Partnership for Wetland Restoration and Public Use: A Case Study

The T. M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area (WMA) is a 1,566-ha freshwater wetland restoration project developed by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (Commission) in east central Florida. The land was historically floodplain marsh, but was drained beginning in the 1950s and thereafter managed as improved pasture for cattle production. The St. Johns River Water Management District (District) purchased the land in 1988 for $6.3 million, and leased it to the Commission to restore wetland habitat and provide public recreation. Based on conceptual input from the Commission, the District prepared engineering design and project construction plans. The Commission, Ducks Unlimited, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council provided $1,340,500 to restore and enhance wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife, develop the WMA's office and maintenance facilities, and purchase management equipment. Project development resulted in the establishment of 10 wetland management units on one-half of the WMA, where moistsoil wetland management techniques are implemented to restore native wetland plant communities and control exotic vegetation. The remainder of the WMA serves as a semi-permanently flooded marsh. Open to the public year-round, the WMA provides activities such as waterfowl hunting, hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Future activities will include bank and small boat fishing from a stocked 37-ha lake.

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