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
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
Hurley Booth, a
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
According to Audubon, the narrow barrier island provides essential habitat to some of the
The island has been designated an important birding area by Audubon. More than 250 species of birds use the reef for spring and summer nesting and as a stopping point for winter migration. Lanark Reef has been designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as critical habitat for the piping plover, one of the most rapidly declining Gulf shorebirds due to habitat loss.
Eric Draper, Audubon
Many of the species benefitting from this acquisition are the same most affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; funding for the purchase was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with revenue generated by the sale of oil recovered from the spill. Private donors from across the country also made contributions to ensure the acquisition and management of this special place.
The reef will be closed to human beings and dogs although the pristine bird sanctuary can still be viewed from boats. Because of the extremely shallow water surrounding Lanark Reef; it can be reached by boat only at high tide. FWC has posted warning signs about disturbing wildlife and damaging sea grass beds on the emerged areas of the reef.
In a press release, Julie Wraithmell, Audubon’s director of wildlife conservation said, “This dynamic island, shaped by wind and waves, is a glimpse of what was once common along the Gulf Coast: shifting sands and swaying marsh grass supporting abundant wildlife,”
The public can sign up for updates on the reef, coastal birds,