INDIANTOWN, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company today announced that it will re-open the famed Barley Barber Swamp for public tours beginning Nov. 3, 2010. The 400-acre freshwater preserve is considered one of the finest remaining old-growth cypress swamps in Florida.
The Treasured Lands Foundation will conduct free tours of the swamp, which is home to red maples, cabbage palms, red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, alligators, turtles, bald eagles and one of the largest bald cypress trees in the United States, among many other fascinating flora and fauna.
“Barley Barber’s unique ecosystem continues to thrive because of the stewardship efforts of FPL and our community partners, and we are pleased to be able to re-open this natural treasure to the public,” said Randy LaBauve, FPL’s vice president of environmental services.
“Barley Barber is an important environmental and educational asset for the local community, and it is wonderful to be able to once again have public tours,” said Charles Barrowclough, executive director of the Treasured Lands Foundation.
The Barley Barber Swamp is located on the property of FPL’s Martin County power plant, approximately a mile east of Lake Okeechobee and due west of Indiantown. In 1972, FPL acquired this large swath of land to build the power plant to serve its growing customer base.
In 1973, FPL conducted extensive environmental surveys of the site and recognized the ecological importance of the old growth cypress community. The company began voluntarily preserving the swamp, and in 1980, built a one-mile boardwalk that runs through the heart of Barley Barber.
For many years, the swamp served as a popular destination for school children and nature lovers. But following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it was closed to the public as a security measure due to its proximity to FPL’s Martin Plant. Since then, FPL, the Treasured Lands Foundation and other organizations have continued to preserve the swamp. In recent years, the swamp’s boardwalk was renovated and invasive vegetation was cleared in preparation for the re-opening.
The Florida Conservation Commission has listed the swamp as a prime viewing site for wildlife. For more information about the swamp or to schedule a tour, visit www.BarleyBarber.org.
Florida Power & Light
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with more than 10,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.