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The Alligator Creek Habitat Restoration Project


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The Alligator Creek Habitat Restoration Project is located on a 1,600-acre site that is owned and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and is part of the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. The site is located south of Punta Gorda and abuts Charlotte Harbor proper.

The restoration activities in the current phase of work include construction of six project areas (4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 15), which were identified in an overall site feasibility study completed in 2000. The six areas identified involve the restoration of approximately 125 acres of coastal ecosystems through hydrologic restoration of mosquito ditches, removal of exotic plant species, the creation of a filter marsh system, and one year of quarterly site maintenance. This project is adjacent to and will complement 735 acres of previously restored habitats on site. The project includes areas that have been extensively ditched. While some native plant communities exist, some areas are dominated by various non-native and nuisance plant species such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius). This is a Surface Water Improvement and Management Program (SWIM) sponsored project of the District. The overall project is being performed in conjunction with FDEP.

Restoration objectives for this project include:

  • Restore/enhance over 84 acres of freshwater wetlands, through restoration of seasonal wet and dry patterns and removal of extensive Brazilian pepper cover
  • Restore/enhance over 21 acres of low saline, estuarine wetlands by ditch plugging, spoil pile and berm removal, including removal of the extensive Brazilian pepper cover
  • Creation of 2.2 acres of freshwater, emergent wetland and filter marsh littoral zones
  • Enhance over 21 acres of upland habitats by mechanical removal of extensive Brazilian pepper cover along with replanting of native upland/transitional plant species
  • Enhance water quality entering Whidden Branch Creek and Charlotte Harbor by constructing a 1.8-acre filter marsh to remove pollutants and sediments entering the site.
  • Quarterly maintenance of all enhanced/restored/created wetland and upland habitats for a three year period to insure the success of these habitats

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