WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor DeSantis and Florida Cabinet Investing Over $17.7 Million to Conserve 3,500 Acres in Florida 

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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor DeSantis and Florida Cabinet Investing Over $17.7 Million to Conserve 3,500 Acres in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet invested more than $17.7 million to acquire five properties across the state that will be designated for conservation.  

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

"The Nature Conservancy celebrates a productive and impactful start to 2023 with the significant land acquisitions approved today by the Florida Cabinet to help preserve the beautiful Sunshine State. Thanks to the Cabinet’s support of Florida Forever, the protection of these lands will conserve essential landscape-scale habitat, provide wildlife corridors for rare and imperiled species, and increase linkages and corridors between public land and private conservation easements in the region. We thank Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Simpson, Attorney General Moody, Chief Financial Officer Patronis and Secretary Hamilton for today’s critical Florida Forever acquisitions."  Greg Knecht, Interim Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

"Audubon is excited to celebrate the Governor and Cabinet’s approval today of new additions under the state’s iconic land preservation program, Florida Forever. We’re especially pleased that two of these acquisitions are the final parcels needed to complete their projects, Tiger Island and Triple Diamond. Florida Forever’s process is protecting Florida’s most special places at fair prices and with the transparency and accountability Floridians deserve. Our environment is key to the prosperity and quality of life of all Floridians." – Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida.

"We thank the Governor, the Cabinet and the Department of Environmental Protection for continuing to support critical land acquisitions to protect our natural and agricultural landscapes. The conservation of land to create a conserved wildlife corridor spanning our state is not only necessary for wildlife such as the Florida panther, black bear and gopher tortoise, but also for protecting our water, economy and way of life. With today’s approval of our Role Tran and Gissy Rainbow River Ranch projects, both properties are on their way to being protected for generations to come and we move the needle forward on the protection of a functional Florida Wildlife Corridor." – Traci Deen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Conservation Florida

"The Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation recognizes the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and the Board of Trustees in connecting and protecting our state’s wild spaces. By connecting Florida’s Wildlife Corridor, we are collectively safeguarding habitats for dozens of species at risk and providing irreplaceable recreation, conservation and cultural value. Today’s public commitment of more than $17.7 million will help preserve these vital landscapes for future generations." – Mallory Dimmitt, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.

"From the Rainbow River to the headwaters of the Everglades, the new protections approved today by Governor DeSantis and the Cabinet will protect vital linkages in the Florida Wildlife Corridor, bringing us a few steps closer to a connected network of land and water to benefit all Floridians." – Carlton Ward Jr., Founder, Wildpath and the Path of the Panther project.

"We are grateful for today’s acquisitions and approvals by Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet. In particular, the state's purchase of lands within the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Florida Forever project will conserve rare coastal property and increase the preservation of coastal habitats that are directly connected to juvenile sport fisheries. In addition, we strongly support the approval of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan, which provides critical direction to restore altered hydrology and habitats in Southwest Florida and will result in long-term benefits for our fisheries." – Kellie Ralston, Vice President for Conservation and Public Policy, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. 

"Protecting Florida’s natural landscape is urgent and critical work. We are grateful to the Governor and Cabinet for approving these vital projects and are proud to have been part of one of them. We look forward to working together on future conservation initiatives benefiting both the people and nature of our beautiful state." – Christine P. Johnson, President, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

"The Rainbow River Corridor conservation easement is a unique and precious opportunity to protect both one of the most pristine major spring runs in Florida as well as a statewide wildlife corridor. The Rainbow River is an irreplaceable ecological and recreational resource that deserves full protection of the land still in conservation compatible land uses along its shores and in the watershed. The Rainbow River wildlife corridor is also is essential for protecting a threatened portion of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, connecting conservation lands along the Withlacoochee River to the southeast to Goethe State Forest to the west."  Julie Morris, Programs Manager, National Wildlife Refuge Association.

"We at 1000 Friends of Florida are pleased to learn that the Governor and Cabinet have approved to protect most of the remaining undeveloped private land – the 135-acre Gissy Rainbow River Ranch – along the Rainbow River in southwest Marion County. In addition to being one of the largest spring runs in the world, Rainbow River is a designated National Natural Landmark and Outstanding Florida Waterway. This action will make an important contribution to protecting both water quality and wildlife in this corridor." – Vivian Young, Communications Director, 1000 Friends of Florida.