Invasive species removal in the upland areas at Wildflower Preserve, the first phase of our habitat restoration project, is well underway. Over 40 acres on the project site have been cleared of invasive vegetation. The Hydro-Ax mulching machine operator is continuing to remove dense stands of Brazilian Pepper and the hand-clearing crew is following up to remove larger trees as well as vegetation in areas that are not accessible to the large machine.
As the acreage is cleared of exotics, the old contours of the golf course are re-emerging. Beautiful old growth slash pines and cabbage palms are visible. Raised areas associated with former greens and tees are apparent. Faded signs remind us of the land’s history.
In many areas the Brazilian Pepper was so dense that we have uncovered some surprises as the vegetation is removed. On the eastern side of the property, several small wetlands areas have emerged from the “jungle”.
We’ve also uncovered the remains of several old golf carts, various other vehicle parts, and a variety of “junk” that we’ll need to remove before we begin replanting next summer.
We’ve located an old well that was associated with the golf course. Initial testing of the well water suggests that it is too salty for irrigation, but our volunteer biologist, Dr. Bill Dunson, has some ideas about possibly using it in the future as part of educational programs on water quality and aquatic species.
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