Thursday, December 24, 2015

Florida drops plan to launch cattle grazing pilot program in state park

Florida's top environmental official, Jon Steverson, has been pushing all year to get the state parks to make more money by adding hunting, timber harvesting and cattle grazing. But now one of those appears to be off the list. Department of Environmental Protection officials wanted to run a pilot project with cattle grazing leases at Myakka River State Park near Sarasota to see how well it worked. The proposal generated intense local opposition. Now that pilot project is dead. "At this time, we do not intend to move forward with cattle grazing at Myakka River State Park," DEP spokeswoman Lauren Engel confirmed in an email to the Tampa Bay Times this week. DEP officials would not specify why they have ended the pilot project before it began, saying only that they had consulted with park staff, biologists, cattle ranchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture before concluding that "cattle grazing was not the best resource-management tool for Myakka." Engel did say it's possible that the DEP could try cattle grazing at a different park, but at this point, no other parks have been picked as a replacement...more

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