Did you know that Gardner-Cobb Marsh is the largest District property near the Kissimmee Upper Chain of Lakes? The Gardner-Cobb Marsh consists of 11,000-acres of land nestled in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes watershed between Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha and Lake Kissimmee. Gentle slopes in elevation of mere inches results in a rolling landscape that produces a contrast in natural communities. Swamps, pine flatwoods and wet prairie are the dominant habitats found here, and in the fall and spring they burst with an array of wildflowers.
The goals of the Gardner-Cobb Marsh Restoration Project are to:
- Enhance existing wetlands by reducing drainage and extending the hydroperiod (number of days per year that an area of land is wet).
- Restore about 6,371 acres of over-drained marsh and natural wet prairie floodplain.
- Provide habitat for native wildlife.
- Improve water quality in the Okeechobee watershed.
Gardner-Cobb Marsh was acquired by SFWMD to support the Kissimmee River Headwaters Revitalization Project and later received permits for restoration. Ducks Unlimited offered to help SFWMD finish the restoration of the Gardner-Cobb Marsh and subsequently secured a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to complete the work. In addition to providing engineering and design expertise on the final plans, DU also contributed in-kind assistance and agreed to oversee the construction of the project. Watch a presentation on the project from the Dec. 2020 Recreation Forum to learn more.
Partnerships such as these are crucial to ensuring that South Florida’s natural spaces are restored and protected for the enjoyment of both humans and wildlife.