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Clay Electric spotlights substation site restoration

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Clay Electric Cooperative posted an internally produced video, Dec. 14, on Youtube highlighting the organization’s efforts to restore the former site of its Central Tower Substation in the Ocala National Forest.

According to the production, the coop built the substation in the late 1960’s but is no longer using it. The Keystone Heights-based power supplier began tearing down the structure in 2009 and over the next three years, restored the site. In the video, Senior Engineer Chris Bryan said the coop consulted with Florida’s Forestry Service and an environmental consultant during the restoration to preserve habitats for native species including the Florida Sand Skink, the Florida Scrub Jay and the Florida Morning Glory.

Stan Simpkins of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said his agency made recommendations for the habitat needs of federally listed and protected species. He added that the service also recommended restoration methods that would not damage habitats.

Environmental consultant Jeff Wahl said it would take a decade or more for natural growth to completely restore the site to its original state. He said that the coop’s efforts got that process off to a good start.

“There was a very unique restoration opportunity for Clay Electric…returning this whole area to a natural scrub environment,” he said. “We’ve completed the planting and transplanting of nursery stock comparable to the local plants, trees and scrub and now we are basically ready to sit back and watch mother nature do her magic over the next 10 years, plus.”

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