The first phase of one of the largest ecosystem restoration projects to benefit Charlotte Harbor is complete. District staff and other community leaders recently celebrated the dedication of the first phase.
The Coral Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project is a multi-phased initiative involving 2,600 acres within the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. It was spearheaded by the District, in collaboration with Charlotte County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The first phase of the project restored 250 acres of wetlands and uplands. Improvements completed include restoration and enhancement of historic and man-made creek channels, removal of invasive, exotic vegetation, and construction of stormwater treatment features to improve water quality for Charlotte Harbor.
Restoration of these communities will help offset habitat losses suffered throughout Charlotte Harbor and will prove valuable for the public and the thousands of coastal species that live within the Charlotte Harbor ecosystem.
“Conservation and restoration is one of the District’s strategic initiatives with a goal to identify critical environmentally sensitive ecosystems and implement plans for protection and restoration,” said Governing Board Member Michael Moran, who attended the event.
District staff currently is designing the next phase of the restoration project and recently discovered the area is a prime habitat location for juvenile tarpon. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Bonefish Tarpon Trust will work with the District to use the area as a fisheries research site to enhance juvenile tarpon numbers.
The District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program and its partners have completed 13 coastal restoration projects and seven ecological studies for Charlotte Harbor, restoring more than 1,080 acres of coastal habitats. For more about SWIM, visit WaterMatters.org/SWIM.