Withlacoochee State Forest T.G. Lee Tract Offsite Wetland Mitigation Area

E Sciences is providing restoration and mitigation design, permitting, construction and planting contractor oversight and monitoring services for a 61-acre offsite mitigation area located on state forest managed lands. By working closely with the state forestry management and technical staff, E Sciences is facilitating a win-win restoration project that will result in the hydrologic and vegetative re-establishment and enhancement of approximately 25 acres of an historic freshwater marsh and wet prairie complex interspersed between areas of historic flatwoods that existed prior to ditching and draining of the site and conversion to improved pasture in the 1960s and 70s.

Expert photo interpretation of historic aerials dating back to 1951, as well as in-field verification of remnant topographic edges was crucial to determining the potential restorable acreage. Ditching through historic wetland areas were cut to drain the site against the natural topographic gradient to a major conveyance drain bordering the northern, historic upstream boundary of the targeted restoration area, thus resulting in the complete conversion of 22 acres of historic wetland into upland, as well as drainage impacts to wetlands to the south on state forest property through redirection of runoff that historically drained into these wetlands to the north.

This project required a complete pre and post construction hydrologic evaluation of the site using ICPR in conjunction with site specific GIS topographic delineation and basin analysis. E Sciences expertise in watershed modeling and ecological restoration of this nature provided cost-effective engineering design to successfully re-hydrate the area without incurring extensive modeling expense for the client. The restoration design also provides significant reduction in construction cost due to the limited amount of earthwork needed to restore the wetland system.

Through a thorough understanding of current and historic hydrologic conditions, E Sciences designed an effective restoration plan that will re-hydrate the targeted area and restore sheet flow to the south without impeding runoff or causing offsite flooding to residential areas to the east of the project.