The Florida Cabinet will consider Florida Wildlife Corridor land conservation deals on Wednesday

Florida Wildlife Corridor
Properties in nine Florida counties will be added to the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Photo by Carlton Ward Jr / Used by WMNF with permission

©2024 The News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet on Wednesday will consider proposals to spend more than $40 million to limit development on four ranches.

The proposals would purchase more than 12,100 acres of conservation easements in DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties.

Conservation easements allow property owners to continue using land for agriculture but place restrictions on future residential and commercial development.

The largest deal involves spending $16.587 million to conserve 5,700 acres in DeSoto County, with the property owned by Deer Creek Ranch, LLC and Deer Creek Family Ranch, LLC.

The property is about 10 miles southeast of Arcadia.

Also, the state would spend $9.849 million for a conservation easement on 2,650 acres owned by Quail Creek Farms, Inc. in Hardee County.

Another $7.938 million is proposed for 1,977 acres owned by Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, LLC in Highlands County.

Located about seven miles southwest of Sebring, the Highlands County land is expected to complete part of a statewide wildlife corridor from Avon Park to Lake Okeechobee.

The fourth proposed deal involves spending $6.475 million for an easement on 1,801 acres owned by Clemons Oak Creek, LLC in Okeechobee County.

All four parcels have ties to the evolving wildlife corridor.

Money for the deals in DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties would come from the Florida Forever preservation program.

The Okeechobee County deal would be covered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.

The state anticipates $2.8 million of the Okeechobee County purchase would be covered by the federal government for providing a buffer for the Avon Park Air Force Range.

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