How a Partnership with Ducks Unlimited is Helping to Restore 11,000-acres of Floodplain in the Kissimmee Watershed
Did you know that Gardner-Cobb Marsh is the largest District property near the Kissimmee Upper Chain of Lakes? The Gardner-Cobb Marsh consists of 11,000-acres of land nestled in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes watershed between Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha and Lake Kissimmee. Gentle slopes in elevation of mere inches results in a rolling landscape that produces a contrast in natural communities. Swamps, pine flatwoods and wet prairie are the dominant habitats found here, and in the fall and spring they burst with an array of wildflowers.
The South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently celebrated the completion of the Kissimmee River restoration, one of the largest ecosystem restoration projects in the world. While providing excellent navigation and flood control benefits, the previous channelization of the river left the ecosystem with major negative consequences for native birds and wildlife. The restoration effort restored more than 40 square miles of the river floodplain ecosystem, 44 miles of the historic river channel and 20,000 acres of wetlands.
The District is committed to ensuring our flood protection system can continue to operate today and well into the future. Our approach to Resiliency planning dovetails with our mission to safeguard and restore South Florida's water resources and ecosystems, protect our communities from flooding, and meet the region's water needs.
The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee offer some of the best boating and fishing opportunities in Central and South Florida. Navigation locks throughout this interconnected system ensure that it is accessible for public recreation.
When severe weather approaches South Florida, our staff closely monitor the storm and prepare the water management system for excessive rainfall. Canals are lowered to allow the flood control system to operate at full capacity, and our professional staff coordinate with local governments to strongly encourage all local drainage districts to prepare their systems for excess stormwater.
Today Gov. Ron DeSantis joined the South Florida Water Management District to celebrate the completion of an important milestone for Everglades restoration: the removal of nearly six miles of the Old Tamiami Trail roadbed!
Everyone loves South Florida’s subtropical climate – including invasive plants and animals! Invasive species are well-established throughout South Florida’s natural habitats; this invasion can result in the displacement of native species, loss of habitat, alteration of hydrology, changes in natural fire conditions and degradation of public use areas.
Did You Know: the South Florida Water Management District is the largest water management district in Florida and has nine Governing Board members who set policy for the agency? The Governing Board members work to advance the restoration of the Everglades, the largest ecosystem restoration effort in the world. In addition, they oversee thousands of miles of flood control infrastructure and ensure water for millions of Florida families and businesses.
Many South Florida residents irrigate their yards year-round, with more than 50% of annual home water use being used for outdoor watering or irrigation. However, it is not uncommon for residents to apply double the amount of water (or more) than actually needed to maintain a healthy, vibrant landscape. South Florida yards normally only need to be irrigated up to twice a week for 15 minutes.
Did you know? Smart irrigation helps water users save money while protecting South Florida's water resources? A win/win.