Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Crenulate Lead-plant (Amorpha crenulata)— Endangered
Tiny Polygala (Polygala smallii)—Endangered
Garber's Spurge (Chamaesyce garberi)—Threatened
Deltoid Spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea)—Endangered
Small's Milkpea (Galactia smallii)—Endangered
Outside of Everglades National Park, 98 percent of the distinctive Dade County "pine rocklands" have been destroyed for residential and agricultural purposes. Most remaining pineland vegetation exists in urban areas, where prescribed fire (essential to the life cycle of these plants) causes smoke problems, and high property values make land acquisition prohibitive. Exotic pest plants, notably Burma reed, remain a serious, though manageable, problem. On a positive note, Hurricane Andrew may have benefitted rock pinelands by flattening tropical and exotic pest hardwood species, preparing the way for prescribed fires. Nevertheless, one of only two crenulate lead-plant sites was buried by debris-disposal after the hurricane, and 30 acres of pinelands were destroyed by disposal of hurricane debris.
In a May 1990 referendum, Dade County voters approved a tax increase to raise $90 million for environmentally endangered lands, including pinelands. Collaboration between the State and County to purchase the best remaining rock pinelands in private ownership resulted in acquisition of 30 acres, with 260 remaining. A County pilot project integrating exotic plant control with prescribed fire indicated habitat restoration to be less costly than the cost of controlling wildfires in Burma reed thickets. Assisted by $40,000 in recovery funds, the County also is restoring an existing lawn area to pine rockland at a site where crenulate lead-plant can expand to occupy the habitat. An additional $50,000 is expected to continue the work and provide a comprehensive management plan for the most important remaining pine rocklands at Richmond Heights (near the MetroZoo). Pineland protection efforts will be revised in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, and emergency funds are available for accelerated control of exotic pest plants and prescribed burning. In addition, section 7 consultation took into consideration expansion of the Perrine U.S. Army Reserve Center.
Land acquisition, exotic pest plant control, prescribed burning, species monitoring, and prevention of human encroachment are the primary needs.
U.S. Government Agencies With Pinelands Plants: The Department of the Army (Reserves and a communications facility), Naval Observatory, Coast Guard, Customs, Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Federal Aviation Administration, National Institutes of Health (in cooperation with the University of Miami), and General Services Administration consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service if facility expansions are planned. The General Services Administration's tract is undeveloped.
Metropolitan Dade County: The County is working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop coordinated management plans for the Federal agencies protecting pineland sites. Nearly all agencies participated in preliminary meetings on vegetation management, and most apply Dade County's technical advice. Hurricane Andrew seriously affected all the agencies and will delay pineland conservation. As of September 1, 1992, the Army Corps of Engineers and Metropolitan Dade County were cooperating to prevent dumping of hurricane debris on these sites.
Florida Department of Natural Resources, Conservation and Recreation Lands Program, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry: Land purchases have begun in cooperation with Dade County. Fire management services are available, with small prescribed fires being conducted.
Fairchild Tropical Garden: This non-profit organization affiliated with Dade County carries out germplasm conservation of tropical Florida plants and provides technical expertise for County properties. It maintains a garden population of crenulate lead-plant to support reintroduction and to guard against extinction due to inadvertent destruction of wild populations. These garden plants survived the hurricane, although the facility they occupied was largely wrecked.
Plan approved 10/7/88.