project is a success because the result was a larger, healthier wetland.
Additionally, the survivability rate of all the species exceeded all
Now a much larger and well functioning ecosystem supports abundant
wildlife populations in an urban area.
This project is also a success because it demonstrates what is
possible when economic and environmental demands share a high priority.
wetland mitigation project amounts to a
"net environmental benefit."
- Southwest Florida Water Management District.
"new" wetland contains all of the species listed above as well as
hundreds of other, such as swamp bays and wax myrtle trees and hundreds of
The scattered ferns and shrubs are now flourishing along with the
pickerelweed, spikerush, and fetterbush.
Being so close the highway, the original wetland site was home to
only a few species of animals.
The expanded wetland, on any given day, provides habitat for wood
stork, tri-colored heron, snowy egret, red-shouldered hawks, sand-hill
crane, great blue heron, otter, egret, and wood duck.
Other animals that inhabit the larger wetland include raccoon,
armadillo, Florida cooter, and box turtle as well as several species of
frogs and fish.
Florida otters also live in the new, expanded wetland.
truly understand what has been preserved you must see the wetlands in the
early light of dawn when the birds are just stirring or see it on a quiet,
rainy Saturday afternoon when a woodstork steps away from the edge of marsh
having speared a fat fish.
These treasures are now preserved forever for their own value and for
Without this kind of approach, the unproductive wetland could have
been destroyed and replaced with immature trees.
In either case, it would take years to generate the kind of habitat
which is already in place and already home to abundant wildlife.
mitigation project was an environmental success for Stephen Dibbs and for
those who are interested in protecting Florida while helping to create a
It is testament to those who believe that economic and environmental
sustainability must be linked and it provides a demonstration sire for
would-be developers, proving that wetlands need not be razed and replaced,
but rather can be removed and replanted providing a net environmental
benefit for projects and the community.
and most importantly, the project provides and existing and diverse habitat
for urban wildlife, for endangered and protected species and a much needed
buffer between homes and a busy, noisy highway.
approaches such as this are the kinds of methods which developers can
implement at no additional cost.
Here, the ecosystem was restored fasted than traditional methods
would have allowed, costs were reduced and cooperation was gained.
In doing so, the project embodies the practice of sustainable
development in which economic and environmental advantages are closely
Dibbs’ project and approach stand as a testament to the shared interests
of conservation and business.
the full brochure:
Protecting Our Interest, A Visitor's Guide to Alternative Wetlands
Protection. (.pdf -- Requires
Adobe Acrobat Reader)