Creative Deal Saves Kissimmee Headwaters Area From Sprawl

There was some good holiday news for the environment.

The owners of ranchland near the intersection of State Road 60 and Yeehaw Junction have announced a public-private partnership that will turn 27,000 acres onto a place for research and wildlife preservation.

The significance is that more than a decade ago this site was proposed for a 40,000-home development called Destiny, the latest in a series of large developments proposed in some of the last rural areas in the Kissimmee River and St. Johns River headwaters in east central Florida.

The partnership involves the University of Florida, Ducks Unlimited and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida.

This property is north of the 54,000-acre Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and includes the dry prairie habitat that is home of the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow and other endemic Florida plant and animal species.

It is also an example of how creative alternatives that once were unimaginable can bring a result that is good for both the environment and long-time property owners.


Dear Santa DeSantis: Fill Vacant Swiftmud Board Seats For Christmas

The holiday season is a time of generosity.

It would really be generous for Gov. Ron DeSantis to finally decide to fill the long-vacant seats on the 13 member Southwest Florida Water Management Governing Board.

The board membership has remained at nine members for some time now.

The Polk County Regional Water Cooperative has suggested that former County Commissioner John Hall would be a suitable appointee.

There may be others under consideration, though it’s hard to tell. The governor’s press and appointments offices are pretty close-mouthed on any potential nominees the last time we checked.

Surely there are decent, qualified Republicans (typically governors appoint people from their political party) from Polk and the other underrepresented parts of the 16-county district who could serve.

There are many serious water issues facing Florida. Having a full board to consider solutions should be a no-brainer.

The delays are hard to understand.

The governor can do better.