The clock is ticking for the highly-endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow, but a new project recently green-lit by a federal agency may offer some hope for avoiding extinction. Scientists believe there are roughly 200 of the tiny birds remaining in the wild. Two years ago, scientists found the lowest count of the birds in history: last year's numbers dipped even lower.
Several ecologically-significant tracts of public land in Palm Beach County will go under the microscope this month as a state agency continues its multi-region assessment of state-owned lands throughout South Florida.
One of Florida's endemic species, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, is on the path to extinction. The bird lives only in the dry prairies south of Orlando and it's believed that less than 200 of the highly-specialized sparrows remain in the wild, though funding doesn't exist to adequately track the population. Part of the problem has been drumming up the public support -- and money -- necessary to study what has happened to the subspecies.
If Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $74.2 billion budget passes the Legislature intact, it would include $75 million for conservation land projects spearheaded by the Florida Forever Coalition. The 2013-2014 budget also includes $60 million for Everglades restoration and $6.5 million for restoring springs.