Water-Related News

Storing water and restoring wetlands

Surrounded by various species of marsh grass, the great egret stood mirrored in the clear, shallow water of the 300-acre Halfway Pond Preserve in Lehigh Acres.

Four years ago, the preserve, also known as Mirror Lake, was lifeless dry sand, scarred by all-terrain vehicle tracks.

But Phase 1 of a partnership between the South Florida Water Management District and the Lehigh Municipal Services Improvement District has turned dry sand into a wetland.

"To me, it's spectacular to see water standing on the ground out here," said Phil Flood, director of the water district's Lower West Coast Service Center. "Cypress trees are starting to come up; they used to be here, now they have an opportunity to come back. This is changing from a dry desert habitat to wetland habitat."

Historically, the preserve was a natural wetland known as Halfway Pond (cowboys used to stop to water cattle at the pond, which is roughly halfway between Immokalee and Punta Rassa).