The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program recently completed the restoration of nearly half of the Preserve through a cooperative funding agreement with SWFWMD and the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, F.I.S.H. Restoration implemented by contracting firm Earthbalance resulted in more wetland acreage, improved tidal circulation, and the reestablishment of natural hydro-periods. The restoration also achieved the removal of exotic vegetation, such as Brazilian pepper and Australian pine, which were a major concern particularly in the transitional wetlands and coastal islands. In place of problematic exotics, the project planted native species, which will contribute to the recovery of natural habitats. In addition to removing piles of refuse at the site, the contractor created saltwater wetlands in a two-acre area recently prepared by clearing Australian pines and other exotic trees.