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Volunteers needed for Restoration Project in Biscayne National Park

Ellen Siegel @ BISC 10.2015

May 2017 – Biscayne National Park is recruiting volunteers to help restore the 2nd of two spoil islands in Biscayne Bay this summer by planting 1,000 native plants and trees – a project supported with grant funding from the SFNPT. See below for details, and contact amanda_bourque@nps.gov (the project manager) by email if interested.

Pictured above: SFNPT trustee Ellen Siegel plants native vegetation on a spoil island in Biscayne Bay in 2015. Want to support restoration efforts in the park without breaking a sweat ??? Make a contribution to our Biscayne Stewardship Fund.

Biscayne National Park seeks volunteers to plant native vegetation for spoil island restoration project

The development of Miami-Dade County has involved extensive dredging of canals, harbors, and channels.  These dredging efforts created spoil islands throughout the waters of Biscayne Bay.  Spoil islands can be problematic from an environmental standpoint.  Dredged material erodes from rain, storms, and waves, causing turbidity that can affect seagrasses and water quality.  Spoil islands are typically overgrown by exotic vegetation, and provide low quality habitat to coastal birds and wildlife.

The good news is that spoil islands can be restored to a much more environmentally healthy state.  Restoring spoil islands reduces water quality impacts to coastal waters and provides improved habitat for coastal birds and wildlife.  Further, such projects offer opportunities to involve and educate the public about environmental restoration, and the chance to observe birds and wildlife in their native habitat.

Biscayne National Park (www.nps.gov/bisc) is restoring spoil islands within the park boundary.  In 2015, with the help of many awesome volunteers, the park restored one of the two islands off Princeton Canal (also known as C-102).  Now, restoration of the second island is underway, and we need volunteers!  Exotic vegetation, including Brazilian pepper, seaside mahoe, and latherleaf, is being cleared from the island, while leaving mangroves and other native vegetation intact.

In June, we’ll be planting the “naked” island with over 1,000 native plants and trees, and we need your help!

Get involved with this exciting project!  We’ll be planting 27-30 June 2017.  Volunteers will meet up at 9 am at Biscayne National Park Headquarters at Convoy Point in Homestead, FL.  We’ll boat over to the island for a fun day of planting, fertilizing, and mulching.  We’ll have lunch on the island, do a little more work, and return by boat to Convoy Point by 3 PM.

UPDATE: New dates just added: Wednesday July 5, Thursday July 6, Friday July 7.

Volunteers should be ready for hard work in the hot sun, wear close-toed shoes that can get wet, and bring hats and lunch.  The park will provide water, sunscreen, bug spray, gloves, and tools.

Planting is hard work, but rewarding, important, and in a beautiful setting!

If interested, please contact Amanda Bourque at amanda_bourque@nps.gov and indicate the day/s you are interested in volunteering.  Please be sure to provide your email and phone number.  Volunteers should be high school age or older.  Volunteers must commit to an entire shift (i.e. a minimum of one full day 9am-3pm).  Space is limited, so if you sign up, please be sure to show up!

Thanks!  Please share!  Hope to see you in June!

Amanda Bourque, Ph.D.

Ecologist, Habitat Restoration Program

Biscayne National Park

9700 SW 328 Street

Homestead FL 33033

786-335-3626 office

305-230-1190 fax

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