MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his administration and the South Florida Water Management District have reached an agreement to purchase 20,000 acres of land in the Everglades.

The land near Weston had been targeted for oil drilling.

The purchase will also save endangered animals and their habitats.

“One of my administration’s top environmental priorities has been expediting Everglades restoration,” said Governor DeSantis. “Today we take another step in the right direction by reaching this agreement between DEP and Kanter Real Estate that will allow for the purchase of 20,000 acres of critical wetlands. This significant purchase will permanently save these lands from oil drilling. I’m proud of our progress but also recognize this is just the beginning. I will continue to fight every day for the Everglades and Florida’s environment.”

The property is in the heart of the Everglades in Water Conservation Area 3, which is part of the Everglades Protection Area – one of the most important wetland systems in the Everglades ecosystem.

The deal worth $16.5 million dollars would be the largest land purchase in a decade.

Also, at Wednesday’s event, the governor announced a water quality bill presented by the state’s blue-green algae task force is pending before the legislature.