Soto Introduces Bill to Designate Restored Parts of the Kissimmee River as a Component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System

July 9, 2021
Press Release
The Army Corps of Engineers are expected to finish efforts to return the river to its original flow later this month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL-09) introduced the Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Act to direct the Secretary of Interior to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and designate segments of the Kissimmee River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. After efforts in the 1940s to control the river’s flow led to issues that destroyed habitats, Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the river back to its original path in the 1990s. The project is expected to be finished later this month and has already contributed to the return of many wildlife species.

“It is critical for us to preserve the historic Kissimmee River as it is home to many of Florida’s endangered species and the heart of the state’s water drainage route,” said Congressman Soto. “As we continue working to Build Back Better, we must ensure that this natural treasure is able to sustain the growth of future generations. I look forward to seeing the completion of the Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts and appreciate their work over the years to protect Floridians’ way of life.”

The bill is also co-sponsored by Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) who has led similar efforts to designate segments of the Little Manatee River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System with his bill, H.R. 4358.

“Keeping our rivers and waterways in pristine condition is good for our environment and our economy,” said Congressman Buchanan. “Designating both the Kissimmee and Little Manatee Rivers as ‘scenic’ will ensure they are well-preserved for people to enjoy for years to come.”

In 1968, Congress created the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System to “preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” If passed, the Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Act will ensure that restored segments of the river are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

For the full text of the bill, please click here.