Nearly 80 structures and 70 miles of roads removed in Florida
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) celebrated two years of construction progress on the Picayune Strand Restoration Project in western Collier County.
Part of the Acceler8 initiative launched by Governor Jeb Bush in October 2004, the project is restoring the natural sheetflow of water through more than 55,000 acres of lands, improving water quality and enhancing wetland ecosystems to protect threatened and endangered species.
“While most of the other Acceler8 projects focus on the building of massive reservoirs to store water and stormwater treatment areas to cleanse the water, the Picayune Strand Restoration Project is one of only three projects restoring the natural water flow through demolition,” said DEP South District office director Jon Iglehart.
Among the milestones achieved to date, nearly half of the more than 160 existing structures on the Picayune Strand have been demolished as part of the restoration. In addition, more than 400 industrial truck loads totaling 7,200 tons of milled asphalt have been removed from nearly 70 miles of roads that are currently being degraded to restore blocked flowways. In addition, the Florida Division of Forestry is stockpiling the milled asphalt for future road maintenance, and used tires, concrete rubble and steel from abandoned vehicles have been set aside for recycling.
Project managers anticipate that more than 40 miles of canals will be plugged by the end of 2007 to allow back-flooding into adjacent wetlands and restore the natural habitat of numerous protected species. Demolition of all manmade structures also is projected to be completed by next year, and altogether, more than 260 miles of roads are expected to be removed or regraded by 2009, completing the restoration effort.