Summary Reports on Prescribed Fire Use for all three M-CORES Study Areas

As a member of the No Roads to Ruin coalition and advocates for the native plants and native plant communities of Florida, we are concerned about the M-CORES toll roads.

Prescribed fire is the best management tool for most of Florida's native plant communities (or ecosystems). High speed roadways and prescribed fire are largely incompatible. To assess the impacts that these new roads would have, our Policy and Legislation Chair Eugene Kelly analyzed how and where prescribed fire is used on land within these three proposed toll road corridors.

A Summary of Prescribed Fire Usage and Needs Across the M-CORES Southwest-Central Florida Connector Study Area

A Summary of Prescribed Fire Usage and Needs Across the M-CORES Suncoast Connector Study Area

A Summary of Prescribed Fire Usage and Needs Across the M-CORES Northern Turnpike Connector Study Area

The rare plant count at Sulphur Run Swamp

All photos, video, and article by Mark Kateli, Cuplet Fern Chapter President

This event occurred in September 2019 in Sulphur Run Swamp, a tributary of the St. Johns River in the Seminole State Forest. An accompanying video of this memorable experience can be found here:

Hammockherb or Gulf Hammock Indian Plantain, Hasteola robertiorum, is a facultative wetland plant that prefers to grow in dappled sun within swamp forest. To date, it is only found in two counties in Florida: Lake and Levy, and is listed as state-endangered[1]. The closely related false Indian plantain, Hasteola suaveolens, does not occur in Florida but has a wider distribution across several northern states where it also listed as endangered due to habitat loss and invasive plant competition[2].

There are a number of differences and similarities between species. Both Hasteola species flower in late summer to early fall but differ in the number of disc flowers present per inflorescence. H…

M-CORES Update by Eugene Kelly, Policy and Legislation Chair

This article is from the current Sabal minor, which is only accessible in its entirety to FNPS members. Take a moment to join if you don't find the whole newsletter in your inbox today.

In the last issue of the Sabal minor, we provided an overview of the M-CORES toll road projects and summarized some of the potential impacts to native plants if the proposed roads are constructed.  We also assured you that the Policy and Legislation Committee would continue to follow and assess the projects, and share the results of our assessments with the Florida Department of Transportation and the members of the respective Task Forces.  This is a brief update on what has transpired since the last Sabal minor.

Please try to attend a task force meeting if at all feasible.

Suncoast Connector Task Force
Task Force Meeting #4
February 11, 2020, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Madison Church of God Life Center
771 NE Colin Kelly Hwy
Madison, FL

Community Open Houses
January 28, 2020, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Conservation and Habitat Restoration for Two Florida Endemic Mints

We're proud to announce we were awarded a Powerful Communities Grant from Duke Energy for our Conservation and Habitat Restoration for Two Endangered Mint Species! We're putting it to work by deploying staff and volunteers to monitor two populations of endemic Florida mints.

The first rare mint, Blushing Scrub Balm (Dicerandra modesta), is endemic to Polk County.

The second is Longspurred Balm (Dicerandra cornutissima) and is endemic to Marion and Sumter Counties. Both are State and Federally Listed Endangered native plants.

We have two main goals: annually monitor these two populations and restore the two sites. The largest and only publicly-protected population of Longspurred Balm occurs on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in Marion County. This population was impacted by the recent construction of an access road. There is only one population of blushing scrub balm on public lands and possibly only one small population remaining on private lands. It occurs on …

TorreyaKeepers Update December 2019

On December 5th, Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) Executive Director Juliet Rynear joined staff from the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) and volunteers from FNPS, Jacksonville Zoo, and Jacksonville Arboretum to monitor Florida Torreya trees in Torreya State Park, near Bristol. This was just 1 day in a week-long monitoring expedition that takes place annually on public property where this rare tree occurs.

The FNPS TorreyaKeepers project is focused on working with private landowners to locate and conserve trees on private property. This project will expand upon the work that ABG is doing and help to conserve more of the genetic diversity of Florida Torreya. Currently, we are working on a brochure to help private landowners identify Florida Torreya and distinguish it from other similar-looking trees. We will also be developing a brochure on best management practices to help private landowners protect the species on their properties.

Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia), is North Am…

Toll Roads Analysis - Detailed Assessment of Impacts on Native Plants and Native Plant Communities

by Eugene Kelly, Policy and Legislation Chair
Florida Native Plant Society

Have you heard about the “M-CORES Project”? If not, you may want to start paying attention because it will affect communities across much of Florida and will certainly impact native plants and native plant communities. Short for Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, the project proposes to build more than 330 miles of new toll roads through huge swaths of rural land for the stated purpose of promoting economic development. The projects were proposed by the Florida Legislature and are not purported to meet any transportation need identified or vetted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The Suncoast Connector would extend from the northern end of the existing Suncoast Parkway a distance of at least 160 miles to the Georgia border in Jefferson County. The Northern Turnpike Connector would extend about 30 miles, from the current northern terminus of the Turnpike to the Suncoast…