Wetlands Management Plan Updates
The following section briefly summarizes the progress, updates or schedule of the 15 tasks outlined in the “The Preserve at Wilderness Lake Community Development District (CCD) Management Plan for Stormwater System, Natural Wetlands and Wetland Buffer Areas” prepared on April 29, 2013. Updates that occurred in the last month to these tasks are in bold print below:
1. Aquatic Weed Control Program
Perform monthly aquatic weed control in the thirty-nine stormwater ponds. Treat unhealthy weeds and algae and remove trash/debris. Specific follow-up treatments for slender spikerush, hydrilla and duckweed were applied to Stormwater Pond Nos. 12, 14, 16, 21, 22, 25, 26, 31, 35, 36 and 40.
Update: GHS continues the mechanical removal of grasses in order to promote the long-term reduction of herbicide use. These grasses were vital in allowing us to begin cycling the ponds away from heavy herbicide use that occurred in the past. These grasses helped absorb fertilizer runoff, minimized algae growth and significantly reduced the amount of copper-based treatments required throughout the community.
GHS began the maintenance of sump areas located throughout the community that are not depicted on the current maintenance map. These areas will be added to the maintenance map in March. GHS cleaned out the drainage sump associated with Stormwater Pond No. 26 located behind a residence on Grasmere Drive.
2. Grass Carp Permitting and Installation
Stormwater Pond Nos. 25 and 26 would benefit from the installation of grass carp to help control the submerged aquatic vegetation.
Stormwater Pond Nos. 12, 35, 36 and 40 are problematic with hydrilla or slender spikerush.
Update: Triploid Grass Carp Permit No. TG-0031681 was obtained from the FFWCC. Grass carp were installed in Stormwater Pond Nos. 35 and 36 on February 18, 2014. Barriers for Stormwater Pond Nos. 25 and 26 will be constructed and installed in the next couple of weeks.
3. Littoral Plant Installation
The installation of desirable plants into the stormwater ponds will begin to minimize long-term use of herbicides to control unwanted weeds and algae.
GHS has installed littoral plantings in Stormwater Pond Nos. 3 and 4 and a portion of No. 5. In the spring of 2014, GHS recommends that Stormwater Pond Nos. 5, 11, 15, 22 and 35 be considered for littoral plantings.
4. Install Aeration Equipment
Several ponds would benefit with the installation of aerators or fountains to help oxygenate the water and reduce overall algae growth.
Update: GHS prepared and submitted a request to S. Brizendine to redirect funds from this task toward the permitting and installation of grass carp in eleven additional ponds. The cost of installing a fountain for one of the ponds at WLP will be greater than the budgeted amount. Unfortunately, the existing power sources would require running additional electric lines and/or reworking some circuit panels. Additionally, we have been able to reasonably control algae without the use of aeration to date. In our opinion, GHS believes this money would be better utilized if it was redirected towards the permitting and installation of grass carp in additional ponds. The grass carp will be productive in the reduction of problematic aquatic weeds and provide a greater long-term investment.
5. Tree Plantings
Installation of tree species along the perimeter of the ponds will increase the aesthetic value of the community. Mature trees around the perimeter of smaller ponds will provide shade which could potentially assist with long-term algae reduction.
Update: This work is proposed to occur during the next rainy season. A list of recommended tree locations and costs will be provided in March.
6. Educational Program
GHS recommends the creation of informational material that can be used to help effectively communicate and educate the WLP residents on the importance of the various areas, why management is needed and when maintenance activities will be performed. GHS will work with WLP management and staff to determine the appropriate format.
GHS submitted a 24 x 36 display board to T. Dobson on November 15, 2013 that highlights the activities of the long-term management plan. The display board was designed so it can be updated monthly to reflect the various activities that have been completed and will be conducted. This map will be displayed at the lodge and be accessible for staff use and residents to review.
7. Cattail Reduction
Most cattail species are native to Florida, however, they are notorious for quick growth and covering large areas of wetlands; ultimately, reducing the overall vegetative diversity. The natural wetland systems located at WLP contain various percentages of cattails from minimal to severe. An annual maintenance program is recommended to control and/or reduce this species. The most cost-effective method is “in-place” treatment.
