An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Manatee County to acquire Crooked River Ranch property

Manatee County logo

MANATEE COUNTY – The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved the purchase of 68 acres of property along the Manatee River for preservation and future recreation. Known as Crooked River Ranch—for the crooked nature of the Manatee along the property’s southern border—the property is located halfway between I-75 and Ft. Hamer Road in the growing community of Parrish. Manatee County staff has been working with the property owners and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast (CFGC) toward the acquisition of the site for months.

“It checks every box,” said Manatee County Commission Chair Kevin Van Ostenbridge. “There is a feeling that Parrish is ‘Old Florida,’ and we are trying to preserve pieces of that for those kids that are moving into that area.”

The purchase—at $11.2 million—grants the county rights to one of a last remaining sizeable privately owned parcels along the Manatee River. This property will provide for coastal resiliency, water quality protection/improvement and native habitat protection/improvement. This acquisition through the Environmental Lands Program is using approved tax proceeds for the acquisition, improvement and management of land to protect natural resources and provide parks.

“This is a huge win for our citizens, our county and the environment,” said District 1 Commissioner James Satcher. “This was an overwhelming decision by the voters in 2020 for this purpose.”

Conservation of the property benefits the county’s namesake, manatees, which graze on the shoreline’s vegetation. Other imperiled species likely to use the habitat are wading birds, such as roseate spoonbills and wood storks. Easy access from I-75 will allow this preserve to become a regional destination for visitors and residents of the rapidly growing northeast Manatee County.

“I am excited and grateful to honor the wishes of my parents who envisioned a future where this land flourishes untouched,” said Elizabeth Hunter Skidmore, whose family has owned the property. “Crooked River Ranch is not merely a piece of real estat