Project Will Restore Portion of Hammock Park
Construction is underway on a cooperative project between the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the City of Dunedin to restore approximately 30 acres of wetlands within the city's Hammock Park.
Preliminary clearing is being done at select project areas within the park. Hammock Park is located north of downtown Dunedin and east of Alternate U.S. 19 and is one of the last remnants of forest that was typical of this coastal region before the area was urbanized. Hammock Park drains into St. Joseph Sound through a small tidal waterway known as Cedar Creek.
Past drainage improvements have reduced the amount of time water stays in the park’s wetlands and the amount of water that reaches the wetlands. Shifts in vegetation from native wetland species to weedy invasive plants have also degraded wetland habitat conditions.
This project will reroute stormwater from the nearby Channel C to the park’s wetlands. Two fords will be constructed in the channel, as well as other structures and improvements to reduce erosion and maintain channel flow.
Invasive plants will be removed from the areas where construction is being completed. Native plants will be installed to restore ground cover. The invasive plants are expected to die off in the areas being rehydrated. The native wetland species are expected to repopulate the area as conditions become more suitable.
If additional water is needed the restore the wetlands, reclaimed water may be considered. During the dry season, most of the city's reclaimed water is used for irrigation. However, during the wet season, some of the reclaimed water is discharged directly into St. Joseph Sound. Diverting the surplus reclaimed water to Hammock Park would help restore the wetlands.
The Hammock Park Natural Systems Restoration Project is a multi-year project estimated to cost $2 million, which is being funded equally between the District's Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and the city. The evaluation phase is complete. Phase two, which includes the facility design, permitting and construction, is expected to be complete by June 30, 2009.
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