City Of Stuart Celebrates Completion Of Wetlands Restoration Project
Count wildlife watchers among the many residents benefiting from the City of Stuart’s persistent vision for the East Heart of Haney Creek wetlands restoration project.
The city celebrated the completion of the project with a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony and site tour. Along with improved water quality benefits, the project added another one-third of a mile to the two miles of nature trails for area residents.
The restoration of six acres along the St. Lucie River contributes to the city’s comprehensive efforts to improve water quality and to increase natural wildlife habitat viewing.
“Our city is blessed to be right on the St. Lucie River, so we know that protecting our water quality is among our highest priorities,” says Mayor Troy McDonald. “There are a lot of factors beyond our control that negatively impact us, unfortunately, but we’ve made a firm commitment to do everything possible within our control to cleanse impurities from our water.”
The restoration project spans 157 acres of wetlands and native uplands owned by the public, including 53 acres jointly purchased in 2011 between the city and Martin County.
The East Heart of Haney Creek encompasses a native freshwater and tidal wetland that will clean storm water run-off, improving water quality in the St. Lucie estuary and helping enhance the natural ecosystem.
Work on the entire property began in 1999, when the city received grants from Florida Communities Trust to purchase the land. Additional grant money from the St. Lucie River Issues Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection augmented the work, which included removal of exotic plants and an engineered wetlands area for natural water filtration.
"It has been a city priority to restore the Haney Creek watershed to its pristine condition,” says Sam Amerson, interim city manager. “In turn, this work will help our beloved St. Lucie River."
Evergreen Engineering was the project engineer, and reports signs of success with improved water quality in nearby areas of the river.
Photos courtesy of City of Stuart
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