By Gary Lloyd
An area of Tapawingo Springs Preserve near Pinson is expected to get an outdoor classroom, boardwalk and pavilion in the future, according to the Freshwater Land Trust.
Executive and Communications Assistant Shaina Berry said the Trust is currently in the process of removing debris and replanting an addition to the preserve. The Trust has worked for the last 15 years to acquire and protect the properties encompassing the preserve and to restore areas that had been previously impacted by development, Berry said.
“Once the site is secured and re-established as part of Tapawingo Springs, the FWLT plans to seek additional funding to utilize the site for guided educational tours and an outdoor classroom with a low impact, site sensitive boardwalk and pavilion,” Berry said in an email.
Berry said the Tapawingo Plunge swimming pool facility and a stream-side house have been removed, along with all pavement and impervious surfaces associated with these developments. Native woody and herbaceous vegetation have been restored to the sites and the Trust continues work to eradicate invasive plant species and re-establish native plants species throughout the preserve that will protect and and enhance its terrestrial and aquatic habitats, Berry said.
The Trust in March 2012 acquired the former 4.4-acre Tapawingo Mobile Home Park site, which was built in the 1960s. Prior to its construction, the site was part of Tapawingo Springs and supported a wetland habitat.
“Our ultimate goal in acquiring the mobile home park site is to restore the site to its original natural condition as a functioning component of the Tapawingo Springs wetland complex,” Berry said. “By doing so, we not only increased the footprint of available habitat for the watercress and rush darters, but also further improve the riparian and aquatic habitat conditions that sustain the nearby vermilion darter as well.”
Berry said the Trust has begun the process over several work days with the city of Leeds. The process is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
“We could not have done everything mentioned without a number of partners including B.A.S.S., the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the city of Clay, the city of Pinson, Ducks Unlimited and many others,” Berry said.
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