The Sarasota County-based Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast recently announced the permanent protection of 8 acres in Charlotte County, adjacent to Don Pedro Island State Park. The purchase of this land was completed using a combination of Conservation Foundation resources, including its dedicated Land Fund, multiple liquid assets, and a short-term loan. The $2,695,000 purchase was completed on Dec. 15, 2022.
Don Pedro Island State Park, comprised of a mainland section and an island section, is part of a barrier island system protecting the Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve, which flows into Charlotte Harbor, one of Florida’s most productive estuaries. The newly conserved 8 acres are located on the south boundary of the mainland section. This land now buffers the park from residential development and improves park officials’ ability to manage the adjoining uplands with essential prescribed fire.
Conserving this land also supports the preservation of rare, intact barrier island habitat and integral mainland shoreline habitat for many imperiled species, including gopher tortoise, indigo snake, snowy plover and roseate tern. The property is primarily uplands with a small wetland. Improved management of the property will eliminate a host of invasive species and prevent their spread into Don Pedro Island State Park. Additionally, the property contains eight boast slips on a protected canal, which, if purchased by the state, will enhance the park’s recreation amenities, including kayaking access to the secluded island portion of the park.