PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 17, 2018 ― On Nov. 7, the St. Johns River Water Management District will hold the second of two community meetings to share information with stakeholders interested in the Flagler County Wetland Restoration Project. The location of the meeting has changed to ensure there is ample seating — the new location will comfortably seat nearly 1,000 people.
WHAT: Community meeting on the Flagler County Wetland Restoration Project
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., Nov. 7, 2018
WHERE: Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church (Sanctuary), 915 N. Central Ave., Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Meeting information is available on the district’s project webpage, www.sjrwmd.com/facts/flagler-wetland-restoration-project/, to keep stakeholders updated about the project and future meetings and to share relevant information and answers to questions from the public. The project webpage was recently updated to improve the functionality to search current questions and answers.
Through a partnership between the district, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Department of Environmental Protection State Parks and Aquatic Preserves programs, the wetland restoration project will consist of moving piles of spoil back into man-made ditches and grading the material to the elevation that matches nearby remnants of natural wetland. The project will return dozens of acres of ditches and spoil piles to functional wetland that will yield food for fish and wildlife, filter and clean water, and provide other benefits.
The existing system is degraded due to dragline ditching in the 1960s and 1970s. It is undergoing further degradation as the remaining patches of wetland convert to less ecologically productive open water. There is limited intact wetland remaining within the boundary of the proposed project. The area is dominated by ditches and piles of spoil.
The project calls for clearing and leveling spoil areas. Existing wetland areas, natural upland areas, and oyster reefs will be avoided.
This meeting follows a community workshop on Oct. 4 intended to provide opportunity for stakeholders to identify priority areas within the project, markup the project footprint maps and to talk one-on-one with scientists from partnering agencies, the biological consultant for the project and mosquito control officials. More than 100 people attended the workshop.
District staff also participated in two local meetings with residents in August, and stakeholders offered public comment during the district’s Governing Board public meeting on Sept. 11 and at a Flagler County Commission workshop on Sept. 17.
To ensure that the project moves forward collaboratively, the district also offers a dedicated email address, FlaglerRestoration@sjrwmd.com, to communicate with stakeholders and provide an opportunity for public input around the clock.