NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodNaples


GOOD CONSERVATORS: Gov. DeSantis signs water, wildlife protection bills

Gov. DeSantis signs bill to help wildlife corridor and water protection
GOOD CONSERVATORS: Governor Desantis spends Tuesday in Collier County
Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 22:36:36-04

NAPLES, Fla. — From the Gulf of Mexico to the grasslands of the Everglades, Collier County is known for its landscapes, but with the population rapidly growing east, many people say they are concerned about the wildlife.

“The explosion of growth of the human population is causing now impacts that weren't there even decades ago and so it's more important than ever than we think about the design and construction of our roadways to be able to allow improved passage for wildlife," said Mallory Dimitt, CEO of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.

Since the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act was signed in 2021,18 million acres of state and national parks, forests, family farms, and privately managed conservation lands are protected, and it's still growing.

GOOD CONSERVATORS: Governor Desantis spends Tuesday in Collier County
GOOD CONSERVATORS: Governor Desantis spends Tuesday in Collier County

"We talk about the wildlife benefit, the ability for habitat to navigate, think about the ecological values," said Shawn Hamilton, Florida Department of Environmental Protection secretary. "That's where your drinking water comes from. That's also where your flood resiliency comes from."

Governor Ron DeSantis spent Tuesday in Collier County, signing a bill intended to help preserve the landscape even further.

"I think we're being good conservators, this great piece of real estate that God has given us, so we're going to continue to do that," said Governor DeSantis. "We had big, big progress this legislative session on that.”

The bill gives $22 million to red tide research and mitigation. For southwest Florida, red tide has been a huge issuing, including back in 2018 when a huge red tide event had devastating impacts on our tourism.

"There's a huge economic impact, a positive economic impact that we get because we're a place that people want to come to fish and to boat and to enjoy our parks and all the other things that we have to offer," said DeSantis.

The bill also provides $100 million each year towards the expansion of the Florida Wildlife Corridor from Seminole Gaming.

However, the governor says there is still work to be done as 45% of the corridor land has not been set aside for preservation quite yet.