OSPREY, FL (October 14, 2021) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces the permanent protection of 228-acres in Old Miakka, Sarasota County. This land is a critical link between Sarasota County’s Old Miakka Preserve and Conservation Foundation’s Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve, further linking to over 120,000 acres of conserved land protecting the Myakka River. The purchase was completed on October 14.
The land has rich and varied landscape including scrubby flatwoods, mesic hammock, blackwater stream, depression marsh, and rangeland, which provide habitat for wildlife including gopher tortoises, turkey, quail, and air plant adorned oaks. Scrub restoration using prescribed fire may support an even greater number of species including the federally-threatened Florida scrub jay, gopher frog, and eastern indigo snake.
The benefits of protecting this strategically-located land extend well beyond its boundaries and impact our region’s water quality, water quantity, and timing of water flows and levels. Approximately one half-mile of stream along with thirty acres of wetlands are located within the property, storing and filtering water that flows into the Tatum Sawgrass Marsh and the Myakka River.
Conservation Foundation purchased this property using their dedicated land fund and $3.9 million in short term loans provided by Sherry and Howard Davis, Rhonda and Dan Deems, Elizabeth Moore, and the Sea Grape Foundation. In addition to thanking these generous individuals whose support made the purchase possible, Conservation Foundation is also grateful to the seller, MAG Properties, Inc. This is the third property that MAG Properties has partnered with Conservation Foundation to save.
The Land Fund was established in 2017 to quicken the pace of land conservation. Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees oversee the use of the Land Fund to conserve priority land when other public and/or private funding is not available.
“We are incredibly fortunate that people in our community care so deeply about conservation,” says Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “Saving land is getting more difficult and expensive, requiring creativity and more resources. This project is a great example of what’s possible when you have dedicated supporters, a conservation-minded seller, and organizational assets in place.”
The property is not yet open to the public, though those wishing to visit have an exclusive opportunity later this year as it will be the site of Conservation Foundation’s annual fundraising event, Feast Upon the Fields, scheduled for December 5, 2021. To learn more about the event and secure your seat, visit conservationfoundation.com/feast.
About Conservation Foundation
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 places that make this region extraordinary. A nationally accredited land trust, Conservation Foundation purchases natural areas, holds voluntary land protection agreements, and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties. Learn more and join in their mission at www.conservationfoundation.com.