Thursday, October 07, 2010

Restoration work resumes at Florida state park

Birds and other creatures visiting or living within Topsail Hill Preserve State Park near Destin, Fla., will benefit soon from better water flow, thanks to the resumption of a restoration project interrupted by response efforts to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the state park features more than 13 miles of shoreline and inland trails for birdwatching, and noted bird species include Snowy Plovers, Piping Plovers, Red-shouldered Hawks and Osprey.

Acting Fish and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould said the project's continuation creates not just environmental but economic benefits for Florida’s Gulf Coast. “This Recovery Act project is part of a long-range plan to restore Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to its natural state, restore the proper flow of water, and encourage plants and animals to return and flourish,” he said.

Located east of Pensacola and in Santa Rosa Beach, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park includes 14 communities such as wet prairie, scrub, beach dune and coastal dune lake habitats. The restoration work, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aims to re-establish the flow of surface and subsurface water.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary Bob Ballard said the state park "provides a direct economic impact of more than $7 million to the local community. This project will further enhance the valuable natural resources at Topsail Hill that attract Florida residents and visitors to the Santa Rosa Beach area.”

No doubt he meant the avian residents and visitors, too.

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