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Environment

$80 Million Set Aside for Preserving Land Flowing into the Everglades

A horizon shot of the Everglades.
Wikimedia Commons

The federal government today announced a major expansion of a project to protect the headwaters of the Everglades. It relies on landowners voluntarily protecting their land.

The announcement today sets aside $80 million for farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands around the Kissimmee River basin in Central Florida. It should protect about 23,000 acres of wetlands that feed into the "River of Grass."

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding at The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve, near Orlando.

"It basically allows us to do a better job of conserving the Everglades, avoiding development, allowing the Everglades to do what it naturally does - which is to filter and clean water,"  he says, "making sure that the quantity of the water is appropriate, that we aren't faced with getting too much or too little at the appropriate times."

The use of conservation easements is being used more frequently by cash-strapped governments as a way to protect sensitive lands without having to purchase the land outright.