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Florida Cabinet approves ‘critical’ conservation easement in Southwest Florida

The easement aims to protect the Myakka and Peace River Watersheds, spanning Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet have OK’d a new conservation easement covering more than 1,500 acres at 4L’s Ranch in Southwest Florida.

The easement is within the Myakka Ranchlands Florida Forever Project and aims to protect the water quality in the Myakka River and Peace River watersheds. The easement blocks any future development on the land but allows agricultural activity to continue.

The property covered by the easement extends over Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.

“The Myakka Ranchlands Florida Forever Project is in a region rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage, and one that is rapidly disappearing,” said Julie Morris, Director of the Florida Conservation Group (FCG), in response to the easement approval.

“The properties in this project are critical to the health of the watershed, the Myakka River State Park and drinking water downstream. In addition, land conservation in this area is critical for preventing floodwaters from impacting downstream communities, including North Port and the rest of the northern Charlotte Harbor region.”

The release added that the Charlotte Harbor estuary is “one of the most important recreational fisheries in the state.”