The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that more than 2,700 acres of pine rockland in South Miami-Dade will be designated as a “critical habitat” for two endangered plants.
These two plants — Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax — can only be found in south Miami-Dade County.
“The critical habitat designation for the two plants is really important because it lets everybody know that this last remaining pine rocklands habitat is essential for the continued survival of these two plant species,” says Jaclyn Lopez, the Florida Director for the Center of Biodiversity.
Two developments have been previously proposed on parts of this land: a Walmart shopping center and a theme park.
Due to the different types of land the two projects are slated to use, the critical habitat designation will affect each one differently.
“Plants receive lesser protection than other types of species,” says Lopez. “For plants to have the same type of protection they have to occur on federal land.”
Since the Walmart is proposed to be built on private land, the designation may not have much of an impact on it.
The theme park project, however, will likely face additional difficulties with proceeding because part of its proposed site currently belongs to the U.S. Coast Guard.