July 2018 – If you love to paddle the Turner River in Big Cypress or spot wading birds as you drive the Tamiami Trail, take note:
A three-year effort to restore a broad stretch of wetlands in Big Cypress National Preserve is nearing completion, with benefits for all.
The Big Cypress expects to complete the Ochopee Sheetflow Restoration Project this summer and then celebrate the milestone at a ribbon-cutting event in the fall.
Project accomplishments to date include:
- More than five miles of former farm roads were removed and approximately 320 acres of wetlands reclaimed in the area known as Copeland Prairie.
- The Turner River Canal was plugged in ten places and culverts were installed beneath Turner River Road to restore the natural flow of water in Turner River, one of the most scenic and popular paddling spots in South Florida.
- A similar system of plugs and culverts was installed along Birdon Road to the west, to restore wetlands and reduce saltwater intrusion from Halfway Creek.
The project was a heavy lift, but the Big Cypress had help along the way, from partners like Collier County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the South Florida National Parks Trust, which provided funding support and some volunteer muscle to advance the project.
How You Can Support Your Parks!
SFNPT volunteers are now helping to complete the project and speed restoration by planting trees in restored wetlands.
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