By: Kristen Qualls
Land Stewardship Technician, Southeastern Region
During the month of February, Westervelt Ecological Services’ (WES) Southeastern Region Land Stewardship Team planted 892 acres of wetlands at two WES mitigation banks: Alabama River and Pensacola Bay. Planting season typically occurs during the winter months for greater tree survival. This is due to dormancy and trees tend to be less stressed during the winter. For the best ecological results, it is important to not only plant a species within its native range of occurrence but also within the appropriate habitat of that range.
The Alabama River Mitigation Bank, which is located in Monroe and Wilcox Counties, Alabama, was restored with 110,000 bottomland hardwood seedlings. For maximum diversity, a total of 15 different bottomland hardwood species were planted over six days by a 14-person crew planting 358 acres of wetlands. Although the days were long, cold, and rainy, the crew successfully planted about 17,000 trees per day.
The Pensacola Bay Mitigation Bank located in Santa Rosa County, Florida, was planted with 55,000 longleaf pine and 2,500 bottomland hardwoods. The crew planted 534 acres in three days with a 16-person team averaging 15,700 trees per day in the panhandle.