What does limestone have to do with wetland restoration? When it comes to the revitalization of South Florida’s wetland flora and fauna, the Miami-Dade Limestone Products Association (M-DLPA) is part of the solution. In February 2022, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) announced an acceleration of plans to restore 7,800 acres of former citrus groves into a productive wetland habitat as part of the Sam Jones/Abiaki Prairie Restoration Project. This important Everglades restoration project is made possible by funding from the Wetland Mitigation Fee paid by purchasers of limestone products as a way to support conservation efforts in South Florida.
From our beaches to swamps and wetlands, Florida’s environment is special. The aim of the restoration project is to restore the original ecosystem of this environmentally sensitive area, located just north of the Big Cypress National Preserve. Before it became a citrus farm, the land featured a mix of wet prairie, sloughs, marshes, tree islands, wet flatwoods, oak hammocks and cypress wamp. This restoration project will ensure that the preserve will enjoy a beneficial second life, improving water quality for future generations and creating wildlife habitat for wading birds, haws, eagles, bears and the Florida panther.
The Sam Jones/Abiaki Prairie Restoration Project is just the most recent example of Miami-Dade’s limestone producers’ commitment to conservation. Since 1999, M-DLPA’s members have contributed more than $126 million to protect, preserve and restore historic wetlands throughout South Florida. It’s part of the historic Lake Belt Plan — developed by a group of civic, business and environmental leaders — who established a long-term approach to balance the needs of a growing community with environmental protection.
M-DLPA’s support for the Sam Jones/Abiaki Prairie Restoration Project is an important expression of the industry’s ongoing commitment to restore and safeguard one of our state’s most valuable treasures, the Everglades, and reflects the limestone industry’s commitment to environmental conservation.