Mr. and Mrs. Breyer purchased 2.5 acres on the Manatee River in Ellenton in the 1970s when it was still considered remote. They spent several years creating an environmentally-conscious home, with a custom-built “Florida House,” and a landscape of Florida native plants that are drought tolerant, attractive, and good for wildlife. In 2010, they decided to take the next step and preserve their land. They worked with Conservation Foundation and their attorney to develop a conservation easement and estate plan to protect the River views and natural beauty they loved for so many years. With the conservation agreements in place, this gem on the Manatee River will be protected in perpetuity.
While the shoreline of the City of Bradenton is largely developed, the up-river sections of the Manatee River are still wild and scenic and provide excellent habitat for wildlife. For example, tarpon and snook, while usually caught as adults in the bay, begin their life hiding among mangroves and marshes up river. Conservation areas such as these protect nursery habitat, without which we could not have commercial and sports fishing.
On a small island where the Brandon River and Manatee River meet, lies the only wood stork colony in Manatee County. Wood storks are a threatened bird whose fishing skills are specially adapted, not to deep-water locations such as ponds, rivers and beaches, but to shallow-water marshes and puddles that dry up during breeding season. This “drying up” has the effect of concentrating fish, making them easier to catch. The primary cause of wood stork decline is the loss of shallow, easy-forage wetlands.