Dollars in the Swamp

The Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve may be seeing some improvements soon.
During its meeting this week, the Escambia County Commission will be looking at dedicating $200,000. toward the project in order to receive an equal amount of money from the state.

On April 5, commissioners approved an agreement with the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the development of the Southwest Greenway, Jones Swamp Trail Extension 3 under the Recreational Trails Project. If they choose to approve a supplemental budget amendment this week to formalize the arrangement, the county will receive a $200,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and will also be responsible for matching that grant. Escambia County’s matching funds will come from the Local Option Sales Tax fund, and also in the way of in-kind services.

The improvements are to include additions to the existing walking trail and a new boardwalk over the wetlands. The money will also pay for the addition of a trailhead east of Fairfield Drive.

The Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve consist of 1,300 acres inside the Jones Creek Watershed in west Escambia County. The area was set aside in 1996 as part of the Bayou Chico restoration efforts.

Management activities in the preserve include performing prescribed burns to enhance native vegetation and reduce fuel loads; installing beaver-dam levelers to reduce flooding in residential areas; reconstructing more than one mile of creek section to restore natural stream processes; and constructing the Glynn Key Stormwater Educational Project and Boardwalk—the boardwalk trail connects to the Lexington Terrace Park.

The Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve is open sunrise to sunset. The preserve is located at  198 Patton Drive (Jones Swamp East) and 1131 Patton Drive (Jones Swamp West).

The Escmabia County Commission meets Thursday at 9 a.m. at the county complex in downtown Pensacola.