Manatee Mitigation and NEB Site

Manatee wetland mitigation and net ecosystem benefit (NEB) site is a 200 acre property located west of the city of Parrish in Manatee County, Florida. This property is within the Little Manatee River and Tampa Bay watershed basins and is bisected by a canal linking the site to Curiosity Creek. The center portion of the property is composed primarily of native lands, which were heavily impacted by drainage modifications and exotic/nuisance vegetation infestation. The majority of the habitat restoration work has been done to insure that the Gulfstream Natural Gas Pipeline project provides net environmental benefits, with less than five percent of the site contributing to mitigation as an offset to environmental impacts associated with the installation of the natural gas pipeline.

Primary features of the restoration include enhancement of the site hydrology through a series of structures in the canal; removal of exotic vegetation and exotic maintenance within over 145 acres of native habitats; and the conversion of over 45 acres of agricultural lands to functioning wetland systems. Approximately 9 acres of the agricultural lands have been converted to hydric pine flatwoods and over 36 acres of agricultural lands converted to freshwater marshes. The marshes were designed to provide a buffer to the enhanced native lands, provide water quality improvements of adjacent farm field runoff, and provide increased wildlife habitat. The conversion of the agricultural lands has included mechanical clearing and grading, construction of water management structures, native plantings, and ongoing exotic vegetation management. All initial grading and planting activities were completed in 2006.

KECE continues to work towards ecological success of the project by developing and overseeing adaptive management strategies for the site, coordinating with local, state and federal agencies, and conducting qualitative and quantitative monitoring of environmental parameters to track restoration success and to adapt management activities when appropriate.

Restoration Progress & Wildlife Photographs: