Wildflower Preserve restoration update: Plans still on track, even after heavy rains

October 2, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – Despite the heavy rains earlier this month, the habitat restoration project at Wildflower is continuing to move ahead on schedule. Earthmoving work to modify and expand the freshwater wetlands on the eastern side of the site is now largely complete and the contractor has returned to the western estuarine areas to continue grading and interconnection activities. 
Thanks to funds contributed by Lemon Bay Conservancy donors in last winter’s Plants & Pathways fundraising campaign, the first phase of upland native planting work has been completed in seven planting zones in western and central areas of the preserve. 
LBC contracted with Sandhill Environmental Services to plant more than 3,000 trees, shrubs, and clumping grasses. 
The plantings include 12 varieties of trees, nine types of shrubs, and two types of grasses. The plant mix was varied by zone with consideration to site elevations and potential salt influence in each area.
In another project funded by LBC contributors, work has begun on setting the pilings for the pedestrian bridge that will traverse the newly created east-west channel in the estuarine area.
The bridge will become an important part of the new trail network that will allow LBC members and donors to explore the preserve’s restored habitats.
While the preserve remains closed to human visitors until project completion for safety reasons, a variety of wading birds are already visiting the new wetlands.   
Board member Eva Furner, LBC’s committee chair for the Wildflower project, shared the photo above of two recent avian visitors.