Restoration of anniversary island's native ecosystem

John C. Alleyne, Christine A. Claus, Dale W. Armstrong


Anniversary Island (CW-1) is the most interesting island in the Pinellas Intra-coastal Waterway. The island evolved from composites of dredged material from construction and expansion of navigation channels for the Pinellas Intra-coastal Waterway. CW-1 encompasses 2.73 total acreage with 384 meters of shoreline and possesses a unique ecosystem with excellent habitat for numerous native and migratory birds, including several threatened and endangered species. CW-1was imperiled by an overgrowth of Australian pines and Brazilian peppers. These exotic plants limited biodiversity. Passive recreation with its subtle underpins of broken bottles, cans and other litter also negatively impacted the island's fragile ecosystem. Restoration of CW-1 required a team approach. University of Florida/IFAS Pinellas County Extension staff in cooperation with representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Southern Estuary Association, and funding from the Florida Coastal Management Program initiated an island restoration program. Exotic vegetation was systematically removed and replaced with mangroves, pines, oaks, cedar, other tree species and understory plants native to the Pinellas coastline. Educational signage, brochures and a school curriculum were developed for use as teaching resources. CW-1 can now be used as a bio environmental study area and a destination for groups eager to investigate and enjoy the island's natural resources.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283