WUFT News

Disney Conservation Funds Central Florida Restoration Project

By on November 6th, 2013
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has given a $25,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to restore 20 acres of scrub habitat in the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area.

MyFWCmedia / Flickr

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has given a $25,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to restore 20 acres of scrub habitat in the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area.

A Disney conservation fund is lending a hand to one of Central Florida’s unique habitats.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has given a $25,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a three-year restoration project in the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area.

The project will focus on restoring 20 acres of scrub habitat in the Lake Wales Ridge area, which is located throughout Highlands and Polk Counties, FWC wildlife biologist Nicole Ranalli said.

“The habitat on Lake Wales Ridge is one of the most unique habitats in the world,” she said. “It has some of the most endangered species and some of the highest number of endemic species in North America.”

The restoration project will help native species such as the gopher tortoise, Florida scrub-jay and Southeastern American kestrel survive more happily in the scrub habitat, Ranalli said. Restoration work will involve volunteers removing invasive exotic plants and reestablishing native plants such as scrub palmetto, scrub holly and saw palmetto.

The main invasive plant that will be targeted is the Rosa nitida, which Ranalli described as an extremely prevalent plant that fruits and flowers constantly throughout the year. She said volunteers will remove the invasive plants by spraying them with herbicides and hand-pulling those which are surrounded by endangered plant species.

“It’s gonna be one of those uphill battles for volunteers and staff to keep a handle on the exotic plants,” she said. “It’s going to be a constant effort to keep up but well worth it in the end.”

Before the FWC received its grant, a volunteer group called the Ridge Rangers started restoring the land, Ranalli said.

Ridge Rangers coordinator Bill Parken said his 40-person group has collected roughly 12,000 seeds and acorns over the last few months. Those seeds will be potted in a local greenhouse and planted in the scrub habitat.

Central Florida Conservation Director for the Nature Conservancy Tricia Martin said Disney’s conservation fund has a long, strong history of environmental assistance in the area.

“This area has had a close working relationship with Disney for a couple of decades,” she said. “They have an environmental legacy that spans more than 50 years of commitment to responsible development and one of their largest legacies is their work here in Central Florida.”

Martin is also part of the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem Working Group, a volunteer group that ensures the long-term protection of the native plants, animals and natural communities of this unique region of Florida. Representatives from organizations such as the Florida State Parks, the Florida Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy make up the group.

“We protect nature and the Lake Wales Ridge ecosystem for a multitude of reasons,” Martin said, “From protecting our own well-being to protecting the diversity of life on earth for its own sake and making sure we pass along a sustainable future to generations to come.”


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

More Stories in Environment

Oak Hall High School volunteers remove the wooden fence that Bevelle Creek’s previous owners built to stabilize the shoreline. The fence was removed to allow access to the creek during the restoration project.

Beville Creek Restoration Project Underway

The city of Gainesville closed Cofrin Nature Park in order to complete a restoration project on Beville Creek. The goal of the project is to repair the eroding shoreline and provide new areas to the creek where wildlife can gather. The park is slated to reopen sometime in the fall.


Suwannee

Suwannee Lake Renovations Still Progressing

Almost two years after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission closed Suwannee Lake to the public for renovations, some of the changes are now visible. For almost 50 years, the lake has provided a natural habitat for wildlife in […]


Barr Hammock Preserve is the most recent area where bear-human conflict has occurred in Alachua County. No one was injured in the June incident.

Experts Caution Against Bear Hunting in Alachua County

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission met yesterday to review a proposal which would allow bear hunting on specific areas throughout Florida. Wildlife groups question if hunting is the solution to an increasing number of bear encounters.


Swamp Head Brewery, with the help of the University of Florida's Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences department, released 300 bluegills into what will soon become a self-sustaining wetlands. Photo courtesy of Brandon Nappy.

Swamp Head Brewery Introduces Species to New Conservation

When Swamp Head Brewery moved into their new location, off Southwest 34th Street in Gainesville, in January, they saved one acre of their land for conservation. The brewery is working toward creating an environment that is reflective of their tasting room, “The Wetlands.”


Alachua County Fire Rescue Station #25 is one of the government

buildings that is getting a solar roof installed. After assessing the buildings, 24 were approved. Rebecca Rubin / WUFT News

Fire Station Is First Building In Hawthorne To Get Solar Overhaul

Alachua County Fire Rescue Station 25 will be the first county building in Hawthorne to be outfitted with solar panels. The station is one of 24 buildings determined viable for the county’s solar panel initiative, which seeks to cut energy consumption.


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