exists for future generations.”
The state budget also includes significant funding for land conservation within the Florida Wildlife Corridor through the Florida Forever program, which will help protect critical lands for the Florida panther and other species native to Florida.
“Though often hidden in plain sight, the Florida Wildlife Corridor is a foundation for nearly every facet of Florida life – from the endangered Florida panther which needs connected habitats to survive, to farmers and ranchers who cultivate the land to feed our country, to 22 million residents and 130 million annual visitors who rely on the services the Corridor provides,” said Carlton Ward, Jr., National Geographic Photographer and founder of the Path of the Panther project.
“The Florida Wildlife Corridor embraces the natural lands and working lands that make Florida unique, valuable, and the state the world loves to visit. The Corridor is critical to protect the headwaters of major watersheds which helps supply our drinking water, to save our precious wildlife, and so much more,” said Hilary Swain, executive director, Archbold Biological Station. “In the course of time, the Corridor will be viewed as the vision that helped change the future and save the state for generations to come.”
“The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act is the culmination of decades of work,” said Mallory Dimmit, board member, Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition. “Florida’s long term economic prosperity and quality of life depends on a healthy and sustainable green infrastructure, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act will help make this possible.”
ABOUT THE FLORIDA WILDLIFE CORRIDOR COALITION
The Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition champions a collaborative campaign to permanently connect, protect, and restore the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The Coalition seeks to elevate the tremendous work of our many conservation partners, combining conservation science with compelling imagery and rich storytelling to inspire the protection of our treasured landscape to support sustainable ecosystems and economies. Established in 2010, founding partners include Archbold Biological Station, Audubon Florida, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and more. To learn more, visit floridawildlifecorridor.org, like us on Facebook (FloridaWildlifeCorridor), and follow us on Instagram (fl_wildcorridor).