About The Florida Wildlife Corridor
About the Organization
The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a conservation advocacy organization focused on connecting, protecting and restoring corridors of conserved lands and waters essential for the survival of Florida’s diverse wildlife. The organization showcases the need to protect the missing links in the Corridor, preserve Florida’s waters, and sustain working lands and rural economies from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama. A dedicated statewide Corridor will benefit wildlife, watersheds and people for generations to come.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor aims to protect and restore connected landscapes throughout the Florida Peninsula and Panhandle to create a viable corridor from the Everglades to Georgia and west to Alabama. The corridor addresses the fragmentation of natural landscapes and watersheds from the Everglades ecosystem north. Contributing to the fragmentation problem is the disconnect between the perceptions of Floridians, and the real need to keep natural systems connected. The Florida Wildlife Corridor is positioned to mend the perception gap through an education and awareness campaign that demonstrates the connection between the landscapes and watersheds. If we show Floridians the panthers, bears, native cultures, ranchlands and rivers—and how they are all connected—then they can help us make the Florida Wildlife Corridor a reality.
The centerpiece of this strategy is the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. The first expedition launched January 17, 2012, and traversed the Everglades ecosystem into Big Cypress, over to the Everglades Agricultural Area, back to the Okaloacoochee Slough, across the Caloosahatchee, over to Babcock Ranch, back along Fisheating Creek toward Lake Okeechobee, up the Kissimmee River with excursions toward the Lake Wales Ridge, up the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, east around Orlando into Ocala National Forest, and north along the O2O corridor (Ocala to Osceola) to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The trek covered over 1,000 miles in 100 days.
The vision for the second Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is to connect natural lands and waters throughout the northwest region of Florida, from the Green Swamp to the panhandle. Despite extensive fragmentation of the landscape in recent decades, a statewide network of connected natural areas is still possible (see the Maps Tab).
- The Florida Wildlife Corridor encompasses 15.8 million acres – 9.5 million acres that are already protected and 6.3 million acres of remaining opportunity area that do not have conservation status. The exact proportion of the opportunity area that needs to be protected for functional connectivity within the Corridor has not yet been determined.
- Protected areas include 4.7 million acres of federal land, 4.5 million acres of state land, 162,776 acres of county and city land and 204,232 acres of private land with permanent conservation status.
- There are 1.46 million acres within the Corridor opportunity area that are high priority for conservation through the State of Florida’s Florida Forever program and approximately 600,000 acres that are priorities for conservation through US Fish & Wildlife Services Greater Everglades Program (including the new 150,000 acre Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area project).
- The Corridor provides habitat for 42 federally listed endangered species, 24 threatened species and 15 candidate species. At the state level, there are an additional 176 species listed as endanged, 56 as threatened and 29 as species of special concern.
- Examples of threatened and endangered species include Crested Caracara, Everglades Snail Kite, Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Whooping Crane, Wood Stork, Florida Panther, West Indian Manatee, Green Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Gulf Sturgeon, Okaloosa Darter, Sand Skink, Eastern Indigo Snake, Frosted Flatwoods Salamander, Highland’s Tiger Beetle, Choctawatchee Beach Mouse, Piping Plover, Etonia Rosemary and Okeechobee Gourd.
- There are 992 named rivers and streams crossing the Corridor that include 1150 miles of designated paddling trails. There are also 920 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail within the Corridor.