We have a rare opportunity to save 34 acres of “old Florida” or it will be developed with 32 homes. Located on the Braden River east of I-75, this 34-acre oasis of nature is home to an amazing diversity of plants and animals not normally seen in similar suburban areas. It is a piece of ‘Old Florida” with mature live oaks, tall longleaf pines, important wetlands that store water preventing flooding, the imperiled swallowtail kites and gopher tortoise. The land’s riverfront and floodplain forests are part of a corridor linking natural habitat along the Braden River. The Braden River is a source of drinking water for the City of Bradenton.
Manatee County is the 10th fastest growing county in the nation. Since 2001 the Water Management District has recommended that every piece of natural land remaining along the Braden River should be conserved to protect our valuable drinking water and protect the diverse habitats and species which are the natural systems we humans depend upon. When Manatee County residents were recently asked what the most important facilities they wanted to see, nature trails were #1 with small neighborhood parks #2. This is consistent with studies conducted throughout the country about the important of open space. Again and again people say they want to get outside and enjoy nature!
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, this region’s nationally accredited land conservancy, is working with Manatee County, Friends of Keep Woods, and numerous residents throughout the community to conserve this land. This is only possible through a private/public partnership whereby the community raises the funds to buy the land and Manatee County will use their funds and resources to manage it as a natural area preserve into the future. If the property now-slated for development is acquired, Conservation Foundation will donate the adjoining 11.6 acres to the preserve, making it a total of 44 acres. Furthermore, Conservation Foundation will hold and enforce a perpetual conservation easement (permanent deed restrictions) that will ensure that the property remains a low-impact preserve, open to the public so that we can enjoy pristine nature while walking, hiking or birdwatching.
With Your Help We Can Save this Land, Forever
Conservation Foundation has an exclusive right to buy the 34-acre property that expires on March 31. In order to save this land, we must buy it at the appraised price of $3 million. On March 20 the Manatee County Commission will vote on creating a Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) to fund the purchase. However, the commissioners need to see community support to lessen the burden on the taxpayers. Therefore, we need to raise at least a million dollars! If the land is not purchased for conservation, it will be developed and lost forever.
To make a pledge to support the acquisition of Braden River Preserve, please click here or call Andria Piekarz at (941) 918-2100.