The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Longleaf Alliance will begin the second year of the Habitat Rx invasive plant removal program in South Walton County. The program is designed for interested property owners who wish to improve local habitat and restore plant and animal biodiversity.
Invasive plants disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems by out-competing beneficial native plants, diminishing biodiversity, and reducing food sources and habitat for native wildlife and insects. These invasive plants, including Chinese tallow trees, mimosa trees, and torpedo grass, spread rapidly and grow quickly. Chinese Tallow trees are especially detrimental because they can thrive on the shorelines of waterways and minimize and divert water flow. Their leaves can change the soil chemistry as they degrade making it difficult for other plant species to grow, and their berries and sap contain toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals.
“With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CBA is able to offer this innovative program free of cost to South Walton property owners,” stated restoration coordinator, Rachel Gwin. Habitat Rx offers property owners in all Walton County areas south of Hwy 20 the opportunity to have invasive plants on their property treated and removed, and they will receive a native tree, such as a sassafras or red maple, to replace an invasive tree. CBA will take enrollment forms until September 21, 2015. The Longleaf Alliance will partner with CBA to conduct site visits through the end of September, and remove the invasive trees in October.
For more information about the Habitat Rx program, including enrollment forms and invasive plants brochure, please visit www.basinalliance.org and click on Habitat Rx under the “Restoration” tab. CBA must receive an enrollment form and hold harmless forms from property owners interested in participating by September 21, 2015.
CBA is an entirely grant and donor-funded, 501(c)3 non-profit watershed organization whose efforts are focused on raising awareness to increase the health and sustainability of local waterways, through monitoring, research, restoration and education. For over 19 years, CBA has promoted water stewardship within the Choctawhatchee watershed, growing the network of supporters who have joined in the mission to provide a future for these natural resources. For more information about CBA, please visit www.basinalliance.org.
For more information about CBA’s Habitat Rx invasive plant removal program, or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Gwin at (850) 200-4164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.