Location: Florida City, FL
Industrial businesses can affect communities in very positive ways; however, there are exceptions. Certain business practices can have a negative environmental impact on our communities. This was the case for one Florida Keys community. Due to the actions of a nearby blasting company, 5-7 ft of their lake’s bank eroded away.
Scope of Work
SOLitude Lake Management specializes in the restoration of eroded shorelines to prevent water quality issues from reoccurring. There are many benefits to implementing erosion control solutions, including filtering hazardous runoff, repairing potholes in the dirt, and immediately reclaiming lost property. And what’s unique about our strategy is that we utilize a bioengineered living shoreline, which is a healthier and more effective alternative than previous industry standards like cement bags or concrete.
We applied these tools to our Florida Keys community. The first step in restoring their 1,850 ft shoreline involved removing floating mats of the invasive aquatic weeds growing 3-5 ft out around the entire shoreline. This included torpedograss, cattails, primrose, and alligatorweed. Overgrown invasive species often indicate neglect and can inhibit the growth and prosperity of animals and plants in the native ecosystems.
During the shoreline restoration, we did encounter a few unique challenges presented by this property. As we started the cutting process, we encountered hundreds of cottonmouth moccasins, a very deadly and poisonous snake species that is native to the area. Likewise, our work was being conducted on a 60-70 degree slope. While working to overcome these difficulties slowed our process, our team prioritized their safety and the safety of the community.
Next, we staked a knitted mesh material called SOX into the ground and folded over much like a taco. One challenge with this particular lake bank that it included coral rock, which required us to reinforce the wood stakes for additional support.
We filled the “taco” with over 75 truckloads of soil since much of the material at the bottom of the lake was clay-based and, therefore, unusable. We topped off the SOX erosion system with grass and sand to create an aesthetic, streamlined look to the shoreline. If the community decides to plant native flowering species in the future, they go do so directly into the mesh as well.
Finally, we completed the installation of an irrigation system, stormwater inflows, and drainage structures to help ensure all roads and surrounding properties could properly drain into the lake to prevent flooding. A floating fountain was also installed to add beauty to the waterbody, increase aeration, and prevent harmful algae and weeds from spawning.
Water quality is improved through pond aeration. Pond aeration is the simple, yet effective, process of increasing oxygen levels in a pond and can not only greatly enhance the aesthetic beauty of a pond, but also can improve the natural systems taking place beneath the water’s surface. Under oxygen-deprived conditions, lake-bottom sediments release various gases and metals that can cause water quality problems and fish kill.
Although restoring balance and enhancing beauty in your waterbody is SOLitude’s priority, serving residents in our communities is equally important. We kept that in mind and made sure to build a walking path around the lake for visitors to enjoy. The walking path is made from recycled tire mulch and has a plastic landscaping border to prevent any of the mulch from entering the lake.
With the restoration of this Florida Keys property, the residents are now able to enjoy their water paradise. Proper lake maintenance will encourage native species to return to the area and create beautiful balance in the community once again.