4L’s Ranch Easement Safeguards Water Quality in Myakka and Peace River Watersheds, Protects Native Habitat and Strengthens Florida Forever’s Commitment to Conservation
Myakka City, FL — The Florida Governor and Cabinet today approved a conservation easement from 4L’s Ranch of more than 1,500 acres within the Myakka Ranchlands Florida Forever Project. The easement extends protected lands spanning Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties southward into Charlotte County and safeguards water quality in both the Myakka River and Peace River watersheds, as well as the Charlotte Harbor estuary—one of the most important recreational fisheries in the state.
Florida Forever is the state’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving Florida’s natural resources. Florida Forever supports many goals, including water resource protection, coastal resiliency, public access to outdoor recreation and the restoration and maintenance of public lands.
“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). “The properties in this project are critical to the health of the watershed, the Myakka River State Park and to drinking water downstream. In addition, land conservation in this area is critical for preventing flood waters from impacting downstream communities including North Port and the rest of the northern Charlotte Harbor region.”
4L’s Ranch is a cow-calf operation in western DeSoto County, serving as a bridge between the Myakka River and Peace River watersheds. The ranch provides native habitat for threatened species including the Florida sandhill crane, crested caracara, gopher tortoise, Florida burrowing owl and Southeastern American kestrel. In addition, the ranch contributes to the continuity of the Florida Wildlife Corridor providing potential habitat for wide-ranging and sensitive species such as the Eastern indigo snake, Florida black bear and Florida panther.
Florida Forever’s Myakka Ranchlands Project has been a joint effort between state and county governments, SWFL Water Management District and non-profit conservation groups.
The Cabinet approved two additional conservation easements today—more than 1,400 acres within the Caloosahatchee Ecoscape Florida Forever Project and approximately 2,000 acres within the Syfrett Ranch Project of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP), permanently protecting a total of nearly 5,000 acres of Florida land.
FCG is committed to conserving Florida’s natural landscape, wildlife, food and water, while maintaining working agricultural lands that are essential to the state’s economy and national security. Comprised of scientists, ranchers and conservation and policy experts, FCG advocates for full funding for state land protection programs, including the Rural and Family Lands Program and Florida Forever. The organization provides landowners with information on the various conservation easement and incentive programs available. Since its inception in 2015, FCG has represented private landowners in the conservation of over 65,000 acres of land and facilitated the protection of thousands of additional acres on behalf of governmental entities.