|Session II: Environmental Management
||Abstract #: 97203
SOUTHERN GOLDEN GATE ESTATES HYDROLOGIC RESTORATION PLAN
Gail Abbott and Ananta Nath
South Florida Water Management District
Southern Golden Gate Estates (SGGE) encompasses approximately 94 square miles of predominately wetlands in south central Collier County and is part of a failed real estate development. Construction of road and drainage canals have lead to groundwater drawdown, exotic species invasion, wetland degradation, intense wildfires and unnatural salinity levels in the downstream estuaries. The State of Florida included the area in the "Save Our Everglades" Conservation and Recreational Lands program in 1985. Approximately 40 percent of the land has been acquired. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) recently completed development of a conceptual hydrologic restoration plan for SGGE. The primary objective of the study was to reduce overdrainage and restore historic sheetflow while maintaining flood protection north of the project. A continuous process hydrologic-hydraulic simulation model of the watershed was developed using the EPA's watershed modeling program Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran to quantify rainfall-runoff patterns and soil storage components under five alternative restoration plans. An alternative with structural components of spreader channels, canal plugs, pump stations and partial leveling of roads was recommended. After the plan was submitted to the Governor in early 1996, the State's Department of Environmental Protection initiated an inter-agency review for gaining a better understanding of the plan, roles of affected agencies, issues in need of resolution and time line for the project. Currently, the SFWMD and the Natural Resource Conservation Service are involved in an cooperative watershed planning agreement to obtain additional topographic, vegetation and soils data for analyzing the ecological impacts of restored hydrologic regimes. The hydrologic and ecologic restoration of SGGE is unique in its notable size and flood protection constraints and will require an interdisciplinary and cooperative approach among many agencies as well as a strong commitment from the public.