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Buchanan Introduces Legislation to Protect Little Manatee River

July 19, 2021 | Florida Legislation, The Bradenton Times

BRADENTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to designate the Little Manatee River as a national “scenic” river, adding it to the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic River System, whose primary goal is to conserve free-flowing rivers across the United States.

The Little Manatee Wild and Scenic River Act would formally designate the approximately 51-mile long segment of the river, beginning at its source in southeastern Hillsborough County flowing downstream to the point at which the river enters Tampa Bay, as a scenic river.

“Protecting Florida’s beautiful lands and pristine waterways should always be a top priority,” said Buchanan. “Southwest Florida is blessed with many natural treasures including Sarasota Bay, Emerson Point Preserve and Myakka River State Park,” said Buchanan. “Designating the Little Manatee River as ‘scenic’ will ensure that it is kept in its current pristine condition for future generations to enjoy.”

The designation ensures the river remains available for a full range of recreational activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Buchanan was joined by Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) as an original co-sponsor, who is leading a similar effort to designate portions of the Kissimmee River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

“We are so blessed to have so many beautiful natural resources in Manatee and protecting them should always come first,” said Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh. “I thank Congressman Buchanan for his diligence in staying the course to get this waterway protected so that we can all enjoy it for years to come. This waterway is one of the most beautiful in our area and it is full of wildlife and fish that we need to make sure remain and with this designation we will make sure it is always as beautiful tomorrow as it is today.”

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to safeguard rivers and encourage robust river management that promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection. The Loxahatchee River and the Wekiva River are the only rivers in Florida currently recognized under the federal program. The Little Manatee River is also recognized at the state level as an ‘Outstanding Florida Water’ and is one of the most pristine blackwater rivers in the state.