RPB Natural Area

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Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area

The Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area was historically part of the western buffer lands of the Loxahatchee Slough. These buffer lands were a mosaic of pine flatwoods and wet prairie/depression marsh wetlands. During rainy periods, the wetlands would fill up and the excess water would flow eastward through shallow drainageways to the Loxahatchee Slough. The main portion of the site in Section16 was originally set aside by the federal government in the 1800s to help fund public education, and was then transferred to the State of Florida with title given to the State Board of Education. This federal set-aside helped to preserve the site. In the early 1900s the lands to the south and west of Section 16 were purchased by the developers of Loxahatchee Groves, and the lands to the north and east were bought by the Southern States Land and Timber Company. The Southern States land holdings would eventually be sold to the developer of the Village of Royal Palm Beach and the Acreage.

From 1913 to 1917, the West Palm Beach Canal (the present-day C-51 Canal) was dug from Canal Point at Lake Okeechobee to the Lake Worth Lagoon on the Atlantic coast. This canal is located 2.3 miles south of the natural area. It was dug as part of a plan to drain the Everglades that was funded by a 5-cent-an-acre annual levy by the now-defunct Everglades Drainage District. As a result of these actions, the land between the natural area and the canal had drainage and could be accessed by boat. The owners decided to sell the land off in 20-acre blocks as the Loxahatchee Groves community. They sought contractors to put in the internal road and drainage system. Frank Marcinski, who had recently moved to the area, received a subcontract in 1917 to clear 30 miles of rights-of-way for roads and canals. Mr. Marcinski made his contract estimates in the dry season, but found that many of the proposed roads were up to a foot underwater when the rainy season began (Corbett 1993). Mr. Marcinski completed the job, but lost money on the subcontract. He later claimed one of the last two homestead parcels in Palm Beach County and went on to become one of the early pioneers of Juno Beach.

In 1919 a hard-surfaced road was constructed by the County along the north side of the C-51 Canal from West Palm Beach to Loxahatchee Groves. In 1924-25, a man named William "Fingy" Connors built a toll road on the north side of this canal. The toll road ran from Loxahatchee Groves to Canal Point and then around the east side of Lake Okeechobee to the City of Okeechobee at the north end of the lake. Connors Highway, as the road was called, cost $1.8 million and was considered an engineering marvel for its time. The road was built primarily to provide access to land Connors owned around the City of Okeechobee, but it also took in $2,000 a day with its 3-cents-a-mile toll. Connors died in 1929 and the County acquired the road, abolished the toll, and eventually turned it over to the State Road Department (Blake 1980). This road is presently known by various names (Southern Boulevard, State Road 80, and U.S. Highway 441/98) in the vicinity of the natural area.

The canals that border the natural area on the south and the west were dug after the rights-of-way were cleared by Mr. Marcinski's workers in 1917. They were later widened and deepened. Where the canals cut through wetlands on the natural area, three low berms were created with fill obtained by digging a shallow ditch on the natural area side of the berm. The purpose of these berms was apparently to keep the water from the natural area from draining into the canals. This was not done because of a concern to protect the wetlands, but because the Loxahatchee Groves drainage system could handle only its own stormwater, not additional water from adjacent properties. These berms had the unintended side effect of helping to maintain the historic hydrology of the site. After the roads and canals were finished, linear groves of orange trees were planted next to the roads, along with widely-separated Australian pine trees. The berms/ditches, orange groves and Australian pines are visible in a 1940 aerial photograph (U. S. Department of Interior [USDI] 1940). Seedlings from these Australian pines later colonized most of the canal banks, including those adjacent to the natural area.

Loxahatchee Groves was far away from the populated coastal areas. Development of the individual lots was very slow, even with good road access. The Loxahatchee Groves Drainage District (LGDD; the present-day Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District [LGWCD]) was established in 1917 to maintain the internal roads and canals. These roads provided the only access to the natural area until the 1970s. The canal on the southern border had shallow spots that could be crossed by vehicles. A bridge is visible in 1940 and 1953 aerial photographs (USDI 1940, 1953) in the southwestern portion of site connecting to North Road between "E" Road and "F" Road. Remnants of this bridge were found in 1993 during a pre-acquisition site cleanup. In the early 1940s the State Board of Education sold the timber rights to the property, and all the marketable slash pines were cut down and hauled out through Loxahatchee Groves. A very thin and sparse overstory of slash pines is visible in 1953 and 1965 aerial photographs (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1965). This overstory is considerably more developed in later photographs. The pine logs were removed via the bridge and another shallow canal crossing point in the southeastern portion of the site. A mostly upland jeep trail that may have been a logging road is visible in the eastern portion of the site in the 1953 photograph.

