Little Bayou Coastal Restoration Project
Echelon Commercial, LLC
Pinellas County, FL
Water Resource Associates, (WRA) designed, permitted and construction managed little Bayou Coastal Restoration located in St. Petersburg, Florida. This project was a SWFWMD SWIM and City of St. Petersburg initiative that was implemented by WRA as part of a wetland mitigation requirement for a permitted wetland impact in the City of St. Petersburg.
Private Sector Funding for Public Sector Project
WRA Project Manager, Mark Farrell, identified the project partnership opportunity and arranged the funding structure for the project, which included the private sector providing all design, permitting and construction costs.
The Little Bayou Coastal Restoration Project is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to create innovative plans in the area of environmental permitting and regulation. Echelon Commercial, LLC, the City of St. Petersburg, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) forged a unique public-private partnership to accomplish the restoration of Little Bayou. This project was identified by both SWIM and the City but was unfounded and the prospects for construction were remote.
The site is now open as a public park that includes Florida native wetland plants as well as a boardwalk with educational signage. Flocks of seashore birds and schools of fish have established themselves at the site. The 120-ft boardwalk was included in the design to allow nearby residents to have access to a number of fishing holes that were excavated and filled with demolished seawall fragments. These areas now act as artificial reefs. SWFWMD and the City of St. Petersburg benefited as the SWIM project that would have been years away from implementation was resumed, completed and funded within one year. In addition, Pinellas County, the City of St. Petersburg, area residents, and the ecosystem of TampaBay benefited as a vacant park built from fill dirt was transformed to re-create a natural coastal feature.
While the construction was completed in April 2003 – WRA continued to perform Site Monitoring and Maintenance through 2007.