|HOME SCHEDULE AUTHOR INDEX SUBJECT INDEX|
Evaluating the success of wetland restoration at the Disney Wilderness Preserve, central Florida.
ARGO, BARRY1, FOLK, MONICA1, MINCHIN, PETER2, 1 2
ABSTRACT- The Disney Wilderness Preserve is a 12,000-acre mitigation site, providing compensation for several development projects in the greater Orlando area, Central Florida. The Preserve is located at the headwaters of the Kissimmee River and contains a complex mosaic of wetland and upland ecological communities. Within the past century, most of the region has been modified by a variety of land uses, primarily cattle grazing, timber harvesting, and residential and commercial development. The Nature Conservancy has been actively managing the site since acquisition in 1992, when a multi-phase wetland restoration and monitoring program was implemented. Evaluation of restoration success for permit requirements has focused on analyzing changes in the relative percent of wetland and upland indicator plant species within permanent sampling sites, located on transects from wetlands to adjacent uplands, together with water level data from wells. Results for the four hydrologic units in which restoration works were completed in 1993 are mostly consistent with wetland restoration over the elevation range between average wet season water levels before and after ditch-filling. Although water levels have been restored, erosion of organic soils during wetland drainage means that some areas are now flooded longer and deeper than under pre-drainage conditions. A major problem has been ecological inaccuracies in the official indicator status of some plant species. Alternative methods of evaluating success, based on multivariate analysis of vegetation and hydrological data, are being developed.
KEY WORDS: wetland , restoration, mitigation, monitoring