Audubon applauds the announcement by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that $100 million will be utilized to fund land conservation in Florida through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).
The goal is to compensate ranchers and other landowners who leave portions of their land in natural conditions without disturbing wildlife to continue agricultural use of the land while providing environmental benefits. Landowners who wish to participate are still in the midst of the application process, but the focus is on approximately 24,000 acres in the Northern Everglades. This will complement the WRP allocation of $89 million last year for conservation in the Fisheating Creek watershed.
Along with our supporters, Audubon is advocating for the funding dispersed water management, the proposed conservation easements pursued by the Department of the Interior in the Everglades Headwaters Conservation Area, and efforts to expand and conserve land near the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. This comprehensive approach to utilizing wildlife corridors and cost-effectively providing water management and water quality improvements can show demonstrable near-term benefits for Florida’s one-of-a-kind environment.
Check out this video explaining the deal produced by the USDA: