On a sunny day last week in West Palm Beach, Fla., Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced $100 million in financial assistance to boost wetlands restoration in the Northern Everglades watershed. With the announcement, USDA aims to purchase the development rights on as much as 24,000 acres of private land in four Florida counties, and restore the land in cooperation with the owners. The end result: less surface water leaving the land, slower water runoff, and reduced concentrations of nutrients entering the public water system. That’s better water quality, greater quantity, and improved economic opportunities for millions of Floridians. Secretary Vilsack spoke about how private landowners play a critical role in protecting wetlands and enhancing wildlife in this unique habitat. The partnership with farmers and ranchers will also empower community-led conservation efforts and use of science-based management practices to restore and protect lands and waters for future generations.
The funding supports the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting private lands through its America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Working with conservation partners and others, USDA helps communities find local solutions to natural resource issues such as protecting a large-scale ecosystem like the Northern Everglades.
To watch the ceremony, held at Winding Waters Natural Area, check out the video below!