Protecting Myakka River's Marshes

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY JUL 24, 2019

Permanent protection of the 543-acre Murphy Marsh within Manatee County’s Myakka River watershed region was recently announced by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Murphy Marsh remains in the most threatened portion of the watershed and links three different Myakka River conservation areas: Triangle Ranch, Lettuce Lakes and Conservation Foundation’s newly conserved Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve.  

Conserving this large tract of private property will enable Conservation Foundation to protect and restore the core of the 2,500-acre Tatum Sawgrass marsh. A landscape-scale restoration plan is being facilitated by the foundation, based on hydrologic modeling of the entire Upper Myakka River watershed. The plan hopes to reduce flooding downstream, increase habitat for animals such as the wood stork, deer, snook and even the endangered Florida panther, and overall, improve the health and vitality of Myakka River. Protecting Murphy Marsh is critical to maintaining the region's water quality, as water flows off the land into the Myakka River and through the more than 40 miles of protected lands that buffer the river before it flows into Charlotte Harbor estuary.

“This is a strategic addition to our protected lands and an outstanding example of how Conservation Foundation skillfully collaborates with federal, state and private organizations, and people to accomplish large goals,” says Charlie Hunsicker, director of Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided critical funding, and will hold the perpetual conservation easement and provide additional funding for restoration. This protection success was made possible by the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, The Gardener Foundation, the Felburn Foundation, the Myakka River Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, the Disney Conservation Fund, Skip and Janis Swan, and the Everett W. Erdoesy & Gretha M. Erdoesy Foundation.

Photo of Tatum Sawgrass Preserve, taken by Glenn Gardner.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

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