Sarasota County protects 25 acres of environmentally sensitive land on the Wild and Scenic Myakka River
On Dec. 21, 2022, Sarasota County acquired 25 acres along the Wild and Scenic Myakka River, near S. River Road and S. Tamiami Trail, and adjacent the Myakka State Forest. The county purchased this land through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP), which was designed to acquire and protect environmental land.
“This strategic purchase helps protect the riverine habitat along the property’s shoreline as well as the natural resources in our region, especially those within the Wild and Scenic Myakka River watershed,” said Nicole Rissler, director of Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “The property connects to other greenspaces and serves as a significant wildlife corridor, and now will be protected and preserved in perpetuity.”
The 25 acres consists of tidal salt marsh, tidal strand, mangrove swamp, mesic and hydric flatwoods, and hydric hammock habitats. Some wildlife species that call the property home include West Indian manatee, river otter, gopher tortoise, American alligator, and several wading bird species such as the green heron, little blue heron and reddish egret. Plant species present are giant air plant, cardinal air plant, shoestring and resurrection ferns, elephant's foot, Savanna blazing star, black needle rush, and red, black and white mangrove. This property is also located within one mile of the State Designated Critical Wildlife Area 17-12, established to protect nesting birds such as Anhinga, heron species and wood stork.
About the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program
The ESLPP is a voter-approved and taxpayer-funded program that began in 1999. Since its inception, the ESLPP has protected and preserved more than 40,250 acres of natural habitat, with more than 21,000 of those acres placed under a conservation easement. Conservation easements remove the land’s development rights and require the landowner, current and future, to protect the land for greenways, water quality, habitat, and wildlife protection in perpetuity.
The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee (ESLOC) advises the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners on land nominations, acquisition, management, prioritization, and use of environmentally sensitive lands throughout the county.
Learn more about the ESLPP by visiting scgov.net or call 3-1-1.