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The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team has trekked through scrub, swamp and forest from one end of the state to the other. They have documented their journeys in film, books and photography exhibitions with a goal demonstrating the urgent need for an unbroken spine of wilderness running the length of Florida to give wildlife a chance for survival.The third expedition kicked off April 15 and once again, WUSF News reporters are along for the adventure. This time around the explorers want to highlight an area of wilderness in Central Florida that is threatened on all sides by urban development and transportation infrastructure including Interstate 4.WUSF Public Media is a sponsor of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Follow along on with our reporters on our website and social media accounts on Facebook and on Twitter, using the hashtag #Heartland2Headwaters.

Gov. DeSantis Eyes Conservation Land Purchase In Sarasota

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks to purchase 5,700 acres in Sarasota County on the north side of Interstate 75 in North Port. GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

More than 5,700 acres in Sarasota County and 17 acres in Columbia County will be up for purchase by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday.

The property would be acquired through the Florida Forever conservation program.

Cabinet aides on Wednesday, in advance of next week’s Cabinet meeting, reviewed the proposed $21 million purchase in Sarasota County from Orange Hammock Ranch, LLC.

“This protection ensures that sufficient quantities of water are available to meet the current and future needs of natural systems and the citizens of the state,” a staff review of the proposal said.

The state’s cost could be offset by $1.5 million from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

The property, on the north side of Interstate 75 in North Port, is part of a 40,873-acre Myakka Ranchlands Florida Forever project, of which 15,288 acres have been acquired or are under agreement to be acquired.

The 17 acres in southern Columbia County, with a purchase price of $740,000, is along the north bank of the Santa Fe River. The land is where the first magnitude natural spring Columbia Spring emerges and flows into the river.

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