November 10, 2017
Doral, FL – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board on Thursday approved a land exchange agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) near the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge that will allow the completion of Everglades water quality restoration.
"This land swap is the definition of a win-win for Floridians, outdoor enthusiasts, state and federal taxpayers and Everglades wildlife," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "Ensuring the Everglades water quality standards laid out as part of Gov. Rick Scott's Restoration Strategies Plan has taken one giant step forward with the decision to acquire these lands."
The proposed land swap approved by the Governing Board, which must still be approved by the U.S. Congress before it can be signed by SFWMD Executive Director Ernie Marks, would give SFWMD 1,327 acres of federally owned land west of the Loxahatchee Refuge known as the Snail Farm. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) would then take ownership over the SFWMD-owned 2,586 acres east of the Loxahatchee Refuge known as the Strazulla parcel.
The Snail Farm parcel is crucial to the expansion of Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West, which is part of Gov. Rick Scott's Restoration Strategies Plan to complete Everglades water quality restoration.