Featured Projects - Restoration
In 2019, Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) completed the purchase of 12.48 acres to preserve important habitat. This represents the first purchase of lands significant to the conservation of native plants by FNPS.
FNPS wrote a management plan for the property and is actively working to maintain it with mechanical fuel reduction as needed, prescribed fire, and control of non-native invasive species.
Thanks to the success of our Citizen Science Project to Map Rare Plant Species, we were able to map an undeveloped area of sandhill that if protected, will preserve important wildlife habitat and a natural corridor connecting publicly-protected conservation lands. The project area (aka "The Warea Area") is home to numerous rare plant and animal species including Clasping Warea (Warea amplexifolia), a critically endangered plant species, the Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi), Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus), Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus), and Sherman’s Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani).
Working with our conservation partner, Putnam Land Conservancy (PLC), the first property was acquired by PLC and preserved in 2014. In 2018, Conservation Florida also donated a parcel to the project. Working together, we are engaging the assistance of scientists, students and concerned citizens while we continue to acquire properties, monitor rare species and habitat, and to manage these properties for the benefit of the species that depend on them for their existence.
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FNPS is monitoring populations of two extremely rare mints, longspurred balm (Dicerandra cornutissima) and blushing balm (Dicerandra modesta). Both are federally and state listed as Endangered. We are also assisting land managers in habitat restoration that will benefit the mint populations as well as a suite of native species that depend on our public lands for their survival.
Dicerandra cornutissima occurs only in dry yellow-sand scrubs near Ocala in Marion and Sumter counties: the largest protected population is in the Cross Florida Greenway. A smaller population is also protected by the Putnam Land Conservancy.
Dicerandra modesta is endemic to Polk County where it is present at the Horse Creek Scrub Tract of the Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management Area managed by the South Florida Water Management District. The population is bisected by the right-of-way for the SabalTrail pipeline and a Duke Energy transmission line. The Florida Native Plant Society is monitoring the population and restoring the area damaged during the installation of the pipeline.
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In January 2013, a Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) member living near some of the last scrub habitat in Orlando reported that bulldozers had begun to level part of the scrub and that an Eagle’s nest was bulldozed in the process. She immediately contacted several government agencies, FNPS and the Sierra Club.
FNPS and Sierra Club members set up meetings with agency staff in Orange County to find out what was going on, what permits had been received by the landowners, and what the future plans were for the scrub habitat. Once FNPS and Sierra Club learned that the development plans would destroy this rare scrub habitat and many endangered and endemic plant species, we requested and received permission to rescue (salvage) the plant community at the development site.
A protected recipient site (about 3 miles away) with the same habitat was secured and many workdays were scheduled to both prepare the recipient site and then rescue the scrub community. The recipient site - Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake had 2 areas of intact but disturbed scrub that was suffering from some non-native species invasion and fire suppression. Once the planting areas were prepared and the rescued plants hardened off at Green Isle Gardens (our native nursery partner), numerous workdays were scheduled to plant the rescues.
Since the completion of the plantings, FNPS has continued to work on scrub restoration at Bill Frederick Park, in addition to monitoring the rare plants at the restoration sites. Staff from the park and the Orlando Parks Division have been amazing partners in this project and in 2019 requested an expansion of one of the planting areas. They have created educational signage, helped install new fencing, and have done a lot of chainsaw work to reduce the fuel load.
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Due to the topography of Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area in Ocala National Forest, water flows from the parking area and surrounding uplands downhill toward the springs. Foot traffic and other disturbances had worn down the existing vegetation on the trail and exposed the soil. During rain events, the soil would be deposited into the springs.
The staff at US Forest Service for the Ocala National Forest decided to relocate the visitor path and engineer a system of berms designed to slow down the rain water, disperse the runoff, filter out sediments, reduce erosion, and stabilize the shoreline of the springs.
The Florida Native Plant Society worked with the staff at the US Forest Service to install 14,000 Florida native plants on the berms. All the plants installed were native to region and provide habitat and food for native pollinators and wildlife.
Thank you to our plant progagation partner Green Isle Gardens nursery.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/US Forest Service
Participating in the Land Management Reviews for public lands purchased under the Florida Forever and P2000 programs has been one of FNPS' most successful project efforts.
Since 2009, FNPS members have participated in nearly 100% of all state land management reviews.
Habitat restoration is a frequent topic on the state Land Mangement Reveiws.
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