The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Director Shelly Lakly, Ph.D., joined key U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state conservation leaders today in support of the new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area.
"Protecting and restoring the vast natural landscapes in the Northern Everglades is a timely opportunity we can’t afford to miss,” said Lakly. “The benefits are sweeping – permanent habitat conservation, economic benefits for cattle ranching, and wetland restoration that results in retained and cleansed water for people.” Lakly spoke at a USFWS press conference today to announce the new map where 50,000 acres for a refuge and 100,000 acres for conservation easements are targeted for protection.
The Nature Conservancy has designed and protected landscape-scale projects in the Kissimmee Valley for several decades, including The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve, and has identified numerous key habitats and threatened species thriving in the landscape.
“Filling the gaps between the preserve and the neighboring conservation areas in the Northern Everglades has been our specific focus,” Lakly said. “The USFWS’ broad vision to do the same and create this new conservation area is an outstanding opportunity toward accomplishing this goal.”
Species found on these lands include wide-ranging animals like the federally endangered Florida panther and others such as the crested caracara, Florida black bear, red-cockaded woodpecker and the whooping crane. See a slideshow of these and other species that inhabit the Northern Everglades.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.