ST LUCIE CO, Fla. - There's a fight going on to preserve wildlife around Lake Okeechobee.
The water that travels down from central Florida ends up in Lake Okeechobee, then travels to the St. Lucie River and into the Everglades. If that water is polluted, it could affect everything from agriculture to tourism.
The federal government thinks their conservation proposal will help everyone, but a lot of people aren't so sure.
Rich Modes is one of the people concerned. He fears that if he sells or gives the government access to his land, he'll never get back on it.
"They come on and they say things, they're going to make all these pretty promises," says Modes. "They're going to fix things for us and make it better, but in the long run they turn around and close the doors and lock us out in the name of conservation."
That's not the case according to the proposal laid out for more than 500 people. The government would carve a wildlife refuge out of 150,000 acres of ranch land, north of Lake Okeechobee.
The federal government would spend $700 million to buy 50,000 acres, and secure easements on another 100,000 acres that would remain privately owned.
The land would remain as it is now, an area popular for hunting, fishing and boating.
Some believe if the government doesn't step in to conserve the land, someone else will have their eye on it.
As for now, there won't be any funding for the refuge for two or three years, but there will be more meetings coming up.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Latest Local News Stories
Get the latest news from your neighborhood on our Indian River County homepage.