When you explore each of our department divisions below, you will come to recognize all that we do!  We have a passion to preserve and protect our environment in Manatee County, mixed with a compassion for the well-being of our community and its visitors.  From ecological testing of our estuaries’ water quality to organizing yoga classes for the visitors to our beaches to offering classes for healthy relationships, the Parks & Natural Resources Department staff take to heart their responsibilities of ensuring we are all surrounded by a safe and beautiful environment that will enhance the quality of life for all in Manatee County.

Agriculture & Extension Services Division

We provide unbiased, research-based educational programs, materials, and services designed to enhance our citizens’ economic status and/or quality of life; and provide leadership in the conservation and enhancement of natural resources.

With the continuation of urbanization encroaching on the agricultural lands of Manatee County, it is becoming increasingly important to promote a clear understanding of the economic importance of agriculture in Manatee County.

Extension Service  
The Manatee County Extension Service is an educational program which brings the resources of the University of Florida to Manatee County.

4-H Youth Development
4-H is a fun, educational program for young people ages 5-18.  4-H provides educational experiences through a "learn by doing" approach and helps young people acquire knowledge, develop life skills, and form attitudes to enable them to become self-directed, productive, and contributing members of society. 

Gardening & Landscapes
Do you enjoy plants and gardening? Do you enjoy reading and learning? Are you passionate about improving the environmental health of your home, landscape and community? Learn how you can have a beautiful landscape that could save you time, energy and money while protecting our future. 

Marine Resources
The marine extension program is a university-based program of research and education to promote the sustainable use of our marine and coastal resources. Program activities include: habitat protection and restoration, artificial reef development, fisheries and resource management and aquaculture development.  

Water Conservation
We provide university-based information to residents so they may learn to reduce their usage of drinking-quality water for irrigation while maintaining attractive, healthy landscapes.  

Ecological & Marine Services Division

The Ecological Resources section develops funding, partnerships design work, and provides project management for complex habitat restoration, creation, and mitigation projects for the county and provides science based consultation for resource management activities.

The Marine Resources section is tasked with design and repair of waterside components of boat ramp facilities, permitting and maintaining county-owned aids to navigation, channel markers, as well as boating safety and manatee protection zones, investigation and removal of abandoned vessels, permitting, construction, and management of artificial reefs.  Staff work extensively with state and local regulatory and law enforcement personnel regarding issues involving county waters.

Take an interactive tour of Manatee County's boat ramps.   View maps, videos, pictures and other information about our facilities.

Environmental Protection Division

The Environmental Protection Division protects our streams, rivers and bays through the implementation of numerous programs by regulating the land application of domestic wastewater residuals (the semi-solid byproduct of the sewage treatment process), maintaining the county's compliance with its state issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit which ensures our stormwater systems carry the cleanest water possible, reviewing proposed developments for their water quality impacts and collecting and analyzing water samples and implementing management plans in support of numerous local, regional, state and federal water quality programs, including three National Estuary Programs and the USEPA Clean Water Act Program - Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL).  Water resource data collected and evaluated by the department are used to develop watershed management strategies to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and provide the citizens with healthy, productive water bodies.

The Groundwater Management program protects groundwater resources through Pollutant Storage Tanks (PST), Small Quantity Hazardous Waste Generators (SQG) and Water Well Construction Permitting activities.  PST activities ensure that petroleum storage tanks (such as at gas stations) are properly constructed, installed, maintained and where necessary, removed in order to reduce the incidence of leaks or spills.  SQG staff routinely inspect small businesses (such as vehicle repair shops) where small quantities of hazardous wastes are generated to make sure these materials are handled and disposed of safely, thereby reducing environmental impacts and the risks of adverse health, safety and welfare conditions.  The Water Well Construction Permitting activities provide groundwater protection by ensuring the proper installation, maintenance and abandonment of water wells and that the work is done only by licensed contractors and well-informed property owners.  This oversight is critical to making clean water available to the consumer by protecting groundwater supplies from contamination
caused by improper well drilling practices.

This program also enforces the Manatee County Fertilizer Ordinance.  Training and certification are provided to local landscapers on the proper use of fertilizers to reduce the potential nutrient-laden runoff into Manatee County waterways.

Mining Services administers the county's Phosphate Mining and Reclamation Code and provides oversight on major earth-moving projects with a primary focus on phosphate mining and shell pit, or borrow pit operations.  The Phosphate Mining Code provides that mining activities are carried out in the most environmentally sensitive way possible and that reclamation restores the post-mining landscape to productive, beneficial use.

