Management of Artificial and Restored Wetlands to Improve Water Quality

1995 Annual Report for FS95-030

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1995: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1997
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $140,200.00
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
A. Glenn Simpson
Big Island Grove

Management of Artificial and Restored Wetlands to Improve Water Quality


Wet detention basins are used to hold water and gradually release it, slowing runoff from agricultural areas into ecologically sensitive areas, including bodies of water. The slower runoff because of its time in the detension basin--is often lower in agriculturally loaded nutrients than if it had run directly into the sensitive area.
Many citrus growers and other producers lack specific knowledge of the water quality improvements and ecosystem benefits that wet detention basins provide to agricultural operations. Many growers also are skeptical that sustainable methods can be implemented in a manner that is both cost-effective and that enhances product quality. While growers understand how their field practices affect their product output and cash income, many have far less understanding of how they can affect the environment through sound management of wet detention basins on or near their operations.

1.) Reduce nutrient loads entering a water body, through the restoration of an ecologically diverse wetland serving as a wet detention basin.
2.) Restore wetland functions and reduce direct pumping of drainage water into the wetland.
3.) Educate growers on the use of a wet detention basin.

The project will restore a 10.3-acre agricultural retention area and will include one shallow freshwater marsh, a hardwood swamp, a hardwood hammock, a native palm hammock, two deep ponds, and a transitional hydric flatwoods area.
Excavation and land grading will route pumped water from the grove through the different wetland types and into a major drainage canal. Vegetated broad-crested weirs will be used where possible for controlling water movement within the retention area.
Monitoring of water quality will be performed periodically for three years after wet detention basin installation. Monitoring of vegetation changes will be recorded with still photography and video by the Water Management District and the landowner for future reference and for educational activities.

Field days are scheduled for months 16 and 36 of the project and at 48 months, one year after project completion. The field days will be directed toward landowners, conservation groups, consultants, local state and federal agencies, citrus growers and the general public. In addition, public outreach will include press releases, journal articles and extension publications.