Could dissolving Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District hurt Everglades & Kissimmee River restoration?

Governor Ron DeSantis has fashioned himself a champion of Everglades restoration and on some scores he’s done far better than his predecessor (not that that was particularly hard given but…he’s done well on some stuff). For example, without DeSantis tireless advocacy, I doubt the vital Tamiami Trial project would be so far along or as extensive as it is. However, it is very possible DeSantis’ efforts to sunset Disney’s Reddy Creek Improvement District (RCID) will have (presumably unintended) huge consequences for the fragile Everglades ecosystem and the ongoing restoration efforts of the Kissimmee River.

Disney has donated to land maintained by the Nature Conservancy for Disney Wilderness Preserve which not only provides a pristine environment, but plays a vital role in the areas that represent the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem.  It contains 3,500 acres of restored wetlands that act as nature’s “sponges,” capturing rain, filtering out nutrients and replenishing our groundwater.

The Walt Disney Company provided funds for restoration and wildlife monitoring on the preserve and continues to partner on a number of on-site projects today.

1999 inauguration of the Kissimmee River restoration

Well there is more and it comes from RCID directly. As someone who has taken such an active interest in the Kissimmee River, I attended the inauguration the restoration efforts early on a Saturday morning in 1999 (program above), I appreciate Disney’s long-standing efforts to protect the Kissimmee River watershed area, much of which is on the company’s property, managed by Reedy Creek Improvement District.

I could proselytize endlessly about all of this as protecting that ecosystem is one of my life’s passions, but instead let’s let the folks at Audubon Florida who know more about the actual science than me take it from here, in a piece written in 2014.

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