Conservation Foundation Receives $20k Grant for Threatened Scrub Jays



Cornell Lab of Ornithology awarded a $20,000 grant to Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to conserve and restore habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay. The restoration will occur on Conservation Foundation’s recently protected 38-acre Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve in eastern Manatee County, a critical wildlife corridor that is experiencing rapid development. In a partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Conservation Foundation will restore this land to create scrub jay habitat, creating an essential stepping-stone between Sarasota County and Manatee County scrub jay populations. Trails will also be created for guided tours.

The acquisition and restoration of this property fits within a larger effort, as the Florida scrub jay is nearing local extinction within Sarasota County, due to isolation and inbreeding. Only by maintaining connections to other populations, and periodically receiving “new blood” will the birds survive. Local partners are forming a plan to protect and restore “stepping stone” properties linking South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve to Oscar Scherer State Park, and Oscar Scherer State Park to Duette Preserve in Manatee County. Cornell Lab has generously provided a lead gift in the effort.

Conservation Foundation of Sarasota County

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