OSPREY, FL (December 8, 2022) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces the permanent protection of 69 acres at the headwaters of the Myakka River in Myakka City. The newly conserved land is adjacent to their existing 363-acre Myakka Headwaters Preserve – conserved in October 2020 – where seven streams converge to create the Myakka River. Conservation Foundation purchased the 69-acre addition using their dedicated Land Fund, along with grants from the Manatee Community Foundation and the Jelks Family Foundation. The purchase was completed on December 7.
The now 432-acre Myakka Headwaters Preserve is adjacent to the 2,300-acre Flatford Swamp Preserve, which contains the river’s largest forested wetland. The 69-acre addition cradles the Myakka River, sheltering it among 16 acres of floodplain marsh and 53 acres of upland forests. Among the forests are 30 acres of longleaf pine forest, a rare natural community and national conservation priority. Less than five percent of the original longleaf pine forests across the Southeastern United States remain.
Myakka Headwaters Preserve is also part of the growing Southwest Florida Wildlife Corridor, a land conservation initiative stretching from south Tampa Bay to the Everglades and connecting to the more well-known Florida Wildlife Corridor. To date, Conservation Foundation has protected over 19,200 acres across 55 properties, of which almost 18,000 acres are within the Southwest Florida Wildlife Corridor. These critical lands provide vital habitats for plants and animals, help capture pollution, act as natural buffers along coasts and riverbeds, and absorb rainfall from intense storms.
“Now that we own land on both sides of the Myakka River, we can ensure the full restoration and protection of the entire river floodplain in this area,” says Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “We are grateful to Alyssa Nohren, Esq. of Icard Merrill for her tireless effort to help us complete these two very complex land projects, pro bono, and to the Manatee Community Foundation and the Jelks Family Foundation for their support in ensuring the permanent protection of this land. We are also grateful to all those who contributed to our dedicated Land Fund making protections like this possible.”
Conservation Foundation’s Land Fund was established in 2017 to quicken the pace of land conservation. The organization’s Board of Trustees oversees the use of these funds to conserve priority land when other public and/or private funding is not available.
Myakka Headwaters Preserve is not open to the public, though those wishing to experience the landscape firsthand are invited to attend one of Conservation Foundation’s free Nature Interpretation programs. Learn more about upcoming program activities at conservationfoundation.com/events.
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 conservationfoundation.com.