Cortez FISH Preserve gallery

FISH Preserve wetlands draw white ibis and other shorebirds. - Cindy Lane | Sun

The FISH Preserve is nearly 100 acres east of 119th St. W. in the historic fishing village of Cortez, whose residents began raising money more than three decades ago to purchase the land, one plot at a time, with proceeds from the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival held each February.

FISH, the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, intended the preserve to create a buffer between encroaching development and Sarasota Bay, known as “The Kitchen,” because Cortezians find much of their food there.

FISH continues to work on restoring and expanding the preserve, clearing it of invasive species, planting native vegetation and working on plans for hiking and kayak trails.