Endangered Florida Habitat Getting a Walmart
Dwindling rockland is home to many rare species
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 13, 2014 1:25 PM CDT
A Walmart is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) – A South Florida forest that's home to a trove of endangered and almost-endangered plant and animal species, including the bald eagle, indigo snake, and Florida bonneted bat, is about to be invaded by a far less rare creature: Walmart. The University of Miami this month sold 88 acres of endangered pine rockland to a developer who plans to erect a Chik-fil-A, a Chili's, an LA Fitness, 900 apartments, and yes, a Walmart, the Miami Herald reports. "You wonder how things end up being endangered? This is how," says one environmentalist who's demanding an investigation.

The developer has agreed to set aside 40 acres for a preserve. "I agree more could have been preserved," said one biologist. "But what they preserved complied with the code." The university, which has owned the land for decades, had previously planned to build an academic village there, and while those plans fell through, they led to conservation teams combing the land to rescue rare plants—and finding far more than they expected. "There was so much material there that we had to kind of prioritize. It was acres and acres," one recalls. Part of the reason is that only 2% of the rocklands that once dominated South Florida's spiny ridge remain unspoiled. Federal officials are watching the project, but say they can only step in if federal money or property is involved, and county officials say various ordinances tie their hands as well.

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Tengu ?? Slayer of Vanity
Oct 6, 2014 1:25 AM CDT
Walmart nurseries are known to untintentionally introduce invasive species into sensitive habitats. The huge plague of Puerto Rican coqui frogs in Hawaii is all because of them.
iq145
Sep 21, 2014 7:31 PM CDT
Why does Walmart (and these other bloated businesses) get the green light to destroy precious land so they can increase THEIR profits? Do they just not have enough money? http://www.walmartcruelty.com/
Ezekiel 25:17
Jul 17, 2014 12:06 AM CDT
The University of Oklahoma was once located between two important military stations. It was a naval air station and an Air Force training base. Much of the historic buildings are gone as OU demolishes all signs of their existence. But worst was taking something given them in trust and demolishing it so that Target could build a monstrous, ugly box of American hypocrisy. In doing so they wiped out the important reminders of the sacrifices made. All future generations lost the ability to visit living history. O.U. killed an important historical monument that can never be replaced and the money they got for selling the land to Target only allowed them to operate the campus for 1 month at most. That month came and gone and now there's nothing to show for it except an ugly idol of brick and mortar that causes traffic and adds to the devaluation of the greater society.