In 1951 the state sold the main portion of the site in Section 16 to Edwin Swedburg, but retained 75% of the oil and mineral rights. The state also retained rights to construct drainage canals across the site. These rights were later released. In 1956 the land north and east of Section 16, including some of the eastern portions of the natural area, was sold by Southern States Lands and Timber Company to the Friedland family as part of a 56,000-acre land transaction. The Friedlands established the Indian Trail Ranch on portions of this land, but clearly bought it with the intent of developing it into what is now known as the Village of Royal Palm Beach and the Acreage. The Indian Trail Water Control District (ITWCD; present-day Indian Trail Improvement District [ITID]) was established in 1957 to construct and maintain canals and roads on the Friedland-owned lands.

In the late 1950s the Friedlands set up Royal Palm Colony, Ltd. and began to develop their Indian Trail Ranch land holdings. In 1959 the Village of Royal Palm Beach was incorporated. By 1965 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard had been extended northward from Southern Boulevard and a golf course, a lake, and a single-family home neighborhood with paved roads and platted lots were present (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1965). A large north-south canal was extended northward for four miles from the C-51 Canal to provide drainage. Around 1960 LGWCD widened and deepened the drainage canals on the southern and western borders of the natural area and removed the old bridge. Most of the canal spoil was placed on the natural area side of the canal, and on the west side the spoil was smoothed and leveled into an access road. Mission Development Company became the owner of the main portion of the site in Section 16 in 1958, and sold the property to Joseph Gross in 1963.

By 1970 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard has been extended six miles northward from Southern Boulevard, and Okeechobee Boulevard had been extended west from State Road 7 to meet it. ITWCD had constructed a system of unpaved roads and canals for Royal Palm Beach Colony in the first phase of the Acreage development by 1970 (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1970). This system included a 200-foot by 200-foot drainage easement in the northeast corner of the natural area that was given to ITWCD by Joseph Gross in 1970 to accommodate a turn in the Acreage's main drainage canal. Gross was given drainage rights for his property in return for the easement. The developed area just touched the northeast corner of the natural area and was accessed from Royal Palm Beach Boulevard. After the roads and canals were put in, Royal Palm Beach Colony began to sell off individual lots. These lots were approximately 1.3 acres in size and were sold as having roads and drainage and being ready for residential housing. The selling price of the lots was approximately $5,000 each. Royal Palm Beach Colony advertised widely that people could buy a Florida retirement homesite in the Acreage for $25 down and $25 a month. Many people from outside of Florida and outside the United States bought lots sight unseen via mail order. Initially, very few of the purchased lots were actually built upon.

Roads and canals were constructed in the section of the Acreage north of the natural area by 1973; these are visible in a 1973 aerial photograph (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1973). The Acreage development was constructed with a drainage ditch on its outside perimeter. At this site, the perimeter drainage ditch was connected to the M-1 Canal at its eastern end, and to other north-south ditches in the drainage system of the Acreage in its middle section. In 1973 40th Street North had not yet been constructed. When the perimeter drainage ditch was constructed, two stub ditches were dug south into adjacent wetlands on the natural area. These stub ditches and other washouts along the drainage ditch effectively drained the northern edge of the natural area down to the control level of the ITWCD drainage system, which was 15.5 feet. The natural area wetlands along the northern edge suffered from a reduced hydroperiod and were invaded by exotic and transitional wetland plant species. However, the perimeter drainage ditch did prevent vehicles from accessing the site, except at the northeast and northwest corners where the ditch ended or was partially filled in. A road that runs to the southeast from the northwest corner of the site is visible in the1973 aerial photograph.

