Wildflower Preserve Habitat Restoration Underway!

Lemon Bay Conservancy (LBC) is pleased to announce that construction is now underway on our $1.17 million habitat restoration project at Wildflower Preserve! With funding from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and project leadership from SWFWMD, over the next 18 months, we will be removing invasive species from the Preserve, improving the existing wetlands, adding new freshwater and estuarine wetland areas, and planting native trees and shrubs.

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The initial phase of the project, invasive species removal, has begun and will continue through July. During this time, contractors will be using heavy equipment to clear and mulch Brazilian Pepper and other exotic vegetation. While it can seem sad to see the removal of growing vegetation, clearing invasive species is a necessary step to preparing the land for replanting with native trees and shrubs.

The contractors will be working with chain saws to remove invasive growth close to existing native plants and to fell larger invasive trees, including Australian Pines and Melaleuca. Periodically, through the next year, licensed professionals will also be onsite using herbicide applications to limit regrowth of undesirable species.

For safety reasons, Wildflower Preserve trails and land areas are closed while work is underway and until such time as inspections show that the areas are again safe for visitor use. It is very important to respect these closures and stay well clear of the construction activities when the contractors are working near the Preserve borders.

A-Jun2016_0009The second phase of the project work, the wetlands modifications and expansion, is currently projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016. Native planting work should begin by the summer of 2017.

The equipment being used for the Brazilian Pepper clearing is a specialized machine called a Hydro Ax.  It is equipped with a forestry mulching mowing head.

Throughout the restoration, we’ll be posting progress reports here on our website and our Facebook page.

Please direct any project questions to the LBC office at 941-830-8922 or lbconservancy@comcast.net.

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Lemon Bay Conservancy

About Lemon Bay Conservancy

Founded in 1971, Lemon Bay Conservancy is a not-for-profit land trust based in Englewood, Florida. Our long-range vision is: "To forever protect and preserve the natural features of Lemon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, their surrounding waters and uplands, and vital fish and wildlife habitat, through property preservation, environmental education and advocacy for sustainable land and water conservation policies and practices." To support that long-range vision, we focus our mission in three areas: Saving Land; Environmental education; and Advocacy for sustainable environmental policies.

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