3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Annemarie Post
Session Name Posters - Social, Behavioral, and Economic Aspects of Nutrient Management
Category Social, behavioral, and economic aspects of nutrient Management
Poster Number 47
Author(s) Annemarie Post,  UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension (Presenting Author)
  Community efforts to improve water flow and filtration through natural area restoration
  The Sarasota County Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program for Community Associations provides outreach programs to educate communities on strategies to preserve and restore natural areas as part of its outreach efforts. Assistance and information on identification of non-native invasive plants, strategies to remove non-native invasive plants, selection of appropriate native replacement plants, and management strategies, is provided during on-site outreach programs. In addition, grant funding opportunities to help these efforts are researched and discussed. Of the 402 community associations that received on-site educational programs during the length of the program (2000-2009), 11% (44) reported that they have removed invasive plants and restored natural areas or stormwater retention areas. One such effort took place in the Calusa Lakes community, where about 16 acres of wetland preserve areas were infested with Brazilian Pepper. During 2006-2009, volunteers worked to remove Brazilian Pepper in about 12.5 acres (80%) of the infested areas, and replanted appropriate native wetland species such as Wax Myrtle, Dahoon Holly, Red Maple and Sweetbay Magnolia. Plans are underway for a collaborative effort to remove non-native invasive plants between Calusa Lakes and their neighbor, Mission Valley Golf Course. Invasive plants alter the functions and value of natural and stormwater retention areas by displacing native species and disrupting natural processes such as water flow and filtration. Preserving and restoring natural areas will improve natural processes, and improve water quality and quantity. As an added benefit, this project brought the community together, and proved to be a positive community building effort.