OSPREY, FL (March 20, 2018) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast celebrates a significant community victory with the permanent protection of 32.93 acres on the Braden River, saving this land from immediate development. Conservation Foundation brought more than $1,029,000 in donations to help defray the cost and in a majority decision, the Manatee County Board of Commissioners voted to fund the balance from an Interfund Loan, choosing not to create a special tax assessment unit.
“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support and thank all for their investment in nature. Keep Woods, Inc. did an amazing job of grassroots advocacy. Their hard work activating the neighbors who cared to save this special piece of ‘Old Florida’ is a beacon to others,” notes Christine Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “We also thank the Manatee Board of County Commissioners for considering a different approach to land conservation. It’s not often a community has the chance to save land from development.”
The Foundation has an option to purchase the land from developer Pat Neal with a deadline of March 31. Conservation Foundation worked for months with the grassroots group Keep Woods, Inc. to tell the story of the environmental importance of this land along the Braden River. The closing will occur in late May.
Located on the Braden River east of I-75, the 32.93-acre oasis of nature is home to an amazing diversity of plants and animals not normally seen in similar suburban areas, with mature live oaks, tall longleaf pines, important wetlands that store water and prevent flooding, and imperiled swallowtail kites and gopher tortoise. The land’s riverfront and floodplain forests are part of a corridor linking natural habitat along the Braden River, which supplies drinking water for the City of Bradenton.
Conservation Foundation will donate the adjoining 11.6 acres, making a preserve totaling 44.53 acres. Conservation Foundation will hold and enforce a perpetual conservation easement (permanent deed restrictions) that will ensure that all the land remains a low-impact preserve forever, open to the public for walking, hiking or birdwatching.
About Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast saves land, forever, protecting those special natural lands that make this region extraordinary. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation protects 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 conservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.