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Manatee Voters to Decide Referendum on a Land & Water Conservation Fund

Great Egret, Myakka River State Park
Wikimedia Commons
Great Egret, Myakka River State Park

Manatee County Voters will have their say on whether to create a fund dedicated to land and water conservation.

Manatee County voters are considering what’s called the “Water Quality Protection, Fish And Wildlife Habitat Preservation, And Park Ad Valorem Tax And Bonds” question. It is on the November ballot.

The measure is an attempt to protect Manatee County’s last remaining natural areas and wildlife habitats.

Christine Johnson is President of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. She says unlike most counties in Florida, Manatee County gets its drinking water from surface water, not an aquifer.

"The best way to protect the drinking water is to protect the land around it," Johnson tells WGCU.

In addition, Johnson says the County has just 20 years before the natural beauty and ecological health of the area is lost to development and human activity.

Should the measure pass, the county could issue up to $50 million in bonds and implement a small property tax increase. The money would fund the acquisition and protection of the land as it becomes available.

The average homeowner, says Johnson, would pay about $2.40 cents a month, or less than $30 a year.

"That is a small price to pay to conserve our natural habitats and drinking water forever," she adds.

Manatee county does not currently have any dedicated funding for land and water conservation as several other Florida counties do.

A yes vote will provide funding to acquire and manage lands, protect water quality, prevent storm water runoff, create parks, and preserve fish and wildlife habitat.

To learn more visit voteforwaterandland.org.