Virginia Key Beach Park is a popular weekend destination for residents of Miami, FL. In the last 50 years, invasive plants, particularly Australian pine and Brazilian pepper, have spread prolifically and left only remnants of native habitat. The Virginia Key Ecosystem Restoration Project involved removal of non-native, invasive plants within 50 acres of coastal dune, tropical hardwood hammock, and wetland habitats and planting approximately 25,000 native plants in these areas and an additional 8 acres of dune habitat. All of the work areas contained a mixture of invasive and native plants, and much effort was expended to minimize impact on native vegetation, particularly mangroves and endangered plants. Otis Bay also constructed a multi-use recreational trail to provide visitors with more opportunities to explore the park. This restoration project required extensive collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, City of Miami, Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, and Miami-Dade County. The restoration project was successful as exhibited by 100% plant survival at the end of the maintenance period and frequent use of the recreational trail.
This project is complete, and native plants continue to thrive.