The Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor is 1.6 million acres connecting the national forests.
The nonprofit North Florida Land Trust announced April 16 it will receive $9.4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service for its Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor conservation initiative.
The Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor is 1.6 million acres of public and private land, 100 miles long, connecting the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. The corridor provides habitat for threatened and endangered species.
Land Trust President Jim McCarthy said in a news release the funding is a “clear recognition of the efforts of the partnership to protect an incredibly important and nationally recognized wildlife corridor.”
The money will support a partner-driven approach to conservation efforts through 2025 and help to achieve a 140,000-acre protection goal within the corridor by 2040, he said.
Contributing partners include the Army National Guard, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Putnam Land Conservancy.
The award is the second provided from the NRCS Partnership to support the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor conservation initiative totaling more than $11 million. Partner programs have spent or committed an additional $33 million to the efforts.