Delay the removal of the shade trees in DuPuis Equestrian Campground until replacement trees can be established.
This petition made change with 349 supporters!
We hired Bill Maus, a professional environmental mitigation consultant and met him there today for input on the species in the area. Approximately 70% of the trees are either ficus microcarpa or a hybrid cross of ficus Microcarpa and ficus Aurea. Ficus Aurea is a Florida native tree. The hybrid trees would be at least 50% native tree. Other trees that could be affected within the area are native ficus Aurea, native Pidgeon Plum, native Slash Pine, Live Oak, Laurel Oak and Live/Laurel Oak hybrids. There is one Jambola Plum in the area that is an agressive exotic that should be removed.
What we learned today:
The large "mother" ficus Microcarpa tree is not fruiting and is most likely NOT hosting the wasp that pollinates it. There is a good chance that the wasp is no longer present due to occasional freezes in winter. This would have to be studied by a qualified biologist to determine. This tree is at least 70 years old and was most likely planted by the DuPuis family as a specimin tree. It is a stunning, huge tree and a favorite shaded rest area for equestrians.
Ficus Microcarpa has a very low potential threat to wetlands. It is an upland tree and at this point, after many, many years has spread very little in this specific area. We understand that this tree is an exotic species. But it is doing very little harm where it is.
The Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) was established to fulfill the mandate of subsection 373.414(18), F.S., which requires the establishment of a uniform mitigation assessment method. UMAM requires more trees to be planted to replace the existing canopy to achieve similar canopy coverage. It will take 7 to 10 years for the canopy to reestablish if trees like Ficus Aurea, Laurel Oaks, Gumbo Limbo and native pines are planted to replace any removed trees. Live oaks are extremely slow growing trees and could take 25 years or more to provide similar shade in this area.
We are asking SFWMD to:
1. Delay the removal of any trees within the Equestrain Campground area.
2. Have more study done by qualified biologists of the existing ficus Microcarpa trees for pollinating wasps, and study the hybrid type trees to determine them native or exotic.
3. Plant native Laurel Oak, Gumbo Limbo, Ficus Aurea, and pines and allow them to establish growth PRIOR to the removal of any of the trees within the campground area. These are all fast growing trees and natives. Live oaks take many years to grow and establish a canopy.
The existing funds earmarked for the removal of the trees, according to Jim Shuette of SFWMD, is $600,000. The funds earmarked to replace trees is $6,000. These funds should be placed into escrow until further study and determination can be done and replacement planting has been undertaken.
Thank you for taking the time to read and sign this petition. We need every bit of tree canopy we can get! Trees are important!
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