March 17, 2023 – Gainesville, Fla. – A fully-connected Florida Wildlife Corridor could roughly double the permanent protection of many water resources critical to the state’s ecology and economy, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by the University of Florida Water Institute.

The report, commissioned by Archbold Biological Station and the Live Wildly Foundation, found that protecting the remaining 46% of the Corridor would help conserve critical aquatic and coastal ecosystems. This includes freshwater wetlands, rivers, springs and estuaries, which serve as habitat to at-risk species like storks, heron and manatees, as well as fulfill crucial ecosystem functions.

“While the Florida Wildlife Corridor was not designed specifically as a water-protection plan, our findings show that, if fully connected, the Corridor will provide many water benefits,” said Wendy Graham, director of the UF Water Institute. “We were particularly impressed by the level of protection land conservation offered wetlands and rivers. This shows the potential to develop a healthy surface water ecosystem throughout our state, and thus protect wildlife habitat, store carbon and preserve Florida’s nature.”

Read the full press release