Sarasota County Approves Preservation Of 33 Acres Surrounding Celery Fields
New conservation easements on three parcels adjacent to Celery Fields will keep development from encroaching on the reserve.
Three parcels buffering Celery Fields in Sarasota County will be protected, restored and managed through a public-private partnership, after Sarasota County commissioners approved the plan this week.
The new conservation easements will keep development off of another 33 acres adjacent to the reserve.
County leaders had considered developing some of the land until activists stepped in.
Had the sites been developed, the birds and other wildlife would have eventually retreated into the center of Celery Fields to compete for food in a smaller space, said Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon.
"So the addition of these two, especially the two Eastern parcels, is going to actually act as a buffer and allow those within the current Celery Fields to thrive and not have to retreat," she said.
They’re also going to restore the land by adding more plants for birds to forage, so Dubi said this is a win for the birds, for the environment and for Sarasota County citizens.
Conservation Foundation President Christine Johnson said the outcome is exciting but there's still a lot of work to do.
"Our two organizations are charged with coming up with the plan for the restoration, the plan for the public use, which will be light on the property- basically, little trails and a couple of park benches,” she said. “And we have to fundraise for it all.”
The plan will take substantial funding, though a specific amount has not been announced.