Lemon Bay Conservancy (LBC) has received grant funding from the Southwest Florida Water Management District for the design of wetlands restoration at its Wildflower Preserve off Placida Road in the Englewood area.
The $200,000 grant through SWFWMD’s cooperative funding initiative will focus on restoration of natural wetlands systems at Wildflower Preserve. Wildflower Preserve was developed as a golf course in the 1970’s, and the existing on-site freshwater wetlands were turned into golf course ponds. In 2006, when the golf course closed, the neighboring community opposed an attempt to change its land use to allow development, and LBC purchased the property for use as a nature preserve in September 2010. Since then, an enthusiastic all-volunteer corps has worked to build trails, remove exotics, improve degraded water quality and provide natural amenities including a bird viewing area, wildflower meadow and butterfly garden.
SWFWMD is in the process of choosing a contractor for the design work. Upon completion of the design phase, it is anticipated that LBC will seek further SWFWMD funding for implementation. SWFWMD cooperative funding requires the fund recipient share funding costs and LBC is able to provide its funding share through its purchase costs for Wildflower Preserve.
Jim Cooper, LBC President, praised the SWFWMD program: “We are tremendously excited by the ability to jumpstart our Wildflower Preserve restoration with the assistance of funding and expertise from SWFWMD. We continue to be inspired by the help we get from all over to develop and enhance Wildflower Preserve, from the tireless efforts of our volunteers, to the continuing support of our donors and grant funders, including the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, and now to the invaluable help from SWFWMD and its staff.”
Cooper also noted the first of its kind juvenile tarpon research study is taking place in saltwater Lemon Creek on the western side of the Wildflower property, and stated continuing protection of the tarpon habitat will be a key element of any Wildflower Preserve wetlands restoration.
Lemon Bay Conservancy is a 501 c 3 organization and a land trust which has served the Lemon Bay and Charlotte Harbor area for over 40 years. Besides preserving conservation lands it works to educate the community about natural systems and to advocate for protection of our natural world.
For further information contact the Conservancy office at 941-830-8922 or Stephanie Powers of SWFWMD at (813)985-7481, ext. 2213.