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Stantec to support coastal habitats and tidal connectivity in Florida Keys

The Sugarloaf Key Restoration Project aims to reestablish coastal habitats and improve existing tidal connectivity


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has selected leading global design firm Stantec to conduct a hydrologic study within the Johnson Tract on Sugarloaf Key in the Florida Keys. The 928-acre tract is part of the Sugarloaf Key Restoration Project, which seeks to restore native coastal habitats and improve existing tidal connectivity.

Currently, the Johnson Tract lagoon has a single culvert providing poor tidal flow and limiting the exchange of water. This has resulted in poor water quality and a negative impact on the ecosystem, including fish populations and mangroves. During this study, the Stantec team will collect tidal data and create a numerical, hydrologic model to better understand the existing tidal exchange conditions. Once the model is complete, the firm will then provide FWC with a variety of design options that will improve the flushing of water through the sound and restore the health of the ecosystem.

The isolation of tidal waters to the lagoon stems from the construction of a loop access road around the Johnson Tract. Stantec’s design recommendations for the new tidal connections will also focus on maintaining vehicle access to the area while preserving the public’s access to the tract’s recreational trail.

In addition to the saltwater lagoon, the Johnson Tract is also home to freshwater wetlands that wildlife, like the endangered Key deer, depend upon. Stantec’s study will include an assessment of the possible negative impacts of tidal reconnection on these wetlands, to ensure they remain healthy and unaffected.

“Florida wetlands are precious resources that provide invaluable natural capital to communities,” said Matt Starr, project manager at Stantec. “We’re proud to support the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the Sugarloaf Key Restoration Project and its efforts to improve and protect the Johnson Tract.”

Stantec has a long history of providing environmental studies and design in Florida. The firm supported the FWC’s Oleta River State Park Mangrove Restoration in North Miami Beach with the design of three new inlet structure and culvert systems. These systems replaced failing and outdated infrastructure to reconnect tidal flows and improve the health of the wetlands and sensitive natural resources. Stantec also supported the Southwest Florida Water Management District with the design of the Three Sisters Springs Bank Stabilization project in Sarasota, Florida. The project restored the banks of a warm-water refuge used by manatees in the winter, ensuring the environment’s continued use by both people and manatees alike for years to come.

Learn more about Stantec Environmental Services practice here.

About Stantec
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That's why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they're our communities too. This allows us to assess what's needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what's never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We're designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN. 

Media Contact                                               
Ben Carter
Stantec Media Relations
Ph (352) 406-2251

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