Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Initiative

Data and Document Repository

As a result of pollution and hydrological degradation and alteration to local coastal watersheds, the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Initiative (CHFI) was formed to initiate efforts to restore natural drainage across the Gator Slough Watershed with water that has been unnaturally impounded on the Fred C. Babcock–Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (Babcock-Webb WMA) and diverted from the Yucca Pens Unit WMA, Caloosahatchee River, and tidal creeks to Charlotte Harbor.

The Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Initiative (CHFI) is an established partnership of diverse stakeholders, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Lee County, Charlotte County, City of Cape Coral, Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP), Charlotte Harbor Buffer Preserve State Park, numerous NGOs, private stakeholders, and many others who are planning and implementing projects for this multi-phased, 90-square mile regional hydrological restoration of Babcock-Webb WMA, the Yucca Pens Unit, Charlotte Harbor, and the impaired Caloosahatchee Estuary Watershed.

The CHFI Area of Focus begins with the 65,879-acre Babcock-Webb WMA—the headwaters of the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods area, which historically drained west-southwest towards Matlacha Pass via the 20,000-acre Yucca Pens Unit. Surface water flow pathways from Babcock-Webb WMA to the Yucca Pens Unit have been altered by development of farms, mining, highways, and residential lands on either side of I-75. The developments have berms along their perimeters that have blocked the historic flow pathways to Yucca Pens. Babcock-Webb WMA flows to the west have been restricted and diverted and wet season stages and hydroperiods in the southwest portions of the Babcock-Webb WMA are now greater than are typical for pine flatwoods, mesic oak hammocks, and shallow marshes. As a result, much of the runoff from the Babcock-Webb WMA flows north, south, and east. Due to upstream flow constrictions and downstream drainage over decades, the Yucca Pens Unit west of I-75 experiences lower water depths and shorter hydroperiods. Bond Farm has been acquired by the State of Florida to store excess Babcock-Webb WMA water during the wet season to enhance the Babcock-Webb WMA wet season stages and hydroperiod, to reduce excessive wet season flows discharging south towards Prairie Pines Preserve, and to eventually extend the shortened hydroperiod the Yucca Pens currently experiences. The Bond Farm Hydrologic Enhancement Impoundment is currently in the permitting process.

The CHFI Objectives, which have been vetted by the Southwest Florida Comprehensive Watershed Plan, Southwest Florida Regional Ecosystem Restoration Plan, SFWMD 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, and SWFWMD Lower Charlotte Harbor SWIM Plan, include:

  • Restore hydrologic connections for enhanced wetland hydroperiods in Babcock-Webb and Yucca Pens WMAs;
  • Increase regional wet season storage for enhanced freshwater dry season flows to the tidal creeks of Charlotte Harbor’s Outstanding Florida Waters and the impaired Caloosahatchee Estuary to improve water quality and hydrology;
  • Reduce peak wet season discharges from man-made canals to tidal waters of Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve and the Caloosahatchee River;
  • Reduce regional flooding;
  • Improve fish and wildlife habitat;
  • Enhance community resilience; and
  • Help restore and revitalize the local economy.

The FWC has developed A Management Plan for Fred C. Babcock-Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area 2014-2024. The plan was approved by the Division of State Lands, Office of Environmental Services on February 16, 2015. (The appendices to the report are listed in the Documents section below.)

This page serves as a document and data repository for program partners and the general public. More information about the Initiative can be obtained by reviewing the documents provided, or from the project participants listed under “Contacts” below.

Download Data

Use the links below to download all relevant data.


The documents below contain information about research, planning and restoration activities that have been performed, or are being performed, in the project area.

Please click the headings below to expand/collapse the lists of documents.


For more information, please contact the following people at their place of business:

Monitoring Network

Interactive map of data collection stations within the monitoring network.

Map Legend

  • Monitoring Well Map Symbol Monitoring Well
  • Flow Station Map Symbol Flow Station
  • Rain Gauge Map Symbol Rain Gauge
  • Surface Water Station Map Symbol Surface Water Station
  • Map Symbol for Bond Farm Bond Farm
  • Map Symbol for Cecil Webb WMA Cecil Webb WMA
  • Map Symbol for Yucca Preserve Yucca Preserve
  • Map Symbol for Model Domain Model Domain


These agencies and organizations have been active project participants, as information providers, land managers and/or stakeholders.