Conservation Foundation inviting the public to join Myakka restoration initiative

Efforts underway to plant tens of thousands of plants of various species at the 432-acre Myakka Headwaters Preserve

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is inviting members of the public to assist with the restoration and enhancement of the Myakka region, it has announced.

At its 432-acre Myakka Headwaters Preserve — “where seven creeks converge to form the Myakka River” — the nonprofit land trust recently embarked on a river restoration project in which it has planted more than 15,400 plants of 27 different species, a news release points out. Included in the planting were 2,000 coreopsis, the Florida loosestrife — “a rare endangered endemic plant” — almost 1,000 wetland trees from 10 different species, “and 9,000 plugs of a wetland grass called maidencane,” the release says.

“Planted along approximately 1,000 feet of river bank, these plants will help improve water quality, capture sediment, and reduce erosion,” the release explains. They also will “increase wildlife habitat for many species, including largemouth bass and common snapping turtle.” The release adds, “Support for this vast undertaking came from numerous community partners, including Beautiful Ponds Inc., Blackbeard Ranch, Sandhill Native Growers, Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.”

“Conservation Foundation’s work goes far beyond protecting land,” Christine P. Johnson, president of the Foundation, said in the release. “It’s also our responsibility to ensure the land we conserve is well managed and, when possible, restored, for the benefit of both the people and wildlife living here in Southwest Florida,” she added in the release.

This spring, “with support from the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation and the Arbor Day Foundation,” the Conservation Foundation “plans to plant 10,000 more trees, expanding habitat and creating better streams and woods for fish and game throughout the Myakka region,” the release points out. The Foundation is “delighted to invite the public” to join it “in this ambitious initiative,” the release adds.

The nonprofit plans to host “multiple volunteer days and on-the-land educational events, allowing participants to connect with nature and experience this stunning landscape firsthand,” the release notes.

To learn more about this undertaking and to RSVP for upcoming volunteer opportunities, visit