Wednesday, 13 December 2006 00:00
20/20 PurchaseWritten by Amy Tardif
Lee County Commissioners have approved the purchase of a 126-acre island in Charlotte Harbor through the Conservation 20/20 program.
The 2.5-million dollar purchase is for a portion of Cayo Pelau Island which is in Lee County near Gasparilla Sound. The island consists of about 116 acres of wetland mangroves and 10 acres of uplands. Cayo Pelau contains a large diversity of native plant communities, including rare tropical hardwood hammocks and three beaches. And the island has long been associated with tales of buried pirate treasure. The President of the Calusa Land Trust and Nature Preserve of Pine Island, Bud House, says the purchase is important environmentally and archaeologically.
“Pristine archaeologically significant large scale maritime properties such as Cayo Pelau become available for acquisition just once in a blue moon. We are fortunate to have willing sellers and a conservation minded real estate agent who brought the property to the attention of the Lee County 2020 staff for all the right reasons.”
The island was home to prehistoric Native Americans, Cuban fishermen, and Columbus B. McCloud, a 19th century Audubon warden. House’s group has pledge 20,000 dollars toward the purchase. Closing is expected to occur within 90 days.
Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 Program is funded through a property tax of 50 cents for every 1,000 dollars of taxable property value. The program generates 43 million annually and has purchased nearly 18,000 acres so far.