Florida to Purchase Critical Everglade Wetlands

Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced an agreement for the acquisition of 20,000 acres of critical Everglade wetlands. This purchase would be the largest wetland acquisition in a decade and would permanently save the land from oil drilling.

The Everglades are a natural region of tropical wetlands in the southern portion of Florida. The two million acre wetland ecosystem begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River and makes it way south to Florida Bay. It provides an important habitat for rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile and the Florida panther. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected areas under the Cartagena Treaty.

“One of my administration’s top environmental priorities has been expediting Everglades’s restoration,” said Governor DeSantis in a press release. “Today we take another step in the right direction by reaching this agreement between DEP and Kanter Real Estate that will allow for the purchase of 20,000 acres of critical wetlands. This significant purchase will permanently save these lands from oil drilling. I’m proud of our progress but also recognize this is just the beginning. I will continue to fight every day for the Everglades and Florida’s environment.”

The Kanter property is in the heart of the Everglades in WCA 3, which is part of the Everglades Protection Area – one of the most important wetland systems in the Everglades ecosystem. With this acquisition, there would be nearly 600,000 acres of wetlands in WCA 3 that would be permanently protected in public ownership for restoration and recreation.

Environmental organizations were quick to praise the purchase. “We applaud Governor DeSantis for his swift action in protecting these lands. This is yet another demonstration of his commitment to restoring America’s Everglades and ensuring that we achieve more now for Florida’s environment,” said The Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg. “We also stand in strong support of the Governor’s request for sustained funding at the $625 million level annually for the Everglades, springs, and clean water. Recurring funding is critical to expediting and completing key Everglades’s restoration projects like the Everglades reservoir that will send an average of 120 billion gallons of clean freshwater south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, reducing unwanted discharges to the East and West coasts.”

Photo courtesy the Office of the Governor

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