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Over 1,000 acres mulched of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Wetland Restoration has been finished

Over 85 acres of mulched land have been successfully burned as a part of the marshes and Prairies of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Wetland Restoration, completing phase one of the project
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 20:29:36-05

NAPLES, Fla. — After five years, The Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has been working to restore important wetlands, the project, called Restoring Corkscrew's Marshes and Prairies has just reached a milestone of 1,000 acre’s mulched which is key to restoration of the wetlands.

In recent years, acres upon acres of the wetlands in the sanctuary have become in habitable for it's species, "Those acres are no longer valuable from a habitat standpoint," Marshall Olson, Director of Conservation at the sanctuary talking about the Willow which can be seen all throughout the sanctuary soaks up much of the water in the marsh making it invasive to the native species, "Birds can’t get in there to get to the fish, panthers can’t hike through that very easily, so it’s ground that’s no longer usable."

In order to fix that the conservationist have been collecting data on many things like water, growth causes and effects, Olson explains that the process of wetland restoration is lengthy and split up into three parts.

Phase one, which is maintaining the willow, "That takes heavy machinery, it rolls along and just grinds up this heavy wooded material and spreads it out evenly," Olson explaining the process, "We're not killing the willow, we're giving it a much needed haircut."

After rain fills the marshes during rainy season, that's when phase two begins, hoping that enough water fills the marshes, Olson says they spot an herbicide over the willow and wait to see the regrowth over tie to see if the herbicide can control any new sprouts.

After those two phases are complete, they enter the last phase, "We’ll reintroduce prescribed fire, once that has gone through successfully, we consider that land restored," the marshes and prairies project has been able to mulch over 1,000 acres and restored almost 100 acres in five years and while they have more than 13,000 to go, Olson says it’s not just working with people in the city and water management companies, he says it’s the people in the community that come out, day in and day out that support the sanctuary that really make this restoration effort possible.

Susan Strunk who was with her grandkids on Wednesday afternoon says she supports the sanctuary by just going to see nature, "I think this is much better than an amusement park— the kids can take a 2-mile walk, the kids are out in nature," it’s her small contribution of an entrance fee that keeps the restoration efforts alive and her eight-year-old granddaughter Finley excited to even be there.

"I saw so many animals today, Finley shouted with excitement, reciting specific names of wha she saw and also excited to be a part of conserving the species in the area, "I think it’s very important to have places like this that protect the animals and can give the animals a good place to live, even if they don't bring them in, they have somewhere to go."

Olson says while the Sanctuary is a non-profit, they rely heavily on volunteers and donations, reminding people, "These sanctuaries are getting less and less and where they are, support them if you can."

If you would like to get involved or learn how you can help click here.