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Environmentally significant lands referendum passes in Manatee County

On November 3rd, Manatee County voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum Tuesday to acquire as much as $50 million worth of land for the purpose of environmental protection.

The referendum, approved by 71.27% of county voters, is dedicated to "finance the acquisition, improvement, and management of land to protect drinking water sources and water quality, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, prevent stormwater runoff pollution, and provide parks." The money will be raised by instituting a 0.15 mill ad valorem tax over 20 years.

Christine Johnson, the president of the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast who spearheaded the referendum, said Manatee County has long been at a disadvantage compared to other counties on Florida’s Gulf Coast, many of which have dedicated funding sources for land conservation. She pointed out that only 13% of Manatee County’s land is conserved, compared to a 30% average statewide.