DeSantis signs Florida Wildlife Corridor Act at Disney Wilderness Preserve

Department of Environmental Protection Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton joins governor

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks on June 14, 2021, at The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside. (WPLG)

POINCIANA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act into law in Poinciana.

The governor signed SB 976 at the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve at 2700 Scrub Jay Trail.

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The legislation directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to encourage and promote investments in areas that protect and enhance the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

The Florida Leads budget dedicates $300 million to protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor; the money is in addition to the $100 million allocated to the Florida Forever program.

“Today, we celebrate another milestone of this year’s legislative session, which was a resounding success for Florida’s environment,” DeSantis said. “I thank the legislature for their support of this landmark legislation that will conserve critical natural ecosystems and working landscapes for the protection of Florida’s unique and diverse wildlife while preserving Florida’s green spaces for generations to come.”

The funding can be used for the acquisition of Florida Wildlife Corridor lands, in fee simple or conservation easements. The legislation designates the Florida Wildlife Corridor as an existing physical, geographically defined area comprised of over 18 million acres, of which almost 10 million acres are conservation lands, that was developed through a coordinated effort of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition.

“Thanks to the governor’s bold vision and the continued support of the legislature, Florida’s environmental priorities have remained strong, including land acquisition for protection of our natural resources and wildlife,” said Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “This bill will further Florida’s conservation efforts by building upon a network of public and private lands to provide critical habitat for wildlife across the state.”

“The signing of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act by Governor DeSantis marks a big win for land conservation in Florida and sparks both excitement and inspiration for Florida’s conservation future,” said Conservation Florida CEO Traci Deen. “Conservation Florida is thrilled to celebrate the signing of the Act into law and is grateful for the governor’s leadership on this historic day.”

“From the study of the Little Wekiva River to the creation of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, we are taking important steps toward the preservation and protection of vulnerable lands and waters – particularly those needed to allow for the migration and genetic exchange of Florida’s apex predators, especially black bears and panthers,” Sen. Jason Brodeur said.

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Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.