The Jeuns

Manatee County Receives M Federal Grant for Conservation Land Acquisition

April 23, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Manatee County has received a million grant to help cover the cost of acquiring the 68-acre Crooked River Ranch in Parrish. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the grant to offset part of the .2 million purchase price for the property. The county had already completed the purchase, and a spokesperson stated that the grant will allow more county funds to be used for protecting other environmentally sensitive areas in Manatee.

The decision to buy Crooked River Ranch was supported by Manatee commissioners who saw it as an opportunity to enhance coastal resiliency, water quality, and native habitat protection. The acquisition was made through the county’s Environmental Lands Program, which uses tax money to acquire, improve, and manage land for conservation and recreational purposes.

Located between Interstate 75 and Fort Hamer Road, Crooked River Ranch is one of the last significant privately owned parcels along the river. The grant, provided as part of a million NOAA program for coastal habitat restoration, came from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Manatee County’s project was the sole recipient in Florida among 22 projects in 16 states.

Conserving the property is expected to benefit wildlife, including manatees that feed on shoreline vegetation, as well as birds such as roseate spoonbills and wood storks. The county highlighted the importance of preserving the land to create a connected-wildlife corridor and enhance climate resilience and water quality in the face of ongoing development pressures in the area.

Manatee County collaborated with the property’s owners and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast over several months to finalize the acquisition. This effort reflects the county’s commitment to protecting natural resources and promoting conservation initiatives for the benefit of both residents and wildlife in the region.

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