Conservation Update: June 2021

Research and conservation staff assemble highlights from their fieldwork each month. Here are some reports from June 2021.

Land Management


  • Broadleaf species (Peruvian primrose willow, coastal plain willow, etc.) treatment is ongoing in different restoration units of the North Marsh.
  • Scleria and invasive grasses treatment was completed in one of the restoration units.
  • Scleria treatment in the North Marsh has begun.

Panther Island:

  • Invasive grasses treatment is ongoing, targeting as many deeper water areas accessible with ATV at this time; transition to wet prairies next month.
  • Scleria treatment has begun.



  • Trail camera monitoring has resumed. Locations include those near the most recently shredded restoration sites. Cameras have captured images of many medium-sized mammals, deer, hogs, and panthers in the vicinity.
  • Two temporary data loggers were installed in wells in Bird Rookery Swamp. These will be in place until South Florida Water Management District installs permanent stations (1-2 yrs).
  • Two temporary data loggers were installed in wells within the Sanctuary. These will be in place until they are replaced with solar-powered, telemetered wells (like what we installed in the central marsh transect) -- hopefully later this summer.
  • The research team has been assisting the public engagement team with daily observations of the ghost orchids.
  • The FWC panther team continues their bobcat-trapping effort around the fish farm and their trail camera monitoring.
  • A team from USDA collected Salvinia minima from the boardwalk in late May.


Marsh & Prairie Restoration

  • Gyro-Trac work for the year finished on 6-18-21.
  • 200 acres were mulched.
  • Post restoration photos for 2021-A were taken after one month. One month photos for 2021-C will be taken the week of 7-5-21.
  • Aerial mapping of the central marsh has begun.
  • Two trail cameras were set up in restoration site 2021-A. 2021-B and 2021-C will also be receiving a camera if conditions permit.
  • Phase 2 has begun in 2021-A.


Wildlife sightings

  • 18 deer were spotted in restoration site 2021-A. Numerous deer have been foraging in each site.
  • Sandhill cranes were foraging in 2021-B along with large flocks of other wading birds.
  • Several Crested Caracaras have been spotted along Fish Farm Road.
  • Glossy Ibis and many other wading birds foraging on Panther Island.
  • Wood Ducks were seen in the cypress area of Panther Island.
  • Deer foraging in units burned on April 1, 2021 at Panther Island.


Hydrology update

The water level just came above ground at the B-gauge on June 21. At the lowest/dryest point in the dry season, the water level was 1 foot below the zero mark on the B gauge (that was on June 1, the first day of Water Year 2022). As water levels come up, aquatic fauna is dispersing and reproducing. Frogs, toads, crayfish, and live-bearing fish, in particular, take advantage of this time of year when they can produce young in standing water that has a very low density of predators. This time of year, aquatic fauna biomass in most shallow areas is dominated by tadpoles.


rainfall chart
Rainfall at the Sanctuary through June 2021 Photo: Shawn Clem, PhD

We received 12.6 inches of rainfall in June 2021. This is typical for us for June.

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