I am a developer and an environmentalist, and I own property in and around Orlando. It is one of the most dynamic and interesting cities in the United States, and natural resources are part of the mix. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute study published in 2013 determined that wildlife viewing (excluding hunting) had a nearly $5 billion impact on Florida’s economy. Orlando needs to retain and enhance its share of this ever-expanding ecotourism industry.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto has authored H.R. 3961 to begin the process of designating the Kissimmee River as a Wild and Scenic River. The Kissimmee used to meander its way down to Lake Okeechobee. In the dry season, flows naturally slowed; in the wet season, the river often turned into one large flood plain.

For the full op-ed visit the Orlando Sentinel here.