Water-Related News

Project to restore natural water flow on 1,000 acres in Lee County finished

More than 10 miles of roads have been removed, soil piles and berms have been flattened and ditches and canals have been plugged.

The South Florida Water Management District has finished a two-year, $3 million project to help restore the natural flow of water to more than 1,000 acres in southern Lee County near the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

The project wraps up a major portion of restoration work in the southern part of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. CREW spans 60,000 acres in Lee and Collier counties.

Housing developments, dirt roads and farm ditches had drained much of the wetlands and blocked the flow of water. After the altered landscape left the Bonita Springs area prone to extensive flooding in 1995, the Water Management District began to buy and restore CREW lands.

Since then, the Water Management District has purchased 4,000 acres and cleared exotic vegetation from just more than half of that. The state and federal governments have spent a total of $39 million on restoration in CREW wetlands.