As part of our mission to preserve the biological diversity of the southeastern Coastal Plain, we manage two properties in the Florida Panhandle. Rowlett’s Creek Preserve is an 80-acre in-holding in the Apalachicola National Forest that we are converting from a slash pine plantation back to a native longleaf pine forest. Crown Point Preserve is a 170-acre white-topped pitcher plant bog on the eastern shores of Perdido Bay that we acquired as a mitigation package for a nearby subdivision.
Rowlett’s Creek Preserve
In 1994 the Coastal Plains Institute acquired a superb 80-acre in-holding in the Apalachicola National Forest about 3 miles NW of Sumatra, Liberty County, Florida. Unfortunately, the dry uplands (about 40 acres) had been bedded and planted to slash pine about 1980, but our tract is surrounded by the very best stand of second-growth longleaf pine/wiregrass (by the Forest Service’s own reckoning, Compartments 98 & 100) left on the national forest. In addition, it has 3 small (2-5 acres) seepage bogs, joins a 150-acre wet flat, and has a blackwater stream running through it. It is our goal to fully restore this site to its natural conditions, and to build a small facility there to serve as our biological research station and environmental education center.
Crown Pointe Preserve
In 1996, the Coastal Plains Institute acquired a superb 170-acre white-topped pitcher plant bog on the eastern shores of Perdido Bay in Escambia County, Florida (west of Pensacola). We acquired this property as a mitigation package that allowed a developer to create a subdivision on about 20 acres of wetlands in exchange for giving CPI the ownership and a small endowment to assist in our management over time. CPI signed a conservation easement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in which our mission is to restore and maintain in perpetuity the wet flat to its presettlement condition. Mainly, this means applying prescribed fire frequently to suppress the evergreen shrubs (especially titi) that have invaded it. We have already divided the property into 40-acre management compartments and prescribe burned them for the first time in 1997.