Gary’s deep understanding of social and environmental issues will help our clients address the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainability, resiliency, and adaptation.
Onsite Wetland Mitigation Areas – Sterling Ranches
This 100-acre property was previously a tree nursery that contained over 28.60 acres of wetlands. The wetlands consisted of a dense thicket of exotic and nuisance vegetation like melaleuca, Brazilian pepper, and Carolina willow. The on-site wetland mitigation area was developed as part of the permitting process to provide a large, ecologically consistent habitat in the heart of Broward County.
Precise design was necessary to create the successful wetland ecosystem that is present today. WGI environmental scientists meticulously selected an innovative combination of design components for this wetland mitigation area.
The design elevations were selected to be consistent with the control water elevation of the development’s stormwater management system to ensure an optimized hydrologic regime. While the large expanses of freshwater marsh are the main feature of the wetland, there are several other design choices that enhance ecological function.
The wetland has a variety of elevations to accommodate seasonal high and low waters. There are two deep-water refugia bowls on either end of the wetland that are designed to concentrate and trap prey for wading birds during drought conditions.
An additional deep-water channel running from the east end, where the pre-treated stormwater drainage enters the wetland, to the west end, where a culvert connects the system to the adjacent Central Broward Drainage District canal, helps to promote the movement of water through the system.
There are two teardrop-shaped tree islands that mimic similarly shaped, naturally-occurring islands in the Everglades. The higher elevation in the hammock hosts hardwood canopies that provide foraging and nesting habitat for wildlife. The islands also contain an osprey perch and duck box to encourage the use of the wetland.
On-site wetland mitigation is likely to become a more common sight throughout South Florida as mitigation banks have sold out of available credits. Until new credits are released to the mitigation banks, permittee-responsible mitigation is the only option available.
WGI has leading experience in the design, permitting, installation, maintenance, and monitoring of these mitigation areas. We can create successful mitigation that not only meets the permitting requirements of the development but also provides a unique amenity that increases the value of the community.
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