Protecting natural resources has always been a major focal point of waste management in Broward County. That commitment includes wetlands restoration, or mitigation, a process to compensate for any wetlands impacted by drainage or construction.
A wetlands area can be a marsh, a swamp, or even a muddy field covered with native plants and trees. Wetlands help absorb flood water, and act as a natural filter that captures pollutants as water trickles through and into the Biscayne Aquifer, the source of South Florida's drinking water. Wetlands also provide a refuge for birds and other animals.
One of our wetlands restoration projects, in Tree Tops Park, received honors for landscape enhancement. As proud as we are of this winner, it's just one of six areas, totaling 246 acres, that have been improved upon, or conserved, on behalf of the Resource Recovery System. Here are some of the results of our wetlands mitigation efforts:
- Riverine Area: 12 acres, adjacent to the south waste-to-energy plant. This area was previously occupied by a marine construction facility and other buildings. The site was covered predominantly by exotic vegetation such as Australian pine and Brazilian pepper. These were removed and the area was replanted with native vegetation. An upland island was created to protect marshes, swamps, and open-water areas from boat wakes.
- Ash Landfill: 14 acres, east of the south waste-to-energy plant's ash monofill. Additional wetlands and a wildlife habitat were created, and the existing habitat was enhanced through the removal of undesirable vegetation.
- Hacienda Flores: 16 acres, north of SR 84 and east of US 441. This area is now functioning as a viable ecosystem and enhances the New River, aesthetically and environmentally, by providing native upland hardwood and native freshwater hardwood marsh habitats.
- East Everglades Area: 30 acres, north of Griffin Road and east of US 27. This self-contained habitat of mixed marsh, upland hammock and open water now attracts a variety of mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates.
- Tree Tops Park: 24 acres located in the northwestern portion of the park. The area is now a pretty, high-quality wetland/upland habitat area with a boardwalk system and bridal path for park visitors.
- Broward Interim Contingency Landfill: 150 acres (out of 588 acres) that comprise three areas, east of US 27 and north of Sheridan Street. Mitigation resulted in hardwood swamp, marsh, open water and hammocks (tree islands).