Florida is gaining wetlands thanks to a mitigation bank project now in the works. Ground crews are currently restoring about 1,200 acres of land in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Decades ago, that land was leveled for farming. Instead of the pine forests, wet prairies and marshes that used to be there, the area became a pasture with non-native grass for cattle ranching.
But, Ed Carlson, Director Emeritus of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, said the land is being restored to its natural state now. He said it will be a big help to neighboring wildlife.
“There are going to be some pine uplands, wet prairies and marshes and other wetlands and the whole spectrum of wildlife will benefit from this project,” Carlson said. “Everything from Florida Panthers to migratory birds, to of course the wading birds that nest at Corkscrew—in particular, the wood storks.”
Carlson said most importantly, this project helps reverse the trend of massive wetland loss that has been going on for many years.
Recent studies show that Southwest Florida has some of the highest rates of wetland loss in the country.
Mitigation banks like this one allow public or private agencies to offset development in other areas.