During the 1970s the Village of Royal Palm Beach continued to grow and expand northward. In 1971 Joseph Gross sold his land to Theodore Kross. Mr. Kross then sold the eastern half of this land to William Roach in 1974 and the western half to the Frank J. Lewis Foundation in 1975. Mr. Roach borrowed money to acquire the site, and the mortgage was eventually assigned to the Lewis Foundation. Based on examination of a 1978 aerial photograph (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1978), the Lewis interests allowed someone to farm 9.25 acres of drained wet prairie in the northwest corner of the site. A perimeter ditch and internal drainage ditches were dug in this area. The farmed area was plowed into raised beds separated by drainage furrows and may have been used to grow tomatoes for a short time. It was accessed by a road running diagonally from the northwest corner of the site. In the 1978 aerial photograph, a road connection can be seen between North Road in Loxahatchee Groves and 140th Avenue North in the Acreage. By 1987 the farmed area had been abandoned, as shown in a 1987 aerial photograph (Palm Beach County Property Appraiser 1987). The low areas in the farmed area were recolonized by native wetland vegetation and the raised beds by slash pines and transitional wetland plants. Melaleuca, which was first observed on this site in the 1970s, also became widespread in the farmed area.

At the time Mr. Roach purchased the Gross/Kross property, the property had drainage rights but did not have road access. Mr. Roach attempted to extend "F" Road northward from Loxahatchee Groves into his property, but was thwarted by group of Loxahatchee Groves residents who blocked his equipment. He then signed an agreement with ITWCD for permission to access the northeast corner of his property from 40th Street North. In return for this permission, he agreed to pave a half-mile segment of 40th Street North from Coconut Boulevard to 130th Avenue, construct a culverted crossing across the M-1 Canal, give ITWCD a 100-foot access easement across the northern edge of his property, and pay an annual assessment to ITWCD for maintenance of the paved road and canal crossing. Mr. Roach paved the section of 40th Street North in 1983 and constructed a culverted embankment that connected the sections of 40th Street North east and west of the M-1 Canal. When the canal crossing was in place, 40th Street North was extended westward one mile along the northern border of the natural area to 140th Avenue North and provided access to Mr. Roach's property. This road is visible in the 1987 aerial photograph. Mr. Roach bought the western half of the natural area from the Lewis Foundation in 1984, with the Lewis Foundation holding a mortgage.

During this time, Mr. Roach made little attempt to prevent illegal dumpers from accessing his property from the northeast and northwest corners. The road improvements he paid for made it easier for dumpers to gain access to the property. Widespread dumping of household trash, construction debris and auto parts occurred in the northern portion of the property, as well as abandonment of junk vehicles. In 1988 Mr. Roach was cited by the Environmental Control Office of the Palm Beach County Public Health Unit for illegal deposition of solid waste on the property. He removed 50 abandoned vehicles and blocked access to the site, but failed to clean up the solid waste and was assessed a continuing fine (Palm Beach County ERM 1993). Several wildfires occurred on the northern and western portions of the Roach property in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These hot fires occurred in areas of tall dense saw palmettos and resulted in the death of most of the slash pines in the wildfire areas, either from the heat of the fire or from subsequent pine bark beetle infestations.

In 1983 the Royal Palm Audubon Society, a Boca Raton-based chapter of the National Audubon Society, developed a citizens' initiative to protect in perpetuity examples of each type of historic ecosystem that was present in Palm Beach County in pre-development times. These ecosystems were called "wilderness islands" because many were isolated by urban and agricultural development. The best examples of these ecosystems were proposed to be identified throughout the county, and purchased for preservation. These "wilderness islands" were to be used and enjoyed without harm by present and future generations. In 1984 other conservation groups and individuals joined with the Royal Palm Audubon Society to form the Coalition for Wilderness Islands (CWI), and to present the Wilderness Islands proposal to the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The BCC accepted this proposal in concept and commissioned an inventory of the remaining high-quality natural areas by two Florida Atlantic University professors and their students (Iverson and Austin 1988).

In 1985 Royal Palm Beach Homes received permits and filed plats for the proposed Hawthorn development on the east side of the Roach property. This development included some of the eastern portions of the natural area. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) permit for this project required the preservation of several wetland areas, two of which would become part of the natural area. One of these areas, containing 115 acres, was transferred to the Village of Royal Palm Beach. The Hawthorn project was never constructed, and the site was sold to Cenvill Development. Cenvill filed a new plat for what it now called the Saratoga development, built Crestwood Boulevard west to Royal Palm Beach Boulevard to access the site, and dug lakes and built roads. Home lots were sold and houses built. In 1990 a major storm event filled the wetlands on the Roach property and the wetland preserves. The excess stormwater flowed east across the Saratoga development, flooding homes. SFWMD stopped Cenvill from building more homes at Saratoga until the drainage system was redesigned to stop the flooding. Cenvill ran into financial difficulties associated with slowing home sales and the insolvency of its lending institution, and was unable to address the drainage system problems.

