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Water-Related News

$4 million purchase will help protect Myakka River State Park

EAST MANATEE – A large land transaction in East Manatee often means more rooftops are coming.

Not in this case.

The U.S. government recently paid nearly $4 million for a conservation easement for 1,481.6 acres at Blackbeard's Ranch, located off Coker Gully Road. The easement allows the federal government to restore the property to protect area waterways and provide a buffer to Myakka River State Park. Waters from the wetlands at Blackbeard's Ranch feed into Deer Prairie Slough, which in turn feed into the Myakka River and Charlotte Harbor. In addition to restoring the habitat at Blackbeard's Ranch, the easement ensures the area never becomes more residential development.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation contributed $4.28 million in its agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service to fund acquisition and future restoration, said Rob Blumenthal of the NFWF.

"The wetland reserve easement on Blackbeard’s Ranch provided the opportunity to conserve significant acreage of wetlands that were a high priority for several partners, including USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission," Blumenthal said.

The easement does not cover all of Blackbeard's Ranch.