The GRW Team is working with the Jacksonville District, US Army Corps of Engineers along the Kissimmee River in Central Florida, providing construction survey services as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project.
The environmental restoration project was necessary because previous dredging of the river to correct flooding resulted in negative impacts to the floodplain ecosystem, negatively affecting wetland plants and wildlife. The USACE is in the process of backfilling the final portion of the river restoration project, safely restoring flow to eight miles of the river. Over 102,000 acres of land have been acquired to aid in the floodplain restoration. Upon project completion expected in 2015, the restoration will include over 40 square miles of river-floodplain ecosystem, 44 miles of historic river channel, and 20,000 acres of wetlands.
Tasks by the GRW Team have included topographic and hydrographic surveys in support of the river construction. Monitoring of the restoration over the last five years has documented many improvements to the ecosystem, including new wetland plants growing in the renewed floodplain areas, and a large increase in the number of bass, sunfishes, and wading bird populations such as snowy egret, white ibis, and little blue heron. In addition, several shorebird species that were absent before the restoration have now returned to the river.