What to see in annamariaisland – Natural attractions – Coquina Baywalk – Anna Maria Island

07/20/2017

Anna Maria Island has it’s own preserve. Located on Bradenton Beach directly across from the Coquina Beach at the southern tip of Anna Maria Island. This little strip of island provides beautiful views of beautiful Sarasota Bay.

Once a spoil island overgrown with non-native plants that greatly reduced its habitat value, Leffis Key is now a shining example of how government and private interests can collaborate to restore and enhance vital saltwater wetlands, essential to the health of a nationally significant estuary.

One of the unique features of the design is a 26-foot high hill in the center of the restored area. This upland feature offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The hill was planted with native dune and coastal ridge plants such as sea oats, beach elder, dune sunflower, southern red cedar, green buttonwood, sea grape, gumbo-limbo, Hercules’ club, Jamaica dogwood and strangler fig. In addition, over 20,000 marsh grass plants, such as smooth cordgrass, saltwater cordgrass and salt jointgrass, were installed along the banks of the tidal ponds. The plant installation was accomplished with volunteer labor that included hundreds of school children, local environmental clubs and citizens.

Site amenities include footpaths that circle and scale the hill, benches, and 1,500 lineal feet of boardwalks that meander through the mangrove forest, with strategically placed viewing platforms penetrating the open water. Interpretive signs describing the various habitats and the respective plant and animal life are located along the paths.

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This post was created by Terry Whyte


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