This tract was purchased by the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) in the late 1990s as mitigation for about 200 acres of wetland destruction associated with the construction of the Florida Turnpike Enterprise’s “Suncoast Parkway”.
When the Florida Department of Transportation bought the land and transferred it to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, it retained the right to allow “Ridge Road” to be built in an east-west direction, linking U.S. 41, U.S. 19 and the Suncoast Parkway.
However, the loss of extensive habitat in the Serenova tract and the division of important wildlife habitat by a road corridor is causing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carefully review whether to issue the permit to Pasco County. Even though the original Serenova mitigation deal technically allows the Corps of Engineers to consider a permit for the Ridge Road Extension, it does not guarantee its approval. The Serenova Preserve is a highly important ecological treasure under the management of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. This is a “Special Place” that should be defended against encroachment by a new highway that will severely compromise its wildlife habitat values.