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Sarasota News Leader July 26, 2013 Page 41 preserve. Stormwater flows through the canal into the preserve, which empties into Phillippi Creek. The new littoral shelf will allow water to filter through native vegetation, such as pickerelweed and arrowhead, which will replace the removed Cogongrass. In Segment B, the project will restore a 1-acre tract of forested swamp that had been dried out and mostly overgrown with another invasive species — Brazilian peppers. Two hundred pop ash trees, along with 50 Florida elms and 50 swamp tupelo trees, will replace the Brazilian peppers. An old half-rusted drainage pipe will be removed; in its place, workers will install a pipe designed to allow rainwater to flow better into the restored forested swamp. Crews will also construct another littoral shelf designed to filter nutrients from rainwater. In Segment C, crews will restore 1.5-acres of wetlands in the northern stretch of the preserve, near Proctor Road, and add two footA family of otters living in the park has been bridges for park goers to traverse. Crews will spotted during construction work. reshape the terrain so water moves slowly, allowing additional filtration of pollutants be- Meaux called Red Bug Slough "an oasis" amid development. The preserve was purchased in fore rainwater flows into Phillippi Creek. 2000 and 2001 through the county's EnvironThe longer water stays in the wetlands sys- mentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program, tem, the more pollutants are filtered out natu- with funding assistance provided by Florida rally, said Meaux, with Sarasota County Water Communities Trust. The preserve includes Resources. habitats such as prairie and hydric hammock, mesic flatwoods, hardwood basin swamps and Even though it is only halfway completed, waterways. the project already appeared to be altering the water flow after recent heavy rains, After the restoration, the preserve is "going to be a lot better," Meaux said. Semenec said. "You could see it was working, slowing down Additional work, however, will still be necesstormwater as it headed downstream," Seme- sary, because the project is not designed to remove all the invasive vegetation in the park. % nec noted.

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