Land in Old Miakka that has been protected by the Conservation Foundation.

Land in Old Miakka that has been protected by the Conservation Foundation.

Image: Sam Valentin

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has announced the permanent protection of 228 acres in Old Miakka. The land is a critical link between Sarasota County’s Old Miakka Preserve and the Conservation Foundation’s Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve, further linking more than 120,000 acres of conserved land protecting the Myakka River. The purchase was completed on October 14.

The newly protected land has a rich and varied landscape, including scrubby flatwoods, mesic hammock, blackwater stream, depression marsh and rangeland, which provide habitat for wildlife including gopher tortoises, turkey, quail, and air-plant-adorned oaks. Scrub restoration using prescribed fire may support an even greater number of species, including the federally threatened Florida scrub jay, gopher frog, and eastern indigo snake.

Additionally, about a half-mile of stream—along with 30 acres of wetlands—are located within the property, storing and filtering water that flows into the Tatum Sawgrass Marsh and the Myakka River.

The Conservation Foundation purchased this property from MAG Properties, Inc., using its dedicated land fund and $3.9 million in short term loans provided by Sherry and Howard Davis, Rhonda and Dan Deems, Elizabeth Moore, and the Sea Grape Foundation. This is the third property that MAG Properties has partnered with Conservation Foundation to save.