Brazilians, guinea grass, schefflera, bowstring hemp … you gotta go.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Gasparilla Island State Park will conduct a natural resource restoration project beginning the week of Monday, Nov. 7. It is anticipated the project will last about three weeks.
The project will consist of the removal of Brazilian pepper, lead tree and other invasive exotic plants from an 87-acre interior area of the park off Belcher Road.
This work will aide in the maintenance of the park’s natural Florida habitats, including maritime hammock, coastal strand and estuarine tidal swamp.
Access to this area will be limited during treatment but all other park facilities and amenities will remain fully open.
The Interior Parcel is divided into two sections, Area 1 and Area 2. In 2008, Area 2 was treated, leaving the area in maintenance condition. In 2009, Area 1 was treated by hydro axe, treating six of the eight acres. Attempts have been made since these treatments to maintain the areas, but without re-treatment the sites will fall back into their initial state within the next two years.
The parcel is comprised of maritime hammock, coastal strand, and estuarine tidal swamp. There are pockets of medium density invasive exotics but most of the parcel is comprised of low density invasive exotics (see map).
The estimated invasive exotic vegetation detected within the 87 acre project site is: Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) – 5%; Lead Tree (Leucaena leucocephala) – 20%; Guinea Grass (Panicum maximum) – <5%; Wedelia (Sphagneticola trilobata) – 5%; Balsam Apple (Momordica charantia) – >5%; Australian Pine (Casuarina equistifolia) – >5%; Bowstring Hemp (Sanseveria hyacinthoides) – >5%; Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) – >5%; Laurel Fig (Ficuc microcarpa); Washingtonia Palm (Washingtonia robusta); Schefflera (Schefflera actinophylla); Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) – > 5%.
For more information on Florida State Parks, visit FloridaStateParks .org. For details about the project, call Park Manager Chad Lach at 964-0375.
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