District Acquires Rainbow River Ranch Property

Purchase Made in Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

The Southwest Florida Water Management District has closed on the purchase of the environmentally important Rainbow River Ranch.

This important land acquisition is about 16 percent of the eastern bank of the Rainbow River, and along with existing public ownership, will allow the District to continue its mission of protecting water resources and this important natural resource. 

rainbow river ranch

This property and its shoreline of marshes, wetlands and giant bald cypress trees is the last major undeveloped property along this natural river corridor. The acquisition consists of 112 acres and includes nearly a half mile of river frontage. 

The transaction also included provisions to protect an additional 620 feet of shoreline associated with existing private landholdings from more intense development. The District’s Governing Board approved the contract to purchase the property in March.

Rainbow Springs is the largest first-magnitude spring in Florida which feeds the Rainbow River, and flows for approximately 5.7 miles until it merges into the Withlacoochee River. 

The total purchase price for this property is $3,813,875 with the conservation lands being purchased using Florida Forever Funds and a grant by The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy provided $250,000 toward the purchase of the Rainbow River Ranch tract through its Private Grant Agreement for Land Assist program. In Florida since 1961, The Nature Conservancy has helped to protect more than 1.2 million acres of vulnerable lands and waters across the state.

The District will work cooperatively with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Florida Park Service to develop an agreement to manage the park as part of the adjoining Rainbow Springs State Park.