The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it will grant Endangered Species Act protection to four rare Florida plants found nowhere else.
One of them, the Everglades bully, faces a more immediate threat: It grows on Everglades pine rocklands where the Coral Reef Commons development project is planned for construction. The Walmart-anchored development has been a target of environmentalists since it was first announced because the land is part of the last, largest intact tract of pine rockland outside Everglades National Park -- a sliver of forest that once covered about 185,000 acres between Florida City and Miami.
The listing of the plant won’t stop the development because, unlike with animals, there’s no law against harming or killing endangered plants on private property, the federal agency noted. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the developer to create something called a “habitat protection plan” that would “provide a mechanism that allows for development and minimize impacts to protected plant and animal species and the habitats they depend on.,” the agency news release said