Palm Harbor, FL
Robbin Huffines, Director of Erosion Control Services
This large HOA in Palm Harbor, FL, consists of quaint and stylish residences that growing families and retirees call home. Nature is a large focal point in this community. Lots of native trees line the streets and sidewalks, providing an aesthetically pleasing backdrop against manicured lawns. Likewise more than 40 lakes and ponds are featured throughout the community. These waterbodies not only function as resources for stormwater collection, they provide a refuge for wildlife and community fishing opportunities.
Unfortunately, many of these lakes are severely affected by erosion. According to the HOA, these issues had presented themselves very quickly; many long-term homeowners had watched their waterfront properties deteriorate by several feet over just a few years. In addition to looking aesthetically displeasing, the erosion had also exposed irrigation pipes and other important structures, particularly around a three-decade-old waterbody called Pond 34. In addition to suffering from shoreline deterioration, the waterbody had also lost valuable depth and volume due to the increasing sedimentation and runoff.
Scope of Work:
The community considered a number of erosion control solutions by hiring multiple vendors specializing in different restoration approaches. Ultimately, SOLitude’s Lake Management was selected to complete the restoration work with a bioengineered shoreline technology called SOX Solutions. This approach was determined to be faster, cleaner and less likely to disturb surrounding properties. The community also appreciated the aesthetic value of the final product, which seamlessly integrates into the existing shoreline.
To first evaluate the level of deterioration, SOLitude’s lake management experts performed an erosion site inspection around the stormwater retention pond. Using a 6.5’ staff, they measured soil density every 10’ along the shoreline perimeter, looking for soft spots, undermining (caving in) and holes.
Pond 34 had significant erosion concerns with a sheer drop of 1-2 ft. in some shoreline areas. At multiple points along the shoreline the soil was very soft up to 3.5 ft. Undermining of the shoreline was also observed. The undermining was likely being promoted by Armored Catfish (Plecostomus), an invasive burrowing fish that were present throughout the pond and common throughout Florida.
To address these issues, the SOLitude team used SOX to shape a long-lasting sediment containment barrier around 823 linear feet of the shoreline. Rather than filling the SOX with sediment from off-site, the HOA opted to hydro-rake existing materials from within the pond itself. A hydro-rake is essentially a floating barge attached with a backhoe that can scoop up to 500 pounds of muck and debris from the bottom. In addition to providing the foundation for a newly shaped shoreline, the hydro-raking process restored lost depth and volume to the aging water resource.
Due to the unique knitted features of the SOX, grass, native vegetation, and beneficial buffer plants can be installed directly into the barrier. This allowed SOLitude to create a seamless system that integrated naturally into existing landscaping - and will continue to maintain its shape and stability for more than five years.
Ultimately, the transformation only took five days to complete and the surrounding homeowners were very pleased with the results. The client went on to commit to this erosion control approach on multiple other waterbodies throughout the community.
In support of our belief that lakes and ponds are a precious natural resource requiring protection, SOLitude is committed to providing sustainable and renewable solutions that maintain ecological balance in the workplace and beyond.
When you partner with SOLitude, a dedicated field technician visits your lake or pond twice a month, leveraging extensive knowledge and training to carefully maintain ecological balance and preserve the appearance of your aquatic property.
Utilizing the latest GPS aquatic mapping technology and our own proprietary lake and pond management software, the experts at SOLitude collect all the data necessary to provide comprehensive analysis and in-depth solutions.