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Division assists other county departments by providing monitoring services for wetland mitigation sites, evaluating compliance of regulated and non-regulated petroleum storage systems and providing assistance in developing and reviewing environmental site assessments.

Programming/Education/Volunteer Division

The Department operates its own customized educational programs within Manatee County's conservation properties.

The Programming, Education and Volunteer Division is responsible for maintaining a diverse offering of programs within Manatee County's conservation properties.  Programs offered, free and fee-based, include hands-on environmental education opportunities and passive outdoor recreational activities designed to accommodate audiences from preschoolers to senior citizens!

This Division is also responsible for the management, direction, and support of the Department's Volunteer Program.  Since 2006, the Department has had more than 2000 individuals donate their time to help out with a variety of activities.  From regular monthly workdays to opportunities for individuals to work weekly, there's a volunteer job for everyone!  Our active volunteer team plays an important role in the care and upkeep of the County's conservation properties.

We are responsible for helping to explain and interpret Manatee County's beautiful preserves.  Join our team for exciting hands-on educational experiences in nature and for fun volunteer events that give participants the opportunity to make a difference in the community.

Monthly Calendar of Events
Parks and Natural Resources Monthly Calendar of Preserve Events - check out the great FREE events happening in YOUR preserves.  The Department offers programs in environmental education, passive outdoor recreation, and volunteer stewardship.  Most of the programs are free to participants and are available for a variety of age levels.

Taking Flight GeoTour
Fifteen geocaches are hidden across Manatee County, exploring the region's birds.  See if your Bird Sleuth skills are up to snuff and find as many caches as you can.

Recreation Division

The Recreation Division is responsible for all county park playgrounds, recreation programs and activities, including the operation of the G.T. Bray Recreation Center.  This 50,000 square foot recreational complex includes a gym,
aquatics facility with a 50 meter pool, dive well, splash ground and kiddie pool, tennis center with tennis, racquetball and pickleball courts, a fitness center, child watch, and a teen center game room.  It also houses multipurpose rooms for youth programs, exercise and group fitness classes, personal training sessions, room rentals for birthday parties and social gatherings, and a catering prep area and Wi-Fi.  Front desk staff is responsible for processing payments for all programs and services offered, racquet repairs and stringing services, and maintaining the clay tennis courts three times per day.  Staff also coordinate all county park and preserve pavilion rentals.

Recreation athletic staff is responsible for the Youth Camp Program, which includes the Summer Blast Camp and specialty camps that provide participants with a variety of supervised recreational activities and field trips.   Athletics staff also coordinate with youth and adult sports organizations and athletic leagues serving 1,000 plus teams on over 70 athletic fields.  The aquatic staff manages three public pools - G.T. Bray, Willie J. "Bro" Clemmons and John H. Marble and two splash grounds at Pride Park and Lincoln Park.  They also offer swim lessons and lifeguard training.  Manatee County partners with Sarasota County to offer the Gulf Coast Senior Games offering 20 plus sporting events to seniors ages 50 and above.

There are two eighteen hole golf courses (Manatee County Golf Course and Buffalo Creek Golf Course) owned by Manatee County and operated by Pope Golf, LLC. They offer year-round play with clubhouse and pro shop facilities.  The County also contracts with United Parks Service, Inc. to run two beach concessions with gift shops at Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach.

Resource Management Division

The Resource Management Division was established to conserve, restore and protect natural resources under ownership or management of Manatee County.  It's primary function is the protection of natural and cultural resources and the fostering of an ethic of stewardship of these resources by providing public access to conservation lands and waterways.

The Land Resources section manages and maintains nearly 30,000 acres contained in 16 public preserves located throughout the county.  This section maintains a wide array of passive and active recreational amenities
and programs including multi-use trails, paddle trails, canoe/kayak launches, boardwalks, observation towers, pavilions, and a recreational hunt program.

Anna Maria Island contains about nine miles of sandy beach coastline which provides citizens abundant recreational activities while at the same time serves as a buffer to lessen the damages to private property, emergency evacuation routes and public property.  Over time, these beaches require renourishment due to coastal storms and natural erosion which displace the sand.  This renourishment effort, as well as regular cleaning and maintenance under the County's beach raking permit, is managed by this department in cooperation and partnership with the State of Florida and the federal government.


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