The Peace Creek Watershed (PCW) is a particularly unique and vital component of local and regional water resources. Its position on the Florida Ridge as the headwaters of the Peace River, along with its natural features, soil and aquifer recharge characteristics, and agricultural viability make it important in water resource considerations. However, due to many years of unrestrained water use, significant growth in agriculture and development, the watershed has deteriorated notably. The area has been studied by various entities for over 30 years, but very few projects have actually been implemented. Chastain-Skillman (CS) was commissioned to work with the SWFWMD and City of Winter Haven to assess the status of the situation, identify potential discrete projects and propose implementation steps to develop a series of hydrologic/wetland restoration sites.
CS is providing a review of existing hydrologic, environmental and groundwater studies, coordinating stakeholder meetings, and developing an implementation plan to provide hydrologic restoration of entire PCW. The summary report and implementation plan outline feasible projects, which the City and SWFWMD can implement to begin restoration of the watershed to a more natural hydrologic conditions. More specifically, the restoration effort will utilize a regional system of wetland storage areas to provide: Flood protection and conveyance of water; Improved lake levels in the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes; Additional water for Upper Peace River MFL recovery; Improved aquifer water levels and water supply; Natural system benefits with emphasis on wetland significance in this region; Other ancillary benefits including, but not limited to, recreation, economic value and land value. The work also involves reviewing major policy issues that might hinder or block restoration efforts from occurring.