Meet our Awesome Associate Rick Harman, an Environmental Project Manager in our West Palm Beach, Florida office.
WGI Celebrates Earth Day… Every Day!
Every year, we observe Earth Day; a day where more than a billion people unite to help transform human behavior and create policy changes on a local, national, and global level. Earth Day originated back in 1970, the brainchild of United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, who organized a national demonstration aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues threatening our planet. Throughout the course of that year, rallies took place all over the country, culminating with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at the end of the year. Since its inception, Earth Day has continued to grow worldwide, with over 140 countries taking part in the annual celebration.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Restore Our Earth“. As awareness of our current climate crisis continues to grow, environmental protections are at the top of everyone’s mind. WGI has nationally-recognized leaders in the field of ecosystem restoration, including the restoration of the Everglades. In addition, WGI’s professionals stay abreast of regulatory changes and provide our clients with creative solutions utilizing crucial regional knowledge developed through years of experience. This desire for environmental protection and the “leave it better than you found it” mentality, is manifested in every project we touch.
As we gear up to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, let’s take a look at what WGI is doing every day, to help protect, preserve, and restore our planet.
Protecting Threatened Species
Working under a continuing contract with the School District of Palm Beach County, WGI restored a gopher tortoise preserve area at the Dwight D Eisenhower Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Gopher tortoises dig deep burrows to shelter in and share their burrows with more than 350 other species. Because of this, they are commonly referred to as a keystone species.
WGI performed an initial gopher tortoise burrow survey to locate and mark all burrows in the area so they would be protected during restoration activities. Exotic and nuisance vegetation was removed or treated in place and replaced with native vegetation to provide forage for the tortoises. WGI also provided oversight of vegetation maintenance and irrigation on this project, including periodic treatments of regrowth of exotic vegetation.
Together with the Town of Davie, Central Broward Water Control District, Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, WGI helped obtain permits for impacts to natural resources on a 97.23-acre property in Boynton Beach Florida. WGI designed an 11.51-acre preserve, which included protected trees, wetlands, and surface waters, protecting 38% of the wetland functions on the project site. The reserve was designed to mimic natural Everglades characteristics, including teardrop-shaped tree islands and bowl-shaped deep water refugia, to concentrate prey during low water levels. A duck box and an osprey perch were also erected in the preserved area.
WGI continues to perform monthly maintenance of the wetland preserve, to help prevent exotic and nuisance plant species from getting out of control. We also provide regular wetland monitoring and reporting on the establishment and current quality of the preserve, to ensure compliance with all agencies involved is continuing to be met.
The City of Fort Lauderdale reached out to WGI to design a shoreline protection project, with the goal to reduce erosion along the southern extent of the Bill Keith Preserve Park adjacent to the new river. A coastal engineering assessment was performed and then a shoreline stabilization concept was designed, to address wave attenuation, currents, vessel generated waves, sediment transport, and sea-level rise.
With resiliency and sustainability an ever-increasing concern among South Florida communities, riprap areas were designed taking into consideration projected sea-level rise while avoiding impacts to existing mangroves along the shoreline. WGI’s environmental scientists took the lead on working with federal, state, and local government regulatory agencies to obtain environmental permits for the project.
An underwater submerged resource survey in addition to a shoreline assessment documenting protected species (e.g., seagrass and mangroves) was performed to support the permitting process. The presence of sensitive cultural and archeological resources located within the upland areas of the Bill Keith Preserve Park presented additional permitting complexities.
Do Your Part
As we prepare to commemorate another Earth Day, here are some examples of what we can do as individuals to bring about awareness and change in our local communities and our own lives:
- Educate yourself on the importance of sustainability, resiliency, and adaptation approaches, policies and investments
- Volunteer for cleanups in your community
- Plant a tree (or two!)
- Start a garden or a plant collection
- Start composting and/or recycling (cut down on how much you throw away)
- Try to purchase more sustainable and environmentally friendly brands/products
- Donate to a charity focused on preservation, restoration, and protection efforts
- Find alternative transportation options- ride a bike or take a walk whenever possible
Celebrating Earth Day each year helps us remain cognizant of just how delicate our ecosystem is, and why it is so crucial we do everything in our power to protect it. While we may not be able to undo decades of destruction overnight, making a conscious decision each and every day, to focus on at least one thing we can change or contribute to in our daily lives, can make a significant impact on helping heal our planet. It all starts with turning good intentions into good habits.
We Can Help
Our scientists, arborists, geologists, divers, inspectors, surveyors, and engineers are ready to take on your next project. Contact us and let our team of professionals put their extensive knowledge and experience to work for you!
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