WUFT News

FWC Drafts Plan To Restore Parts Of Suwannee Ridge

By on September 24th, 2013
The Suwannee Ridge could see renovations to its trails and parking areas with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's 10-year management plan.

Bakr Saliq Muhammad / WUFT News

The Suwannee Ridge could see renovations to its trails and parking areas with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's 10-year management plan.

Suwannee Ridge Wildlife Environmental Area, which occupies 1,428 acres of land in southern Hamilton County, could see an array of improvements if Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s plan to renovate areas within the park is passed.

FWC will present the 10-year Suwannee Ridge management plan that aims to improve habitat restoration of local species, including various threatened and endangered species, on Oct. 3 in Jasper.

David Alden, senior conservation planner at FWC, said the area would not be undergoing any major facility changes.

Hiking trails and parking areas will be improved and maintained. Hunting opportunities will also be made accessible to mobility impaired people, Alden said.

“The plan is to make the area more accessible to the public,” he said.

The park, located between the cities of Jasper and Live Oak, offers recreational activities like fishing, hunting and eight miles of nature trails to visitors.

Founded in 2002 by FWC, Suwannee Ridge serves as a rehabilitation space for local endangered and threatened species, like the gopher tortoise, which is listed as threatened by the state.

The protection of the gopher tortoise was important, Alden said, as it allowed the state to receive mitigation funds to purchase the land.

Monitoring and supporting local wildlife is a core purpose of the Suwannee Ridge, which is home to species such as the Mississippi Kite, Eastern Indigo Snake and white quail.

Suwannee Ridge has an annual recreational carrying capacity of 9,125 individuals, according to Alden. These visitors help support the park’s 18 employees.

Improving FWC’s plan and managing the park for the next 10 years is expected to cost about $909,000, Alden said. Money from the Conservation and Recreation Lands trust fund cover the costs.

Officials from FWC will discuss the plan during a public hearing Thursday Oct. 3 at the Hamilton County Commission Chambers, 207 NE 1st Street, Jasper, Fla.

“We’ll be meeting to get public input on what we’re trying to do,” Alden said.

After the hearing, the plan will be internally approved by FWC, he said. It will then be submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of State Lands, after which it will receive final delegation by the Acquisition and Restoration Council.

The council will also hold a public hearing for final input on the plan in Tallahassee.

“The process may take between eight months and one year,” Alden said.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Billy McDaniel (left), Tommy Hines (right) catch a gag grouper at Cedar Key, trolling in 50 feet of water.

FWC Surveys Local Fishermen About Gulf Species

The FWC is conducting surveys to discover trends in species of fish being caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Local fishermen agree that monitoring the fish is important, but some question the method of data collection.


Gina Hall, the current president of the Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors, said that residential sales in the Stephen Foster neighborhood have been improving. Local realtor Darlene Pifalo said the home pictured above sold in an average amount time on the market after the price was lowered slightly.

Stephen Foster Residents Hope For Neighborhood Revival

The Cabot-Koppers wood treatment plant became an EPA Superfund site in 1983 after dioxins contaminated the soil and underground aquifer. Now that cleanup of residential property was completed in November, the residents look toward the future.


Frosted elfin butterfly

Butterfly Study Calls Attention To Prescribed Burning Practices

A recent study by a University of Florida graduate researches the effects of prescribed fires on the elfin frosted butterfly. The species requires fire to survive, but is also prone to damage from excessive burning.


Containerized longleaf pine seedlings are removed from a growing tray. They are then counted and placed in a wax coated cardboard shipping box.

Longleaf Pine Restoration Helps Environment And Economy

Longleaf pine is being reintroduced into the United States ecosystem. If the restoration plan is successful, this type of pine would benefit the environment and the economy.


Bert the bluff oak resides outside the Nuclear Science Center on the University of Florida campus. Plans to construct the Innovation Nexus Building in that area for the College of Engineering have gone through several variations in order to save him and four other heritage trees in the area.

For Trees Like Bert, Special Titles Do Not Always Guarantee Special Protections

The Florida Champion Tree Register recognizes the largest tree in the state of each noninvasive species. It’s the next step of recognition up from heritage tree status, like that of Bert, the bluff oak that has affected plans for the Innovation Nexus Building at UF.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments