Fla. Agrees to Acquire 20K Acres of Everglades Wetlands
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reached an agreement with Kanter Real Estate LLC to purchase 20,000 acres of critical wetlands in Water Conservation Area 3 (WCA 3) – an area on the western side of Broward County in the Everglades Protection Area. It’s Florida’s largest wetland acquisition in a decade.
“One of my administration’s top environmental priorities has been expediting Everglades restoration,” said Governor DeSantis. “Today we take another step in the right direction by reaching this agreement,” DeSantis said when making the announcement. “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.”
After this latest WCA3 acquisition closes, it will have nearly 600,000 acres of wetlands permanently protected in public ownership for restoration and recreation.
“Having these wetlands in public ownership supports expedited restoration work on the EAA Reservoir and other critical Everglades projects, provides recreational opportunities for residents and visitors and protects the wildlife habitat of more 60 endangered and threatened species,” adds DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein
The leaders of Florida environmental groups agreed with the purchase.
“Florida is making a hefty investment in the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world to ensure that clean water is available to rehydrate America’s Everglades,” says Audubon Florida Executive Director Julie Wraithmell. “Drilling for oil in the Water Conservation Area is incompatible with our commitment to restore this fragile ecosystem. This land is part of our water supply.”
We’re “thrilled that the Kanter property can now be acquired for restoration, and will be protected from oil and gas exploration,” says National Parks Conservation Association Senior Everglades Program Manager Cara Capp. “Floridians know that oil drilling and exploration in the Greater Everglades is dangerous and must be stopped – it threatens our water supply and fragile ecosystems, especially in the face of climate change impacts.”
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