Project Information:

  • Nonnative and invasive vegetation was identified at Sawgrass Lake Park and the surrounding water management area.
  • This invasive vegetation is harmful to local habitats because it replaces beneficial native plants and provides fewer opportunities for native wildlife to thrive.
  • In November 2011, the Southwest Florida Water Management District began a habitat enhancement project to remove the invasive vegetation.
  • Once this vegetation is removed, the District will install native plants throughout the park.
  • The project is expected to be complete by spring 2013.
  • This enhancement project, along with the ongoing restoration project, will significantly improve the park’s habitats and the lake’s water quality.

Project Benefits:

  • Improved habitat for local and migratory wildlife
  • Increased number of native species in the area
  • Improved stormwater flow and treatment

Nonnative Invasive Plants:

Nonnative invasive plants are originally from somewhere other than Florida and spread aggressively into natural areas. They invade the habitat of native vegetation and replace natural plant communities. Removal of these plants at Sawgrass Lake Park, combined with the installation of native plants, will improve the health of the overall ecosystem.

Examples of nonnative plants that will be removed:

Click on photo for larger image

Brazilian Pepper

This plant is now considered one of the most invasive species in Florida. It grows next to water and crowds out mangroves and other native plants that provide a high-quality habitat.

Air Potato

This quick-growing, large-leafed vine spreads continuously and shades out any plants growing beneath it. Vines sprout and become new vines, twisting around each other to form a thick mat.

Chinese Tallow Tree

Large specimens of this invasive tree can produce 100,000 seeds that may be eaten and dispersed by birds. The leaves and fruit are toxic to cattle and cause sickness in humans. The trees become established where they do not belong and crowd out native species.

Guinea Grass

This invasive weed suppresses and displaces native plants. It usually grows in large bunches in a wide variety of soils, in both sun and shade. It can survive long, dry periods and its seeds are dispersed by wind, birds and flowing water.

For more information, contact Mike Dalsis, SWIM Program environmental scientist, at 1-800-836-0797 (FL only), ext. 2083.

Sawgrass Lake Restoration Project »

Sawgrass Lake Park Recreation Page »

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