Earth Tech Environmental has been busy in the field working on the Collier County Comprehensive Watershed Improvement Plan (CCCWIP), a massive, collaborative effort to redirect and restore the historical flow of water to Naples and Rookery Bay. During the early development years of Southwest Florida, extensive canals were dug to drain the wetlands of the area. The goal of the CCCWIP is to divert water from the Golden Gate Canal, rehydrate wetland areas and restore habitat within the watersheds.

The Picayune Strand State Forest composes a substantial portion of the project area, and Earth Tech ecologists have dug their heels into the 78,000-acre wilderness area of pine flatwoods, cypress domes, and freshwater marshes, amongst a myriad of other habitat communities.

ETE’s role is to establish baseline monitoring conditions through the installation of 60 monitoring transects to quantify and qualify the vegetation communities at each. Soil characteristics and wildlife observations are also captured at each location. Additionally, 60 wells are being installed to monitor changes in water levels and quality throughout the project area.

ETE’s data will be used to determine initial water levels/quality and vegetation conditions before the massive rehydration effort takes effect. Subsequent monitoring will occur throughout the project to determine the best management practices possible.

Stay tuned for the progress of the Collier County Watershed Improvement Plan and we’ll see you in the Picayune!