OSPREY, FL (Oct. 26, 2021) The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase 228 acres in Old Miakka, acreage that was recently acquired by Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in-order-to act quickly in this hot real estate market. This land is a critical link between Sarasota County’s Old Miakka Preserve and Conservation Foundation’s Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve, further connecting to over 120,000 acres of conserved land protecting the Myakka River.
Sarasota County voted to purchase the property from Conservation Foundation with funds from the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP), a voter-approved and taxpayer-funded program designed to acquire and protect natural lands and parklands. The additional 228 acres will more than double the size of the existing Old Miakka Preserve, which is open to the public daily for hiking, picnicking, birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
According to Sarasota County Commission Chairman Alan Maio, this decision further demonstrates the county’s ongoing commitment to environmental protection.
“These efforts are very important to the community, which makes it a priority for our board. We value the partnership we share with the Conservation Foundation and their efforts to preserve these lands for future generations,” Maio added.
The property’s former owner, MAG Properties, Inc., received multiple offers and Conservation Foundation recognized that if this key land was to be saved, time was of the essence. Conservation Foundation worked quickly to purchase the property to ensure its permanent protection. The purchase was completed using Conservation Foundation’s dedicated land fund and $3.9 million in short-term loans.
“The process of land conservation has become increasingly complex in recent years, requiring significantly more resources and the ability to act swiftly and without hesitation,” notes Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “We took a risk in purchasing the land using short-term loans without having a conservation buyer lined up and are thrilled that Sarasota County has now voted to purchase the land as an addition to their Old Miakka Preserve.”
The benefits of protecting this strategically located land extend well beyond its boundaries. It impacts our region’s water quality, water quantity, and timing of water flows and levels. Wetlands located within the property store and filter water that flows into both the Tatum Sawgrass Marsh and the Myakka River. The property also provides rich and diverse habitat for a variety of iconic Florida wildlife.
The County purchase is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
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.