Update: Wetland G is the next area to be treated.
8. Nuisance/Exotic Species Mapping
Based on existing information, aerial interpretation and field inspections, it is recommended to prepare a thorough map of the existing nuisance/exotic species located throughout the community. This map can be used for future planning, and budgeting. Additionally, updates to this map can track maintenance effectiveness and overall progress.
9. Cormorant Cove (Wetland T) Cattail Treatment and Removal
GHS will seek approval from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to treat and remove the abundance of cattails located in Wetland T. GHS proposes an initial herbicide treatment of 20% of the wetland followed by in-place mowing. The next 20% will be conducted once natural recruitment is achieved in the first section. The percentage will be dictated by SWFWMD approval.
Update: GHS prepared and submitted our “Request to Perform Nuisance/Exotic Plant Management in Wetlands and Setback Areas at Wilderness Lake Preserve” to Ms. Kim Dymond with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). This submittal requested SWFWMD’s approval of the removal of cattails in Wetland T (Cormorant Cove) as well as blanket coverage for areas to be maintained in the future.
10. Removal of Trash and Debris
The amount of trash located in the wetlands throughout the community can be characterized as minimal overall. However, GHS recommends performing trash removal days from the wetland areas to keep the areas pristine. This task can be conducted or coordinated in conjunction with WLP staff and/or volunteers. This work will be completed during the dry season.
11. Wetland Buffer Maintenance (Wood Line)
WLP staff is responsible for maintaining the wetland buffer areas from nuisance/exotic species and vines in areas of high traffic. These areas have been divided into twelve sections. It is the goal of WLP staff to complete one of these sections per month. Once the initial maintenance has been completed, GHS will perform herbicide treatment of any nuisance/exotic species re-growth.
Update: WLP staff finalized wood line trimming activities for Maintenance Areas 9 and 12.
For 2013/2014, WLP staff has completed wood line trimming activities in Maintenance Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
12. Upland Buffer Planting (North of 7725 Stoneleigh Drive)
WLP wetland staff has recently cleared a strip of weedy vegetation along the wetland edge adjacent to Stoneleigh Drive. GHS recommends the installation of 15 three-gallon pine and/or oak trees and 100 one-gallon sand cordgrass in the strip to enhancement the area and provide aesthetic protection to the wetland.
This area has been re-graded, stabilized and sodded. Per the Board decision, GHS installed two 30-gallon weeping willows on October 26, 2013. Hand watering of these trees is ongoing.
The originally proposed planting scope was revised. A portion of the budget available for this task is available to utilize towards other/new tasks. GHS will submit recommendations to Mr. Brizendine for future consideration.
13. Removal of Grape Vine
GHS recommends the chemical treatment and follow-up removal of large patches of grape vine and other nuisance/exotic species located in high traffic areas. These patches of grape vine and nuisance/exotic species are beginning to choke out native trees and vegetation.
a. Site A – Located at (Cypress Tree Ct)
b. Site B – Located on North Side of Cormorant Cove across from Wetland T
c. Site C – Located on north side of Cardinalwood Lane
d. Site D – Located on south side of Cardinalwood Lane
e. Site E – Located on the north side of Minnow Brook Way
Update: GHS began grape vine and nuisance/exotic species removal in Sites C and D. Sites A and B will commence in the upcoming weeks.
14. Professional Oversight of WLP Wetland Staff and Herbicide Treatment of Wetland Buffers
GHS will provide monthly professional oversight of WLP wetland staff. The professional oversight will assist with maintenance scheduling, prioritizing areas of concern, making recommendations and evaluating the time spent by WLP wetland staff.
GHS will also provide herbicide treatment for WLP wetland staff in the wetland buffer areas that have been completed.
Update: This work occurs on a monthly basis.
15. Private Resident Consultation
GHS will provide private resident consultation concerning wetland and setback concerns. Consultation will include; meeting the resident on their property to review the areas, discussing potential options to best achieve their objectives while protecting the environment and protecting the CDD’s assets.
Update: Resident consultation was provided at 21610 Draycott Way.