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St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve - Management Issues Quick Topics
Low water crossing the trail

Restoring Hydrologic Alterations to the Buffer Preserve

A priority at the Buffer Preserve is to restore hydrologic function to natural areas by removing disturbances that impact natural water flow or by repairing damage done to the landscape by various activities. Through ditch plugging, road removal or alteration with water crossings, and repair to fire-plow scarred wetlands, the natural slower movement of water is restored. The slower movement of "sheet-flow" water across the landscape naturally polishes the water and allows for slow release into nearby water bodies. Sheet flow, combined with a landscape with restored groundcover, conserves soil and decreases turbidity.

Prescribed fire in flatwoods

Ecological Restoration and Protection of Native Biodiversity

The natural systems that occur on Buffer Preserve lands form a complex mosaic of natural communities that are not managed independently of each other. The majority of natural communities that occur on the Buffer Preserve are fire dependent or fire-adapted. The frequent application of prescribed fire is the single most important and cost effective management tool that land managers use to benefit listed species and promote biodiversity in those communities. The reintroduction of fire to the Buffer Preserve's natural systems is essential to the recovery and survival of all of the Buffer Preserve's listed plant species. The Buffer Preserve staff are committed to applying scientific monitoring to understand the implications of its fire management program on habitats and species composition.

Chinese tallow

Controlling Invasive Plant Species

Invasive non-native plant species in the Buffer Preserve are a significant management issue and at present are largely confined to the perimeter of the Buffer Preserve in residentially developed areas. The following species are treated as part of the Buffer Preserve's invasive plant management program: Chinese tallow, Japanese climbing fern, cogon grass and camphor tree. The control program consists of annual herbicidal application, primarily in the fall, as well as mapping and monitoring throughout the year. The Buffer Preserve also works with adjacent land owners to control invasive species on private lands.


Protection of Cultural and Historical Resources

The lands and waters that make up the Buffer Preserve have a rich history of human occupation. In order to adequately assess and interpret the full range of cultural resources, the Buffer Preserve facilitates and conducts research to serve as a foundation for developing a comprehensive cultural resources management plan starting with a detailed assessment of the location and description of these resources. The management of cultural resources is often complicated because these resources are irreplaceable and extremely vulnerable to disturbances. 

Visitors on a tram tour

Promote Responsible  Use of Public Conservation Land Use and Access

The area within the Buffer Preserve boundaries provides a variety of outdoor resource based recreational opportunities. These include hiking, birding, kayaking, nature photography, biking and fishing. The Buffer Preserve promotes "Leave No Trace" principles to visitors through educational kiosks and brochures. Staff continually monitors public access and visitor use to assess impacts to environmental conditions and then utilize adaptive management methods to eliminate, avoid, or reduce potential adverse impacts to natural resources.

Last updated: August 16, 2016

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
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