Conservation Foundation served as the acquisition agent for Sarasota County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP) between 2007 and 2014. During that time, Conservation Foundation used our land conservation expertise to preserve a number of properties through this program that are considered iconic natural areas. The Warm Mineral Springs Creek Preserve was selected in order to create a protected buffer along the creek, which is critical winter habitat for manatees. Made up of numerous, vacant residential lots fronting the creek, CFGC added seven lots in seven years, and purchases will continue into the future.
The Florida Manatee is an endangered species which faces many threats to its continued existence. One of these threats is the loss of warm-water refuges, such as spring outflows, where manatees congregate in the winter. Manatees are very cold sensitive, and cold stress accounts for about 9 percent of all manatee deaths. During winter, they avoid death by congregating in areas of warmer water, such as nuclear power plant discharge areas in North Florida, spring outflows in the middle of the state, or sheltered pockets of water in south Florida. Warm Mineral Springs is the only “warm” spring in Florida, with a contact temperature of about 87 degrees. This makes Warm Mineral Springs Creek warmer than other springs in the state, and a great refuge for Manatees. Conserving habitat along its banks ensures that the creek remains a quiet and peaceful winter refuge.