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April - June, 2017  ~  Volume 5, Issue 2
Construction to replace the concrete reinforced side slopes of the outfall canal will last through March 2017.
For the past 29 years the Wetlands have been discharging flow nearly continuously.  Billions of gallons of water have rushed out of the final pipe into the canal that carries the flow to the St Johns River.  Starting in late February 2017, the outfall side slopes at the point of discharge are being replaced.  Contractor CE James was awarded a rapid response repair project to replace the concrete reinforced side slopes. The contractor will be installing large mats of articulating concrete blocks, which are solid concrete blocks that are cabled together with steel.  This new system of protection for the discharge canal should ensure that it is protected for the next 100 years.  The project is expected to be completed in March 2017.

By Mark Sees
The Outfall Canal carries clean water from the Wetlands Park to the St Johns River. Take a stroll across the outfall bridge and observe the aquatic life below. Then, walk the wooded trail along the banks to enjoy a different side of the Wetlands Park.

Southern Black Racer

Coluber constrictor priapus

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Common Snapping Turtle

Chelydra serpentina
In this issue we'd like to spotlight all of the Friends of the Orlando Wetlands (FOW) volunteers! With over 40 members, FOW volunteers assist the Park in a variety of ways. One of the most visible ways is through offering free tram tours to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am to 3 pm. On these tours, volunteers share not only their knowledge of the Park but also personal anecdotes that make touring the Wetlands a personal and engaging experience.
FOW volunteers also assist with behind-the-scenes projects such as creating educational materials for print and digital media, gardening and groundskeeping, event operations for onsite and offsite programs, assisting with park management, and providing interpretive education to guests. 

In 2016, FOW volunteers contributed over 3,500 hours to the Orlando Wetlands Park! Thank you to all of our volunteers!

Interested in volunteering at the Park? 
Speak with one of our volunteers or contact the Public Awareness Specialist at

Friends of the Orlando Wetlands (FOW) is a citizen support organization for the City of Orlando's Orlando Wetlands Park. Its mission is to assist the City of Orlando employees in providing educational opportunities to increase community awareness support and appreciation of the park and its wildlife. For more information about becoming a volunteer, please visit our website
Bulltongue Arrowhead   (Sagittaria lancifolia)
Bulltongue Arrowhead      (S. lancifolia) - closer view
The Arrowheads (genus Sagittaria) are aquatic, Florida native wildflowers that bloom at Orlando Wetlands Park (OWP) spring through fall.
There are at least 3 species in the park: (1) Bulltongue Arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia), (2) Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), and (3) Threadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria filiformis). All have white flowers with three petals.  All have flowers in whorls of flowers on a stalk.  
Bulltongue Arrowhead and Broadleaf Arrowhead are the most common arrowheads in the park.  Both have flower stalks to 3 feet or more in height with many flowers.   Both are sometimes referred to as Duck Potato because of their edible egg-shaped bulbs.  Bulltongue Arrowhead has narrow, lance-shaped leaves while Broadleaf Arrowhead has heart-shaped leaves.
Threadleaf Arrowhead is less abundant in the park.  Threadleaf Arrowhead is aquatic, with small, ovate leaves at the water's surface and small, white flowers that bloom just above the water's surface.
As you walk along the berms at OWP, look for arrowheads and see if you can identify all three species!

Text and photos by Randy Snyder and Mary Keim
Broadleaf Arrowhead   (Sagittaria latifolia)
Threadleaf Arrowhead   (Sagittaria filiformis)
Ceraunus Blue
(Hemiargus ceraunus)
dorsal view
Ceraunus Blue
(Hemiargus ceraunus)
ventral view
Two of Orlando Wetlands Parks'  65 or so butterfly species are blues (Subfamily Polyommatinae, Family Lycaenidae).  The Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) is the more common of the two.  Its caterpillar host plants include herbs in the Pea family (Fabaceae) such as Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) and Sensitive Pea (C. nictitans).  Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) is fairly rare in the park and its host plants include vines, shrubs and trees in the Pea family such as Hairypod Cowpea (Vigna luteola).  See the April-May 2016 newsletter for more about the Hairypod Cowpea. 

The blues get their name from the color of the dorsal surface of the wings, but that surface is usually seen only briefly when the butterflies fly.  The blues also sometimes show their dorsal surfaces when warming up.  On the more often seen ventral surface, the Ceraunus Blue is primarily gray with 2 dark spots along the leading edge of the hind wing and a single dark eyespot along the hindwing outer margin.  The Cassius Blue is brown and white striped with 2 dark eyespots along the outer margin of the hindwing.  Both of the park's blues are about the size of a nickel.

Ceraunus Blue can be seen flying along the berms of the park in search of nectar or laying eggs on one of its pea family host plants. Look closely and you may be fortunate enough to spot a Cassius Blue!
Text and photos by Randy Snyder
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) is fairly rare in the park and its host plants include vines, shrubs and trees in the Pea family such as Hairpod Cowpea (Vigna luteola).
2016 was a big year at the Wetlands Park! We were open for the first time during the winter season and numerous guests poured in to enjoy the Park's wildlife and wide open spaces. Over 12,000 visitors signed-in to the park. They came from all over Florida, all 50 U.S. states and from 37 countries as far away as New Zealand, China and Argentina!

A majority of Park visitors, 66% (8019 visitors), were Florida residents. Of those residents, 33% (3956 visitors) were from Orlando.
Visitors to the Orlando Wetlands Park
Over 12,000 visitors signed-in to the Park in 2016. They came from all over the state of Florida, all 50 U.S. states and from 37 countries as far away as New Zealand, China and Argentina! 
Friends of the Orlando Wetlands will be available for tram tours on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9:00 am. Tours are first come, first served. Seating capacity per tour is 14 people. No reservation required. Tours are free but donations are welcome!
For the most up-to-date information about public tour dates, programs and important park notifications, visit our "Schedule of Events" page at
We will feature an exhibit "When Nature Goes Bad! Invasive & Nuisance Species" during the months of April through June. Visit the center to explore live animals, hands-on displays, and incredible photographs by the Friends of the Orlando Wetlands! 
Copyright © 2017 Orlando Wetlands Park, All rights reserved.

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