Environmental Lands Management and Acquisition Committee (ELMAC)


ELMAC was established in 1993 to advise the Board of County Commissioners on environmental land acquisition, environmental land management, and recreational programming. The Committee has worked with staff to establish methods to identify, evaluate and prioritize land for conservation acquisition. The roles of the Committee have expanded over the years to include:

Natural Resource Value Criteria

  • Ecological Quality – quality of species or habitat, degree of alteration or degradation, level of restoration required
  • Rarity of Species or Habitat – uniqueness, number of threatened, endangered or species of special concern supported by the property
  • Importance to Water Resources – protection of or degradation to portable water supply or aquatic environment
  • Connectivity – proximity to existing conservation lands or planned corridor, size of connection

Conservation Easements for Agricultural Land

In addition to the natural resource value criteria, considerations for acquisition of easements for agricultural land include:

  • Land quality for agricultural use - prime, unique, local or state-wide importance
  • Economic viability - size, on-site farm infrastructure, proximity to off-site farm infrastructure
  • Compatibility of surrounding uses
  • Degree of development pressure - proximity to the urban service boundary, zoning, residential development
  • Proximity to other protected agricultural, environmental lands or wildlife corridors/greenways
  • Enhancement or preservation of wildlife habitat, air or water quality, hydrology, ground water recharge, scenic, historic, or other cultural features

Tree Advisory Board

  • Develop a tree management program for trees on county property
  • Promote awareness of the county's tree canopy through educational programs
  • Review grant requirements and prepare proposals to fund tree management programs
  • Coordinate the county's observance of Arbor Day each year

Implementation of Conservation and Parks Project Referendum

The referendum, approved by Manatee County voters in 2020, established a 0.15 mill ad valorem tax and issuance of up to $50,000,000 in bonds to finances the acquisition, improvement, and management of land to protect water resources, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, and provide parks.  More about the implementation of the referendum is provided on the Environmental Lands Program webpage.

Last updated January 25, 2022, the full details of the "Manatee County Environmental Land Management and Acquisition Ordinance" can be found in Municode.  The work of ELMAC carried out in the Environmental Lands Program.

Membership Requirements

Seventeen (17) volunteer, year-round residents of Manatee County are appointed from the following categories:

  • A member from the Florida Engineering Society (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member schooled in a natural science: ecology, biology, botany, etc. (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member with background or education in active outdoor sports (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member of a local environmental group (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member recommended by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Natural Resources Committee
  • An employee of the Manatee County School Board (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member with background/education in banking, finance, or real estate (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A member engaged in the agricultural business of farming, ranching or commercial horticulture (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A representative of Keep Manatee Beautiful, Inc. (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A resident of Manatee County (appointed by all Commissioners)
  • A resident of District One (appointed by District 1 Commissioner)
  • A resident of District Two (appointed by District 2 Commissioner)
  • A resident of District Three (appointed by District 3 Commissioner)
  • A resident of District Four (appointed by District 4 Commissioner)
  • A resident of District Five (appointed by District 5 Commissioner)
  • A resident of Manatee County (appointed by District 6, At large Commissioner)
  • A resident of Manatee County (appointed by District 7, At large Commissioner)


Two ELMAC seats are accepting applications until July 11, 2022. 

  • A member of an Environmental Group (3-year initial term)
  • A member engaged in Banking, Finance or Real Estate (3-year initial term)

The online Advisory Board Application must be submitted to be considered for appointment.  Advisory Board positions are advertised as openings become available.  Please review the Current Openings before applying to ensure ELMAC is accepting applications.  Advisory Board applications cannot be held for future openings.   


Bimonthly meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the odd numbered months at 6:00 p.m., however the January, July and September meetings are the second Monday due to holidays.  The ELMAC meeting schedule is maintained in the online County WebCalendar.  On occasion, the meeting location, date, or time may change, so please check the County WebCalendar prior to attending.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Minutes for Advisory Boards are taken and managed by the Manatee County Clerks' Office.

ELMAC Meeting Agendas:

April 19, 2022
May 02, 2022

Advisory Board Members

Name Term Expires Seat
Chris Kolb 1/2023 Florida Engineering Society
Environmental group
Scott Tussing, Chairperson 9/2022 Education in active outdoor sports
Jennifer Hoffman 3/2023 Keep Manatee Beautiful representative
Mike Burton 3/2025 Chamber of Commerce Environ. Committee
Brad Hawkins 7/2022 Banking, Finance or Real Estate
Randal Cooper 3/2025 Agricultural Community
Charlie Kennedy
Manatee County School District
David Landers 3/2025 Schooled in Natural Sciences
Thomas Loeffler 3/2024 At large
Lorraine Prosser 3/2024 Resident of District 1
Mason Gravley 3/2024 Resident of District 2
Craig Copemen 3/2024 Resident of District 3
Betsy Benac 3/2024 Resident of District 4 
Terry McKamey 3/2025 Resident of District 5
Rusty Chinnis 3/2025 Resident of District 6 (At large)
Carol Ann Felts 3/2024 Resident of District 7 (At large)
Commissioner James Satcher 1/2023 Board of County Commission Liaison
Commissioner Carol Whitmore  1/2023 Board of County Commission Alternate Liaison


  • Debra Woithe, Environmental Lands Program Manager
  • (941) 742-5923 ext. 6052
  • Email Us