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The Florida Gulf Coast University campus has a total of 807 acres. In the future, the University will have 324 acres of restored wetlands, 23 acres of created wetlands and 121 acres of upland preserve. The remaining 339 acres are developed with buildings and landscaping, only 20 acres are under landscaped irrigation and 18 of those acres are developed as solar fields. Of the landscaped acreage only 20 acres are under irrigation, which was done to achieve the aesthetic and architectural requirements in the University Master Plan. The remaining acreage is landscaped with natural, indigenous plant material. The University is responsible, through Physical Plant, for managing and monitoring these wetlands to achieve compliance with the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Environmental Protection, and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) requirements. The principle component of the wetland mitigation plan is the hydrological restoration and enhancement of the wetland systems. The majority of natural areas on the FGCU campus were highly infested with Melaleuca, as well as a variety of exotic and nuisance vegetation as a result of previous disturbances such as drainage, logging, and wildfires. Through hydrolic enhancement, exotic invasive species removal and selective replanting, the wetlands will be restored and enhanced. In addition, wetlands have been created from existing low-quality uplands. Any outside work needed for the wetlands and grounds is done through contractual services with consultants and qualified private firms.
The Grounds staff provides daily services including campus litter removal, inspection of Big Belly solar compactors and dumpster areas to determine whether trash and recycling bins need to be emptied, and inspection of the entire campus for any immediate landscape and irrigation issues. In addition to their daily responsibilities, the Grounds Department also conducts periodic inspections and maintenance of the irrigation system and fuel tanks on campus.
Mitigation on FGCU’s campus includes day to day duties of treating exotic pests throughout the natural areas of campus. This is an ongoing challenge, as numerous other invasive species are filling the areas that were cleared by previous mitigation efforts. Mitigation activities also include planting native species on campus in order to achieve the management standards set by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
If an event is planned in outdoor areas, it is important to contact the Work Management Center at email@example.com or 590-1370 with information regarding the event (date, time, etc.) to ensure the event runs smoothly.
The Grounds Department is responsible for the irrigation in the main areas on campus. If an event will occur during the times irrigation is scheduled to take place, it is important to contact the Work Management Center to ensure irrigation will be turned off for the event.
The grounds department also provides waste and recycling containers as requested for outdoor events. If containers are needed for an event, contact the Work Management Center, so the drop off and retrieval of event containers can be coordinated with the Grounds Department.
As part of the mitigation process on campus, the Ground Department is responsible for the removal of non-native plant species. The Grounds Department is currently focusing on the eradication of invasive non-native species, as these types of plant can cause the most damage to natural areas. The invasive non-native species most commonly removed from FGCU’s campus include Brazilian Pepper, Melaleuca, Old World Climbing Fern, Caesar Weed, Cogongrass, Torpedo Grass, Downy Rose Myrtle, and Earleaf Acacia.
The Grounds staff saves and transplants trees from slated construction zones. Several of these trees are planted behind Howard Hall and next to Griffin Hall, and are the original orphans from various building sites over the last 14 years. Over the last several years, 116 Sabal Palms, 8 Live Oaks and 2 Cypress trees were taken from building sites on campus, and relocated to other areas around the FGCU campus, including the Tree Orphanage.
Photo of Tree Orphanage taken from behind Howard Hall
Photo of Tree Orphanage from Merwin Hall