As expansion is well underway on Robinson Preserve, Manatee County has acquired a 52-acre property located directly to the south called Winston Tract to manage.
Through a lease with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Manatee County will lease Winston Tract, which is located north of State Road 64 and south of Robinson Preserve, for 50 years. The county will pay $300 annually for the lease.
“The parks and natural resources department desires to assume management of the Winston Tract in order to perform habitat improvements that will benefit the property and facilitate habitat improvements associated with the Robinson Preserve Expansion Project,” county documents state.
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For the last year, work has been underway on expanding the existing 487-acre Robinson Preserve, which opened in 2008 off 99th Street NW. The county is turning 150 acres of farmland on the southeast edge of the preserve into more nature trails, marshes, emergent islands, a canopy walk and environmental and education center.
“This will result in increased quality and protection for natural habitats on the property and will allow necessary work to be completed for maximization of habitat improvements associated with the Robinson Preserve Expansion project,” county documents said of the Winston Tract lease. “The county would seek grant opportunities including RESTORE Act funds for needed improvements.”
The Winston Tract is located in vicinity of Perico Preserve, which opened in the spring. Manatee Count received a $30,000 Coastal Partnership Initiative grant for habitat management and user improvements at the preserve, 11700 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
This is one of two grants the county received for its preserves. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a $82,000 grant for the construction of oyster bars/reefs at Robinson Preserve.
“These oyster bars will provide essential fish and wildlife habitat,” according to county documents.