Meanwhile, development of the Roach property had stalled. Despite resolving his road access problems, Mr. Roach had not made any progress in getting his property rezoned, and fines from his failure to clean up the illegal dumping were accumulating. He had not been able to obtain bank financing, so he took on several private investors as partners. His partners became dissatisfied with his handling of the project, took him to court in 1990, and were successful in gaining title to the eastern 328 acres. Mr. Roach was granted rights to use the ITWCD easement along the northern edge so that he could get to the western portion of

the site from the 40th Street North access point. The partners cleaned up their property enough to satisfy the Health Unit and sold it to Flag Development Company, Inc. in 1991.

Flag Development asked the Village to annex the property and to amend the Village's Comprehensive Plan to allow for the development of a golf course community. The Village approved Flag's requests despite citizen protests. An environmental and growth management group, I,000 Friends of Florida, several environmental groups, and local citizens opposed the Village's comprehensive plan changes and filed for a state administrative hearing to determine as to whether the changes were in compliance with the state's growth management regulations. In 1990 Palm Beach County identified the site as one of 14 high-priority tracts of environmentally sensitive lands for acquisition, based on the Iverson and Austin study and the recommendations of citizens' advisory committees. In March 1991 county voters approved a $100 million Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond Referendum to purchase these 14 high-priority sites.

Facing an uncertain outcome from the administrative hearing, growing public opposition to its development project, and a slowing housing market headed into recession, Flag Development decided to sell its land to the County for environmental preservation. The 328 acres owned by Flag were purchased for $3,135,000 in May 1992. Meanwhile, Mr. Roach had defaulted on his mortgage payments to the Frank J. Lewis Foundation for the portions of the natural area that he still owned. The Lewis Foundation regained title to the property in 1992, cleaned it up, and sold the 323 acres to the County for $2,186,000 in June 1993. The County negotiated with the Village for an interlocal lease of the 115-acre mostly wetland preserve that was adjacent to the southeast corner of the Flag purchase and obtained a 99-year lease on 85 acres in April 1993. The remaining 30 acres of the parcel were kept by the Village as a potential future park site. ITWCD agreed to drop its annual assessments against the Flag and Lewis tracts in 1995 in return for the County agreeing to take over the maintenance of the paved portion of 40th Street North.

Off-road vehicle (ORV) operators had accessed the natural area regularly prior to County acquisition. The County attempted to shut off the access points at the northeast and northwest corners of the site with dirt piles and ditches, but the ORVs quickly wore down the dirt piles until they were passable with larger and larger vehicles. In 1993, 4-inch by 4-inch wooden posts with deadman anchors, linked with wire cables, were placed at these access points. They temporarily kept the ORVs out of the site. This was the beginning of a multi-year struggle between the ORV operators and the County over ORV access to the site.

Cenvill Development defaulted on its loans and the Saratoga development was taken over by First American Bank, which was declared insolvent and was taken over by the federal government. Chase Manhattan Bank purchased a package of non-performing loans from the federal government that included the Saratoga project. Chase needed to make the Saratoga project buildable again so that it could be sold, and worked with SFWMD to come up with a solution to the flooding problem. The solution was to built a low berm on the eastern border of the Village-owned and County-owned preserves and link the individual wetlands together with a storm sewer pipe with inlet and outlet grates that would remove water above the natural high- water level. The storm sewer would have an outfall to the large drainage canal at the northeast corner of the natural area.

Portions of the berm and the storm sewer pipe were to be placed in a 25-foot easement that lay just east of the County-owned land. This easement and the Saratoga plat were based on the old Hawthorn plat section line, which was erroneous and was actually located up to six feet inside the County's property. Redoing the Saratoga plat was not a viable option because homes had already been built. Chase asked the County to give them the 6-foot strip. In return, County staff asked Chase to extend one of Saratoga's unbuilt streets to the edge of the natural area, to give the County public access rights, and to allow the County to fence around the border of a wetland that extended into the Saratoga development. The swap of the 6-foot strip and the access/fencing rights was finalized in a boundary and road easement agreement in October 1993.

