Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Conservation Goals Advance

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Conservation Goals Advance

Article excerpt

Natural resources are conserved

Preparation enhances opportunities to publicly acquire environmental lands

through cost-effective strategies on a large scale -- when conservationists embrace the scout motto to be prepared.

That is always the case, as history has shown in our region and statewide, but most notably when there is intense competition over funds necessary for preserving environmentally valuable lands in perpetuity.

So, to that end, it was encouraging to recently read in the Herald-Tribune that -- thanks to diligent work by conservationists and environmentalists -- three individual tracts and one package of properties have made headway in Florida's demanding acquisition process.

The outright purchase of, or the acquisition of conservation easements on, these properties would add substantial value to our region and the state.

Preservation of these lands would protect not only natural assets, but taxpayers' investments in waters that feed public utilities and provide economically valuable recreation.

Protection would also complement and leverage lasting efforts to preserve the values of the "Myakka island," a large block of protected lands stretching from Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties southward into Charlotte County.

The properties in question are:

- The Triangle Ranch, a 1,067-acre tract in Manatee County. The ranch, adjacent to the northern border of Myakka River State Park, has three miles of river frontage.

- Sheps Island Ranch, a 717-acre parcel west of the park. The ranch is near portions of Upper Myakka Lake and the river.

- Orange Hammock Ranch, a square, 5,774-acre parcel south of the Longino Conservation Easement and Mitigation Bank in Sarasota County. Formerly known as McCall Ranch, this property is adjacent to DeSoto County and the R.V. Griffin Reserve. The 6,000-acre reserve is the site of the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority's massive drinking-water reservoir.

- The Myakka Peace Watershed Connector, a 5,523-acre collection of properties that include the Candy Bar Ranch. This swath of land is in Sarasota and DeSoto counties -- east of the Myakka park and other conserved properties. …

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