WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor DeSantis and Florida Cabinet Investing More than $56 Million to Acquire Nearly 20,000 Acres for Conservation 

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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor DeSantis and Florida Cabinet Investing More than $56 Million to Acquire Nearly 20,000 Acres for Conservation 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet invested more than $56 million to acquire seven properties across the state that will be designated for conservation.  

Read what environmental leaders and stakeholders are saying about these acquisitions.

“Congratulations to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet for continuing excellence in protecting our state’s future by conserving nearly 20,000 acres of conservation land during today’s meeting. While a full slate of important land projects were protected, The Nature Conservancy is particularly proud of two projects: Hendrie Ranch, which protects 663 acres of natural and agricultural land important for Florida panthers within the ecologically significant Lake Wales Ridge through a conservation easement under the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program; and Whiskey George Creek Timbers, 376 acres within the St. Joe Timberlands Florida Forever project that will be added to Tate’s Hell State Forest and is important for water flows into East Bay and contains several active red-cockaded woodpecker clusters.” Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

“Audubon celebrates these investments in our environment and economy, protecting the places we need to provide clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and more. These significant conservation decisions made today demonstrate how Florida Forever and the Rural and Family Lands Protection programs work together to steward the Sunshine State’s critical natural resources. As our state grows and develops, so should our attention to preserving Florida’s special places. We need all the tools in our toolbox to protect our natural landscapes through fair, transparent processes.” – Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director for Audubon Florida.

“Protecting additional acreage of longleaf pine forests in Santa Rosa County not only preserves one of the most threatened and ecologically diverse ecosystems in the world, but it also ensures opportunities for increased recreational access and safely buffers naval air station operations,” said Doug Hattaway, Senior Project Manager for Trust for Public Land. "Trust for Public Land is proud to see continued support for this project and we look forward to seeing more of this treasured Florida landscape forever protected.”

“I applaud Governor DeSantis and the Cabinet for their leadership in protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor. I had the privilege of photographing some of these properties for National Geographic. Their beauty and diversity of the land and water is beyond words. The new commitment to their conservation is big step forward for the benefit of current and future Floridians.” – Carlton Ward Jr., Founder of Wildpath and the Path of the Panther project.

“Conservation Florida thanks Governor DeSantis, the Cabinet and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for continuing to support critical land acquisitions to protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor and both our wild and agricultural landscapes,” said Traci Deen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conservation Florida. “There's power in partnership, and we are grateful to continue to work with the state of Florida to achieve our shared conservation goals, including the protection of Crippen Ranch in the Northern Everglades.”

“The Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation and our partners appreciate Governor Ron DeSantis and the Board of Trustees’ commitment to protecting Florida’s wild legacy for future generations and ensuring working lands can stay working lands,” said Mallory Dimmitt, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation. “Today’s public investment of more than $56 million is significant to big-picture progress as we continue to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the passing of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act. This forward-looking Act is inspiring action to protect working lands and key linkages throughout the Florida Wildlife Corridor.”

“The Horse Creek Ranch is the perfect storm of conservation coming together in Florida. We have a committed ranching family partnering with the Division of State Lands and Southwest Florida Water Management District to conserve this vital piece of land. The protection of Horse Creek Ranch helps ensure a clean water source for over one million people in Southwest Florida and is a keystone in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.  This is a lasting legacy for all Floridians.” – Jim Strickland, Vice-Chairman, Florida Conservation Group.

“This has been an incredible partnership between our two agencies and the Doyle Carlton family to protect this critical piece of conservation land for future generations,” said Brian Armstrong, Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “This is a huge opportunity to protect 11 miles of Horse Creek, which is a major tributary of the Peace River.”