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 O-Bar-O Conservation Area was selected because of its beautiful oak hammocks, extensive shoreline on the Myakka River, and adjacency to Pinelands Reserve and Myakka River State Park. After the acquisition of a conservation easement in 2008, the land has remained a private cattle ranch.
The O-Bar-O Conservation Area is located at the heart of the Myakka River, just south of lower Myakka Lake. Protection has precluded development in this area, keeping the river wild and scenic for future generations. Additionally, the land is now part of 110,000 acres of conservation lands on the Myakka. This incredible landscape is a factory of biodiversity, on land and in water. The Myakka River flows to Charlotte Harbor, supplying the clean water necessary for healthy fisheries, including tarpon, snook, grouper, and shrimp.
The O-Bar-O Conservation Area is located on what may be the most beautiful part of the Myakka River. Called “Rocky Ford,” it takes its name from the limestone outcroppings that hang over the water and line the shallow rocky bottom. During low water, the water trickles over the rocks, making the most wonderful sound.