Watershed management requires a multi-disciplinary approach to achieve effective and often competing water management objectives. Surface and groundwater hydrology are tightly coupled requiring an integrated approach for accurate and appropriate analysis and design. Groundwater is commonly used for public and agricultural water supplies, which can impact wetlands within the watershed. Drainage of urban and agricultural lands can result in degraded ecosystems and elevated levels of flooding. Water Science Associates considers all components of the water balance when conducting watershed management studies.
Water Science Associates has significant experience in conducting watershed studies in a wide variety of landscapes, including heavily farmed areas such as the Everglades Agricultural Area, urban areas such as Cape Coral, and large natural areas such as Picayune Strand in Collier County and Cecil Webb Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County.
WSA staff developed the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District, and have been actively involved in assisting in the hydrologic design of recommended watershed management improvement measures. The basic objective of the plan is to mitigate for the damaging effects of canal construction within the 100-square mile District that reduced wetland coverage from 80% in the 1950’s to less than 5% by 2005. The extensive canal system has lowered groundwater levels such that private residential wells often become dry during droughts, while peak flows during wet years cause serious flooding conditions in the Orange River downstream of Lehigh Acres. Projects implemented since the plan was adopted in 2007 include replacement of all inflow and outflow structures and expansion of Harns Marsh, replacement and automation of eight gated weirs, restoration of Halfway Pond, and development of two Joint Partnering Agreements between FDOT and LA-MSID to utilize FDOT funds to construct more than $7,000,000 of stormwater management improvements within the LA-MSID.