Audubon to preserve Lanark Reef

Lanark Reef

Lanark Reef

GEORGE WILLSON | Special to the Times
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 08:38 AM.


Audubon Florida has acquired the last private inholding on Lanark Reef, one of Florida ’s most significant sites for threatened and endangered coastal birds in Florida and a designated Important Bird Area (IBA).

According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) survey, Lanark Reef lies in the Gulf of Mexico roughly 0.7 miles offshore of Lanark Village , and stretches for approximately six miles parallel to the coast and contains both submerged and emerged areas.

The submerged lands comprise the majority of the reef extending for almost five miles and are rich in sea grasses. The emerged areas are a series of “islands” that stretch for approximately one mile of the reef, with a total area of about four acres. The eastern emerged section is heavily vegetated with grasses and shrubs.”

The submerged lands were already the property of the state, but Audubon has been in negotiation with Premier Bank of Tallahassee to acquire the rest of the reef for several years. Last month, Audubon closed the deal paying $33,000 for the property.

Hurley Booth, a Tallahassee developer, once planned to build Lanark Reef Resort, a condominium community on the tiny spit of land, and the county health department approved permits for septic tanks.

But, County Planner Alan Pierce said, it was unlikely Booth would have been permitted to build on the tiny island. “(Lanark) reef is not zoned for development of any kind and is not part of Franklin County ’s land use map,” Pierce said. “It’s just a sandbar as far as we are concerned. We never saw any building plans for development and it never went before planning and zoning”

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