OSPREY, FL (October 21, 2020) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces the permanent protection of 363 acres at the headwaters of the Myakka River in Myakka City. Seven creeks converge into one river, the Myakka, at the newly named Myakka Headwaters Preserve. The clear-flowing water allows the creek bottoms to support submerged aquatic vegetation which are unable to grow in sunlight-blocked blackwaters found elsewhere on the Myakka. The preserve is next to the 2,300-acre Flatford Swamp which is the river’s largest forested wetland.
This an exceptional part of the Myakka River and the greater coastal Florida ecosystem, containing numerous diverse habitats. The Preserve’s floodplain forests contain tupelo and red maple, uncommon on the lower Myakka, and support threatened orchids and airplants, including the Myakka River airplant (tillandsia simulata). The marshland forms a seasonally dry meadow with sandy ridges supporting lowland loosestrife, a Florida-endangered flower found in twelve counties and no place else in the world.
The Preserve also contains more than a mile of uplands and oak hammocks buffering both sides of Flatford Swamp and the Myakka River. Here, longleaf pine flatwoods are home to gopher tortoise, a keystone species, and rare plants such as Florida Alicia. Oak hammocks are also present, hosting additional orchids, airplants, and ferns.
The Myakka River Land Fund of Manatee Community Foundation awarded $1.3 million for the permanent protection of the Myakka Headwaters Preserve. The established purpose of this fund is to purchase or restore environmentally significant lands within the Manatee County Myakka River Watershed.
“Safeguarding this rare property is essential to the health of everything downstream,” noted Christine Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. “We are grateful for the Myakka River Land Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation for protecting these rare lands for people and nature. Our quality of life depends on it.”
About Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation saves land forever, protecting those special natural lands that make this region extraordinary. 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, Lee, and Collier County. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.