Located on the site of a former phosphate mine, the Alafia Preserve and Eagle Ridge properties are slated for a new life. But not before 33.8 acres can be restored to three shrub/forested wetlands, in compliance with a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit. Unfortunately, restoration efforts by previous owners had failed miserably; the vast majority of 25,000 planted trees and shrubs had died, leaving an environmental and regulatory conundrum.
Enter Stantec’s ecological restoration and regulatory compliance experts. They suspected that soil and hydrologic conditions at the sites could not sustain the type of growth observed in a nearby reference wetland system. A corrective action plan to collect water table and rainfall data, reevaluate the reference wetland, and establish Interim Vegetative Maintenance Areas (IVMAs), complete with a complex electronic data collection system, was devised.
The IVMAs—basically 0.2 acre test plots —will demonstrate a revised planting and maintenance scheme that can ultimately be applied to all of the restored wetland, putting this future west central Polk County development back on track to meet its reclamation deadlines.