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Studies of a Method of Wetland Reconstruction Following Phosphate Mining



Wetland reconstruction involving the transfer of peat from a forested wetland about to be mined to a recently recontoured reclamation site was the goal of this project. The research was conducted at a site known as Block “B” of Occidental Chemical Company’s reclamation project SR-8 near White Springs, Florida (Figure 1). Mining of the reclamation site was completed in 1981 and recontouring was completed just before September 1982. Wetland development was monitored through January 1984.

The original project design called for three different thicknesses and two different treatments of the applied peat. In reality, limitations on accurately estimating volume of material as it was delivered to the site led to a variety of thicknesses ranging from about 8 cm to 45 cm. The treatments consisted of complete coverage in a uniform thickness and of alternating strips of peat and bare ground. Detailed cost data were recorded to evaluate cost effectiveness of this method of wetland reconstruction. In addition, tree seedlinqs were planted in the peat material, and growth and survival were compared to seedlinqs at other locations.

At 3-month intervals, project personnel completed a census of plants, recorded biomass of major species, and measured depth of peat. Water level and pH of water in an adjacent lake were recorded weekly. Germination studies of undisturbed peat from a forested wetland similar to the “donor swamp” were also conducted at the Center for Wetlands for comparison with germination on the experimental sites. Trays of sterilized soil were placed throuqhout the experimental sites to account for windblown and waterborne seeds.