Location: Tampa, FL
In June of 2019, a community in Tampa, FL, contacted SOLitude with concerns over erosion and the functionality of their five stormwater ponds. Constructed in 2005, the retaining ponds were designed to not only serve as aesthetic focal points, but capture stormwater runoff, filter pollutants, and slowly release water back into the environment after rainstorms. Over the years, however, shoreline erosion and sedimentation worsened, hindering the pond’s functionality. Without intervention, flooding, further property damage and endangerment to community members could become a real and costly threat.
Scope of Work
After evaluation, SOLitude determined that four out of the five ponds were in unsatisfactory condition and a customized management plan was developed. Several solutions are available for addressing eroded shorelines, including rocks, rip rap and bulkheads, however, these options are not considered long-lasting nor do they provide a living shoreline. With this is mind, the community chose to install a SOX Erosion Solutions system.
SOX systems offer an innovative and eco-friendly solution for the restoration of delicate banks and aging hillsides. Comprised of a patented knitted mesh technology, they help create a stable, aesthetically-pleasing living shoreline that halts erosion and nutrient loading without losing integrity over time.
One of the many benefits of SOX systems is that they are specially designed to contain dredged materials. There are many ways to fill these systems with organic material but one of the most effective options is with a hydraulic dredge. A hydraulic dredge utilizes a rotating underwater cutter to break up the organic matter on the bottom of a waterbody, creating a liquid mixture of sediment and water which can be pumped out through a pipeline. For properties like this community, a hydraulic dredge kills two birds with one stone: it increases the depth and provides the organic material to fill the SOX system without the need to drain the pond or ship the eroded material off-site.
For phase one of the project, SOLitude tackled the lake suffering from the most severe conditions. With no trouble, the hydraulic dredge was loaded into the pond and began dredging the bottom of the pond. More than 900 cubic yards of muck and sediment was pumped from the pond bottom directly into the SOX system. 1,800 feet of eroded shoreline was replaced by the SOX system and the pond’s depth was restored, therefore, improving stormwater functionality.
Once the SOX system was in place, our team was able to immediately walk onto the newly restored shoreline and begin sodding (SOX systems also serve as a solid foundation for the planting of native grasses and flowering vegetation).
Phase one of this project was completed in November 2019. In under four months, this community pond’s shoreline was completely restored (many homes reclaimed as much as six feet of shoreline) which improved property value for the waterfront homeowners and enhanced the community’s overall aesthetics. The community was so pleased with the project that they have elected to utilize this impactful solution on their remaining four waterbodies—and SOLitude looks forward to continuing these efforts!