Fenced & restored wetland
Osceola turkeys near restoration
RESTORATION/MAINTENANCE OF WETLAND ECOSYSTEMS
Before the cattle were fenced out of the wetlands on the Crescent J, most of the native ferns and underbrush were eaten and trampled into the mud. Simply fencing the cattle out made a huge difference in those ecosystems, allowing them to recover.
The Crescent J has a number of ponds that have been dug to supply fill for roads and building sites. These ponds were purposely dug deep enough to provide habitat for alligators. Some have been stocked with fish and frogs. Canals, ditches and ponds are occasionally cleared of vegetation when plants have become too dense, as alligators need some open water. The dug ponds have islands with a few trees and shrubs to provide safe nesting habitat for wading birds. Alligators in the ponds protect the islands from bobcats, coyotes, dogs and raccoons. Even panthers and bears will avoid swimming in alligatorpopulated water.
Exotic/Alien Plant Control
Some of the most troublesome invasive exotic or alien species on the Crescent J are Tropical Soda-Apple, Cogongrass and both Asian and European (Old World) Climbing Ferns. Brazilian Pepper has not yet become a problem, but every year, it comes closer geographically, especially along highways. Vigilance is essential.
All invasive exotics must be fought whenever and wherever they crop up, as soon as possible, to prevent them from spreading out of control. An occasional Tropical Soda-Apple and Canadian Thistle can just be dug up, but if they become established, large patches must be sprayed with herbicide, as must Cogongrass and the Climbing Ferns. Climbing Ferns can be prevented from taking root in wetlands if water is kept at a depth sufficient to keep the roots flooded. That is enough reason by itself to restore the hydrology in the cypress domes and sloughs.