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Lee County Commissioners award contract for water quality and flood mitigation project

By Staff | Feb 10, 2024

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted this past Tuesday to approve a contract for the Sunniland/Nine Mile Run Drainage Improvement Project in east Lee County to improve water quality and mitigate flooding for downstream properties.

The project will replace dysfunctional weirs to restore flow control and increase storage in the drainage ditch system, improving groundwater recharge and additional nutrient uptake by plants. Proposed operable gated weir structures will mitigate flooding with the ability to draw down water levels ahead of a major storm event.

Nine Mile Run is a tributary to the Caloosahatchee River, which has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for total nitrogen (TN) and is currently subject to a State of Florida Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). This project helps achieve the goals of the Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan and the Caloosahatchee Estuary Basin Management Action Plan and the Conservation 2020 Land Stewardship Management Plan.

The $1.49 million contract is with Fort Myers-based Thomas Marine Construction. The project also was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Sunniland property was formerly a state facility that is now leased and managed by Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Lee County staff worked with FGCU and the state to acquire a drainage easement to implement the project. The approximately 2,000-acre drainage area for the Nine Mile Run watershed is generally bounded on the north by Orange River and the Sunniland Canal, on the east and south by Buckingham Road, and on the west by a portion of Pangola Drive. The area is predominately undeveloped or low density rural residential.

Water quality is a top priority of the Lee Board of County Commissioners and water-quality projects are underway year-round. For more information about Lee County’s water quality initiative, visit leegov.com/water.

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Source: Lee County Government