Sarasota County recently purchased 40 acres in east Sarasota that will be permanently protected as conservation land. The property, located near where Fruitville Road ends, is adjacent to a 38-acre parcel that was purchased and preserved by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast last year, and links the existing Old Miakka Preserve to 120,000 acres of preserved land near the Myakka River and Tatum Sawgrass Marsh.
The property was purchased for just over $562,000—70 percent of the property's fair market value, according to the Conservation Foundation—from the company MAG Properties Inc., through the county's Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program. The program was approved by voters in 1999 and directs the county to identify and acquire land for conservation.
The newly set aside land is important habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay and is home to longleaf pine trees, whose numbers have been decimated by development, agriculture, the lumber industry and storms. Surface water on the land flows into Tatum Sawgrass Marsh and the Myakka River.
The Conservation Foundation purchased 38 acres near the property from MAG Properties for nearly $283,000 last year, and helped facilitate the new deal, which was completed Thursday. Earlier this year, the Conservation Foundation helped protect 29 acres of land in Manatee County, and raised $1.5 million to save 5,777 acres in North Port.