Chase's contractor for the storm sewer pipe did not mark the property line adequately, and damaged part of the County's property. The contractor piped the dewatering discharge from the project ditches into the County's property and pushed up low berms and dug shallow ditches to manage it. County staff threatened legal action and notified SFWMD of these permit violations. Chase agreed to have the contractor mark the property line, discharge the water on Chase' s property, and rehabilitate and replant the areas damaged by the contractor. Following completion of the drainage system improvements, Chase sold the unbuilt lots in Saratoga to Royal Professional Builders, Inc. and later sold the unplatted and undeveloped northern portion of Saratoga to the same company. The undeveloped southern portions of the Saratoga tract were later sold to Crestwood Lakes Associates in 1994.

By the 1990s building on lots in the Acreage accelerated, including those next to the natural area. The unpaved roads could not handle the traffic. ITWCD began to pave major roads, including Avocado Boulevard just north of the site. In late 1993 ITWCD cleared wetlands for a road extension without a permit, and was required by SFWMD to do off-site wetland mitigation. ITWCD proposed to convert the eastern portion of the 40th Street North drainage ditch on the northern border of the natural area to a shallow wetland swale and to plug the culverts that ran from the ditch under 40th Street North to the rest of the ITWCD drainage system. The County supported this project as it would improve wetland water levels on the northern edge of the natural area. Filling in the drainage ditch, however, would remove the barrier to ORV access from most of 40th Street North, and the County was prepared to erect a six-foot chain-link fence as soon as construction of the wetland swale was completed.

ITWCD and SFWMD disagreed over final grade of the swale, and the disagreement was not resolved for several months. The County had to put the fence installation on hold during this period. This left the site open to ORVs, which drove across the swale. At about the same time, ITWCD decided to fill in the western portion of the 40th Street North ditch, but did not notify the County in advance. This opened up several new ORV access points. By the time that the County was able to get the property line cleared and the chain-link fence installed along the northern border in 1994, ORV use had become well re-established at the natural area. Law enforcement efforts at the nearby Fox property (the present-day Pond Cypress Natural Area) had the unintended side effect of encouraging ORV users to switch to using the Royal Palm Beach Pines site. ORVs also started accessing the site from the east through the Saratoga development and from the southeast from Okeechobee Road via the Crestwood Lakes property.

After the chainlink fencing was erected, it was smashed down in several places by ORV operators. The holes were repaired and reinforced in places like the northeast corner, but a decision was made to leave a hole in the western portion of the chainlink fence until the eastern border of the site could be fenced. This decision, although practical, had the side effect of opening the site up again to renewed illegal dumping. In 1994 the County adopted the Palm Beach County Natural Areas Ordinance (Appendix G), which prohibits

operation of ORVs, dumping, hunting and other detrimental activities on natural areas. The natural area was posted with regulatory signs, but law enforcement activity to enforce these regulations was minimal.

In October 1993 a draft interim management plan was prepared for the natural area, which was followed by a draft final management plan in mid-1994. Review of the draft final management plan by the County's newly-appointed Natural Areas Management Advisory Committee (NAMAC) started in late 1994. The Committee held a public hearing on the plan at the H. L. Johnson Elementary School in March 1995 and the final plan was approved by the BCC in July 1995.

Exotic control efforts against punktree (also known as melaleuca) began in 1993. County mosquito control workers applied herbicides during the dry season. Initially, the concentration of herbicides used to kill the trees was too high, and resulted in considerable non-target kill of native species, such as slash pines, that were close to treated trees. Dry season control efforts also encouraged the establishment of new punktree seedlings from seeds released by dying trees. Lower herbicide concentrations were subsequently used, and a shift to wet season control efforts encouraged. The prescribed burning program started in May 1995 with the burn of the southern half of Unit 3.

