Conservation Foundation protects 8 acres of high-priority coastal land in Charlotte County

Property adjacent to Don Pedro Island State Park

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has 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,” a news release explains. The $2,695,000 purchase was concluded on Dec. 15, the release adds.

“We are grateful to those who have contributed to our Land Fund, as well as the landowner who worked with us for three years to enable a conservation partnership,” said Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation, in the release. “It is our hope to now resell the property to the State of Florida as an addition to Don Pedro Island State Park, protecting the park’s natural beauty and enhancing recreation opportunities for all to enjoy.”

Don Pedro Island State Park, comprising 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 release points out. The newly conserved 8 acres are located on the southern boundary of the mainland section, the release notes.

This land could have been developed with more than 80 condominium units; instead, it will buffer the park from residential development and improve “park officials’ ability to manage the adjoining uplands with essential prescribed fire,”
the release explains.

“Conserving this land also supports the preservation of rare, intact barrier island habitat and integral mainland shoreline habitat for many imperiled species,” including the gopher tortoise, indigo snake, snowy plover and roseate tern, the release notes. 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,” the release points out.

Additionally, the property contains eight boat slips on a protected canal, the release says. If the state ends up purchasing the property, those slips “will enhance the park’s recreation amenities,” including kayaking access to the secluded island portion of the park, the release adds.

Working with landowners, businesses and government representatives, the Osprey-based Conservation Foundation “saves land forever, protecting those special places that make this region extraordinary,” the release explains.