A little piece of Old Florida is well on its way to being forever protected after a unanimous vote by the 13-member governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
The vote Tuesday approved terms and negotiations to turn six-generation-owned, 1,100-acre Carlton Triangle Ranch into a conservation easement, which will be owned by Bradenton conservationist Elizabeth Moore. A conservation easement typically is privately owned but the land isn’t allowed to be built on.
“This is a fantastic example of a successful public-private collaboration,” wrote governing board member Mike Moran in an email about the vote. “This is one of the final stages of almost 100 years of community and governmental efforts to protect the Myakka River watershed.”
The acquisition of the land, including three miles of the Myakka River and part of the important Tatum Sawgrass Marsh, will close within 60 to 90 days, after the completion of the conservation easement document, a surveying of the property and a phase 1 environmental site assessment.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast President Christine Johnson said the process took 2 1/2 years because the foundation needed to find a buyer. It’s the first conservation easement the water management district has done in six years.
THIS IS ONE OF THE FINAL STAGES OF ALMOST 100 YEARS OF COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENTAL EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE MYAKKA RIVER WATERSHED.Mike Moran, Southwest Florida Water Management District
The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Southwest Florida Water Management District and Moore pooled together about $5 million to acquire the land.
Moore said she was looking for more properties in September 2015 when a friend introduced to the for-sale Triangle Ranch. She has been involved in land conservation in the past in Massachusetts and Maine. The land will need to go through restoration, included the cleaning of ditches used to drain the wetlands, but after Moore hopes to use this land for conservation-oriented activities like camping, birding and astronomy.
The land includes oak forests, and is home to wildlife ranging from bees to eagles, cattle to alligators.
“I think the happiest party will be the wildlife,” Moore said.