FWC planting trees, enhancing Lake O habitat

Posted 5/4/22

FWC is planting approximately 1,500 native trees in the northwest marsh of Lake Okeechobee.

This story requires a subscription for $5.99/month.
Already a subscriber? Log in to continue. Otherwise, click here to subscribe.

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

FWC planting trees, enhancing Lake O habitat

Posted

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is planting approximately 1,500 native trees in the northwest marsh of Lake Okeechobee. The project began the week of April 27, 2022.

This new habitat addition, which is a continuation of seven years of planting efforts, is designed to enhance the marsh’s native plant community, while providing woody structure for nesting and roosting birds.

Records from the early 20th century indicate that bald cypress trees were prevalent throughout portions of Lake Okeechobee. These large and abundant cypress trees were essential nesting habitat for wading bird colonies. However, logging activities, wildfires and hydrologic changes  have eliminated most of the trees from the lake.

 In 2015, the FWC began replanting native trees in Lake Okeechobee’s northwest marsh. Since then, over 17,000 trees and shrubs have been planted. Although bald cypress has been the most common tree planted, at least 22 other native tree and shrub species, including pond apple, red maple and cabbage palm, have been included in planting efforts.

The addition of trees and fruit-bearing shrubs to the northwest marsh has increased nesting and foraging opportunities for local bird and wildlife communities, including the endangered Everglades snail kite. By planting the trees at different elevations throughout the marsh, the project aims to increase nesting and foraging opportunities for local bird communities at multiple lake levels.

Management activities, such as aquatic plant management, prescribed burns and native plant transplanting, help improve habitat for fish, waterfowl, wading birds and other wildlife populations, while also allowing improved recreational opportunities for anglers, boaters and hunters. These activities are part of an integrated management approach used by the FWC on many lakes and wetlands throughout Florida.

Bird nest in cypress tree planted by the FWC in 2015...FWC photo
Bird nest in cypress tree planted by the FWC in 2015...FWC photo
Crew loading cypress trees onto the trailer for planting on Lake Okeechobee April 2022.
Crew loading cypress trees onto the trailer for planting on Lake Okeechobee April 2022.
Sunrise on Lake Okeechobee over the cypress tree staging area April 2022.
Sunrise on Lake Okeechobee over the cypress tree staging area April 2022.
For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information, and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lakes.

The FWC, with its partners, continually works together to enhance and restore fish and wildlife habitat in Florida. For more information about the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration projects, visit MyFWC.com/AquaticHabitat.

trees, Lake O, FWC

Comments


X