In 1995 post-and-rail fencing was placed along the eastern border of the natural area to shut off ORV access from the Saratoga development and the undeveloped Crestwood Lakes land. This fencing was later extended around the Village's future park parcel to shut off ORV access to the natural area through the Village's land. The fence at the eastern border of the Village's land was repeatedly cut and damaged. It took a series of measures such as digging of ditches and placement of cables, telephone poles, and felled exotic trees until the fence finally kept the ORVs out. The gap in the northern fence remained open during this time. Public patience with the ORV users was running out, especially when two juveniles were caught riding a stolen tractor in the natural area. When the southeastern fence was completed, the northern fence gap was scheduled for repair and reinforcement in April 1995 in conjunction with a publicity blitz about a law enforcement crackdown. Surprisingly, the ORV users did not challenge the repaired fences and instead moved mostly to unprotected privately-owned lands along the Bee Line Highway in the proposed Hungryland Slough Natural Area, or back to the Fox Property. ORV use subsided to neighborhood teenagers sporadically cutting holes in the fence to bring in their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

In 1996 a 96-year lease agreement was signed with the Saratoga at Royal Palm Property Owners Association, Inc. (Appendix F) for the County to manage 11.23 acres of a common wetland in the northeast portion of the natural area that straddled the property line between the natural area and the Saratoga development. This wetland had already been included inside the natural area's fencing in 1995 under an earlier 1993 agreement. The natural area's public use facilities were designed in 1997 and constructed in the summer and fall of 1998. Native vegetation in the parking areas was relocated wherever possible. The newly-constructed facilities were opened to the public in November 1998 and worked reasonably well, except for repeated instances of vandalism damage at the eastern parking area. A disturbed teenager in the Saratoga development was suspected of being responsible for the damage, but there never was enough evidence for him to be charged with a crime, despite a $500 reward being offered.

In 1998 ITID removed the 40th Street North canal crossing built by Mr. Roach in 1983, and replaced it with a new canal control structure and road crossing. The new control structure and crossing was located to the north of the old crossing in order to line up better with the other sections of 40th Street North.

By 1999 it was clear the exotic plant control program was not meeting its objectives. The amount of work was more than the County's exotic plant control workers could handle. Pockets of mature punktree still remained, while abundant seedlings had sprouted from seeds released by previously-killed trees. A 5-acre lightning-caused wildfire in an untreated portion of Unit 5 in 1996 resulted in a major seed release and a carpet of new seedlings. A private contractor was hired to bring in trained work crews to kill the remaining mature trees and pull seedlings. The crews swept though the site unit by unit in 2000 and 2001 and brought the punktree population down to control levels.

In the late 1990s interest arose in developing the Crestwood Lakes Associates property east and south of the natural area. Atlantic Gulf Communities secured an option on the land and obtained approval of their development plans, but never closed on their option contract. Minto Communities, Inc. subsequently purchased the land for a proposed golf course community called Madison Green. The land would have been eligible for purchase as an addition to the natural area under the 1999 Land Acquisition Program for Conservation Purposes Bond Referendum, but the owners never expressed any interest in selling the land for conservation. The Village pursued development of athletic ballfields on a portion of its future park site in conjunction with the Madison Green development.

When Minto Communities bought the Crestwood Lakes land, it inherited the responsibility from the original 1985 SFWMD permit to remove the punktrees and other exotic plants from the 85-acre parcel leased by the County and the 30-acre Village future park parcel. Minto hired a contractor to remove these plants who used workers that were poorly-trained and poorly-supervised. By the time the County found out that they were working on the natural area in September 2000, they had already cut and herbicided over 5,000 native trees that they thought were exotic plants. The County estimated that the replacement cost of the cut trees was over $1 million and that the potential fines for violations of the natural areas ordinance totaled over $2.5 million. Minto offered a minimal amount to compensate for the damage, but the County quickly rejected it and moved to file a lawsuit.

In late 2000 a complex settlement was reached between the County and Minto, with the cooperation of the Village. The County received title to the 85 acres it leased from the Village, plus 26 acres of the Village's future park parcel. The easternmost 4 acres of the Village park parcel were retained by the Village for a park site. Minto provided the Village with a replacement parcel for the athletic ballfields elsewhere in the Madison Green development. Minto also paid the County $575,000, and provided 1,200 replacement trees for replanting purposes. The County assumed all exotic removal, maintenance, and monitoring responsibilities required under the SFWMD permit for the 111 acres that would be transferred to the County. The County and the Village terminated the 1993 Interlocal Ecosite Lease Agreement and entered into a new interlocal agreement (Appendix E) to establish use, management, and maintenance responsibilities for the expanded natural area.

This management plan was revised in 2001 by County staff as part of the required five-year review of the plan. The plan was reformatted in order make it more consistent with other natural area management plans.


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