In preparation for the expansion of the South Runway, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport contributed $10 million dollars to fund the mitigationin West Lake Park. The park was identified as an ideal mitigation area for two reasons. It is very close to the airport. Secondly, its need for exotic plant removal and habitat improvement under the park’s Master Mitigation Plan.
View from the Intracoastal Waterway looking west. Click on the image for a larger version.
The work for the Airport's mitigation work began in April, 2010. It was completed in November, 2011. The 34-acre project included two main aspects: habitation restoration and protecting shoreline habitat from erosion along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Removing Exotic Species
West Lake Park contains 63+ acres of exotic plant areas and spoil islands. Dirt from the excavation of the Intracoastal Waterway and West Lake make up the spoil islands. Habitat restoration began by removing the exotic (non-native) vegetation. Crews then removed soil and graded it to specific elevations creating four distinct tidal zones: channels, mudflats, tidal pools, and mangrove habitats. This will allow mangroves and other aquatic vegetation to regenerate naturally.
Workers used heavy machinery removing the exotic plants on the spoil islands that were not scraped down. Crews hand planted about 46,000 native plants to create upland hammocks. The spoil islands that previously contained only one or two exotic species now have 21 different native hammock plant species.
Protecting shoreline habitat along the Intracoastal Waterway was the second majorcomponent. Wave action from boats has eroded the shoreline and continually threatens the existing mangroves. Crews installed about 4,700 feet of rip rap crib along the shoreline south of Sheridan Street. Made of rocks, the crib allows the water to pass through while reducing the wave action. This protects the shore from further erosion and protects the existing mangroves and aquatic vegetation.
Click on the image for a larger version.
The restoration work will require five years of observation and habitat monitoring. West Lake Park is located at 751 Sheridan Street in Hollywood. Visit the West Lake Park website
. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5161.
See the Mitigation Gallery (menu in the upper left) for more photos of the project.
West Lake Park Mitigation Wins Environmental Award August 2011
FLL’s West Lake Park Wetland Mitigation Program Segment 1 has earned a prestigious award – the 2011 Environmental Excellence Award by the Florida Airports Council. The award recognizes member airports for promoting or implementing environmental projects that have a positive effect on the Florida aviation system.