In June 2003, Lee County was approached by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use Prairie Pines as a test site for The Area Wide Management Evaluation of Melaleuca (TAME Melaleuca) project. This 40-acre site was used as a demonstration site for natural resources managers and private land owners to show the available techniques for melaleuca control, including chemical, mechanical and biological. In April 2005 and March 2006, field tours and demonstrations were conducted on site to see the response to the different techniques used on site.
In 2004, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection granted Lee County $281,000 to remove melaleuca at Prairie Pines Preserve.
With matching funds from Conservation 2020 management funds, work was started in the western arm with a mulching machine, "Brontosaurus."
Standing trees were mulched in place. This removal will benefit the native pine trees and ground cover on site.
No planting will be necessary because a large seed source is still available on site. Once all trees were removed, new resprouts and seedlings were treated with herbicide and will be retreated until controlled. In 2009, Prairie Pines Preserve was open to the public with ADA facilities and multi-use trails (ADA, primitive, equestrian and bike) that will lead you through areas where the melaleuca have been removed.
Photo Point Monitoring Station 1:
November 30, 2004
April 14, 2005
April 6, 2006
April 14, 2008