Manatee commissioners OK restoration projects

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 20, 2014 

MANATEE — The Manatee County Commission Tuesday OK'd two environmental improvement projects, plus an agreement to contribute $75,000 from proceeds on a phosphate rock tax for Tampa Bay restoration.

One of the projects will create 7,500-square-feet of ecologically valuable oyster bar habitat at Robinson Preserve.

About $53,000 for the oyster bar project will come from the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund, controlled by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program’s policy board, according to Holly Greening, executive director of the estuary program.

The project also calls for a 2,000-square-foot “floating island” to provide rare nesting habitat for colony-forming seabirds at the northwest Bradenton preserve.

The estuary program’s policy board also awarded $87,260 for hydrologic restoration at east Manatee’s 21,000-acre Duette Preserve, in eastern Manatee. Both projects require matching grant money or in-kind contributions from Manatee County, officials have said.

Seven other competitively-awarded projects elsewhere also were awarded money to improve Tampa Bay’s water quality and wildlife habitats, Greening said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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