A dedicated and collaborative effort between numerous local, state, federal and private organizations is providing essential benefits to the Lake Worth Lagoon through the completion of the Grassy Flats Restoration Project in Palm Beach County, Fla.
"The Grassy Flats Restoration Project is a true example of what can be accomplished when we work together,” said Col. Alan Dodd, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander.
The 22-acre Grassy Flats Restoration Project was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Palm Beach County, Town of Palm Beach, City of Lake Worth,, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Marine Industries Association, and West Palm Beach Fishing Club.
The project was approved under the Estuary Restoration Act, to receive federal funding and technical assistance from the Corps.
"The project received $1.7 million from the federal government, which is about 65 percent of the total project cost, and included $842,000 from the Corps,” said Dodd. “This investment has helped to restore more than 20 acres of critical estuary habitat in Lake Worth Lagoon and support over 195 species of fish and 89 species of birds."
The project restored and enhanced nearly 20 acres of critical shallow seagrass habitat by capping 13 acres of muck with sand. This will allow for the natural recruitment of seagrasses, including Johnson’s seagrass, a federally threatened species, currently growing the project area.
Additionally, two 1-acre intertidal islands were constructed with limestone rocks and will serve as mangrove, tidal marsh, tidal flat, and oyster habitats. These islands are expected to support over 195 species of fish and 89 species of birds, including 9 federally-listed and 16 State-listed species found within the Lagoon.
The completed project will increase food and nursery habitat for fish and other aquatic species, improve habitat for recreational opportunities and provide long-term water quality improvements. Additionally, the experience gained through the construction and monitoring of this project will be used to guide future investments and efforts in Lake Worth Lagoon restoration and management.
On May 5, agency representatives were recognized for their efforts in completing the Grassy Flats Restoration Project at the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Meeting.
“Together, we were able to provide great benefits to the Lake Worth Lagoon and I would like to thank each and every one of you for our collective success,” said Dodd during the ceremony.