Baird Tract Wetland Restoration
RS&H provided engineering and environmental services to improve wetlands within the Baird Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. The project area is part of the Green Swamp, an ecologically sensitive and protected area due to the role it plays in the state’s drinking water supply.
The project will mitigate 23.3 acres of wetland impacts associated with the Florida Department of Transportation’s SR 44 project by restoring water levels in approximately 1,300 acres. The project will also restore historic hydroperiods, natural sheetflow, and drainage patterns, as well as address the drainage of some wetlands and excess surface water along roadside swales caused by manmade ditching.
RS&H was responsible for all phases of this project, including planning, engineering design, permitting, and construction. The planning phase encompassed data collection, stakeholder coordination, and the characterization and model development of existing conditions. RS&H coordinated with the US Forest Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to obtain all necessary permits. The team used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), a remote sensing system, to collect topographic data. RS&H utilized ground-truthing and surveying methodologies to verify depth. Continuous recorders were used to collect water level data on an hourly basis, which provided a real-time record of hydrological conditions.
Improving wetlands can result in enhanced water quality, increased onsite storage of surface water, and improved wildlife habitat. The entire watershed will benefit from the restoration and is likely to become more ecologically valuable.
Ecological Services & Permitting
|Location||Baird Tract, Withalacoochee State Forest
Sumter County, FL
|Client/Owner||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|