Lykes Bros. Inc. continues to actively participate in the planning activities of state agencies to aid in developing viable projects with private landowners that will ultimately result in environmental restoration of the regional ecosystem.
The Lykes West Waterhole project became one of the first pilot projects of the Florida Ranchlands Environmental Services Project. Regional water from the Indian Prairie Canal (C-41A) is pumped into the 2,500-acre West Waterhole site and gradually flows over it before being returned to the canal. During the process, particles containing excess nutrients are filtered from the water column by native vegetation. Initial indications were that the West Waterhole project was capable of reducing phosphorus concentrations by 56% while retaining over 5,000 acre feet of water that would otherwise potentially be discharged into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The project has removed more than 64 metric tons of phosphorus and 280 metric tons of nitrogen from C-40 Canal water from 2008-2018, capturing and retaining an average of 77% of the phosphorus and 49% of the nitrogen upstream of Lake Okeechobee. The project continues to operate through a contract with South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
NICODEMUS SLOUGH STORMWATER STORAGE
The Lykes Nicodemus Slough project is 15,859 acres of improved and unimproved pasture located immediately west of Lake Okeechobee in Glades County approximately 6 miles northwest of Moore Haven. Fisheating Creek is located along the northern boundary and is separated from the project by the LD-3 section of the Herbert Hoover Dike. The project is connected to both Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River via the C-5 and C-19 Extension Canals, respectively.
The SFWMD Governing Board authorized the Nicodemus Slough Lease and Project Agreement February 10, 2011. The agreement was executed April 14, 2011, authorizing a schedule of payments for design, permitting, construction, operation, and maintenance of this project. The current agreement will remain in effect until January 30, 2023. The project objectives include reducing high stages in Lake Okeechobee, reduction in harmful freshwater discharges to the Caloosahatchee River Estuary, phosphorus load reduction, thereby improving the quality of water delivered to Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River Estuary, restoring hydrology to the site during the term of the agreement in a manner that is environmentally beneficial to existing drained wetlands and form creek floodplain habitat, potential dry season treated water supply to Caloosahatchee Estuary or Lake Okeechobee, and conserving water for beneficial uses that would have otherwise been lost to the tide.
The Nicodemus Slough Stormwater storage project began operations on January 30, 2015.
For more information, contact Lykes Ranch at 863-763-3041.