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Conservation Foundation Assists Sarasota County in Protecting More Than 3,700 Acres

July 16, 2010 | Conservation Foundation | Osprey, FL
Conservation Foundation Assists Sarasota County in Protecting More Than 3,700 Acres

Photo courtesy of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Albert Joerger, Founder/President
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
(941) 918-2100

Conservation Foundation Assists Sarasota County in Protecting More Than 3,700 Acres

 

OSPREY, FL-- Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announced today, along with Sarasota County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), the purchase of more than 3,700 acres of environmentally sensitive ranchland in Sarasota County for the purposes of habitat conservation, watershed protection and public outdoor recreation.  

Conservation Foundation led the negotiations and purchase of the property known as Walton Ranch which will protect 3,759 acres of open space in perpetuity.  The ranch purchase price of $22.5 million was made possible in part by a contribution of approximately $13 million of Florida Forever funds from SWFWMD.

Albert Joerger, president of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, said the acquisition is a key part of creating a conservation corridor linking environmentally sensitive lands in Sarasota County to others in DeSoto County. “The purchase of Walton Ranch will be a game changer for land conservation and eco-tourism in southwest Florida.  The acquisition of Walton Ranch expands an ecological corridor that will provide regional connectivity for far ranging species of wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther,” said Joerger.

Walton Ranch has long been regarded as prime property for conservation at the local, regional and State levels. Walton Ranch includes marshes, pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks which will safeguard regional water supplies and help preserve water quality while providing natural flood protection. Conservation Foundation has been in discussions with the Walton family since 2006 about preserving their land and succeeded in gaining placement of Walton Ranch on the Florida Acquisition and Restoration Council list making it eligible for Florida Forever funding.

“By working together with the community, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, we are getting closer to our goal of preserving more than 100,000 acres of natural land in Sarasota County,” said Theresa Connor, executive director, Sarasota County Environmental Services.  “This will provide opportunities for eco-tourism and nature education that will benefit everyone for generations.”

For more information visit www.conservationfoundation.com or call (941) 918-2100.

About Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Inc. works with landowners, businesses, and government to protect and preserve the beauty and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, and barrier islands that make the Gulf Coast special. Conservation Foundation purchases natural areas, holds conservation agreements, and educates for responsible stewardship. Conservation Foundation works with Sarasota County’s acclaimed environmentally sensitive lands program, their neighborhood parks program, and is a partner in efforts to preserve Florida’s natural heritage.

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