OSPREY, FL (June 15, 2016) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast was awarded a three-year grant of $156,000 from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities for its Myakka Island Conservation Corridor project. This grant was one of just nine given nationally, through the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program, in a highly competitive process which began with 169 applicants.
In its inaugural year, the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program awarded more than $1.4 million to organizations and partnerships across seven states. Conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water, the Grant Program’s goal is to “accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.” The EPA co-funds this program with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.
Conservation Foundation aims to conserve more than 10,000 acres of the highest conservation value over the next six years within the Myakka River watershed, in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. This landscape-scale effort will protect environmentally significant lands that benefit both wildlife and people. The Myakka Island Conservation Corridor project includes the protection of such priority properties as Triangle Ranch and Murphy Marsh in Manatee County, and Orange Hammock Ranch in Sarasota County. Conservation of these properties will protect and improve water quality, provide flood protection, and provide the opportunity to restore important habitats including the Tatum Sawgrass Marsh, the least protected of four large wetlands associated with the Myakka River. Conservation of this corridor will link and buffer already protected lands including Myakka River State Park and Walton Ranch Preserve, which keep the river and its tributaries drinkable, fishable and swimmable. The land is also critical habitat for more than 120 species of birds including the imperiled Roseate Spoonbill, the threatened Crested Caracara and an array of animals from the threatened gopher tortoise to the endangered Florida panther.
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. Learn more at www.usendowment.org.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast saves land, forever, preserving those special natural lands that make our region extraordinary. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, they protect the character and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land preservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.