When local environmentalists first proposed developing wildlife crossings over or under Interstate 4 to restore lost natural connections along the Peace River and Ocklawaha River corridors through the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern, Bill Clinton was president.
Last summer the Florida Department of Transportation unveiled plans for one crossing under the 1960s-era highway at Hilochee Wildlife Management Area east of the County Road 557 interchange north of Lake Alfred, which is currently being reconstructed to accommodate more traffic. It would be an underpass that would be constructed in connection with plans to widen the highway.crossing
Now FDOT officials are proposing a second crossing—this one would be an overpass—connecting to Tenoroc Public Use Area on the outskirts of Lakeland.
The agency will hold a virtual public workshop beginning May 25.
For more information, go to www.swflroads.com/i4/wildlifecrossing .
The Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern is a hub for a series of statewide wildlife corridors that were historically used by wide-ranging species such as Florida panthers and black bears and local species to allow for all native species to maintain their genetic diversity.
The importance and the continued existence of these corridors and the need to protect them while they still exist was highlighted in recent years through the efforts of the Florida Wildlife Corridor expeditions.
It is important to implement these projects before it is too late.