Leon County Leaders Vote to Protect Wildlife and Motorists

Leon County commissioners make a unanimous decision that could make travel safer for area motorists and save the lives of thousands of animals.

Matt Aresco with the Lake Jackson Eco-Passage Alliance has been keeping a close eye on this old culvert located underneath Highway 27. He's hoping the county receives the 4.3 million in federal grant dollars needed for four brand new concrete culverts.

Matthew says, "It will facilitate the movement and safe passage of animals under the roadway so they can migrate back and forth without being killed."

Monday, Leon County commissioners unanimously approved a project development and environmental study for the Lake Jackson eco-passage system.

Cliff Thaell, Leon County Commissioner, says, "There are very few projects like this in the country. We've received national attention for developing this project."

The $4.3 million will be used for the design and construction of the new culverts

Manley Fuller of the Florida Wildlife Federation says, "There may be some flow benefits with better connecting, I'm not sure about that, but certainly that area is extremely productive wildlife habitat. By running a major highway through the wetland it sets the stage for the problem we have, but this action will help tremendously."

Commissioners hope to hear by this fall whether they've received the funding. Aresco says if everything goes as planned, it could be 18 months to two years before construction could begin.