The Lake Lillian wetlands restoration and boardwalk improvement project is now underway. Construction will take approximately 90 days to complete and result in increased biodiversity and an improved aquatic wildlife habitat.
The wetlands restoration is funded by two grants: $400,000 from the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection and $50,000 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The construction work, which is being managed by the City of Winter Public Works department, will involve removal of muck and a mass of invasive plants in a one-half acre area of the 12 acres wetlands. The construction site is adjacent to The Grove performance venue on the north side of the garden. When the muck and invasive removal is complete, nearly 4,300 new plants and trees will be installed in the area.
In addition, a 300-foot section of the boardwalk located near The Grove and Butterfly Garden will be rebuilt. Though heavily damaged by the hurricanes of 2004, the boardwalk has remained a popular area of the garden. When refurbished, the boardwalk will provide more extensive close-up viewing and enjoyment of the wetlands plants and wildlife.
Additional restoration of the wetlands is planned, pending availability of project funds.
Restoration of the Lake Lillian wetland has been a public-private collaborative effort involving the City of Winter Park, Mead Botanical Garden Inc., US Congressman John Mica and FWC leaders and staff and many experts. At least three years of research and project planning preceded the start of the construction work.
- The project was permitted by the St. John's Water Management District, Orange County Environmental Protection Division and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
- In preparing for the permit application, MBG Inc. engaged certified wetlands biologist Mark Ausley of Bio-Tech Consulting Inc., landscape architect Forest Michael of Michael Planning of Florida and environmental engineering firm Nodarse & Associations (Terracon).
When complete, the City of Winter Park will ensure on-going maintenance and permit compliance.
"Many people have had a hand in bringing this phase of restoration to fruition," said Cynthia Hasenau, MBG Inc. "There are so many who deserve special recognition for their on-going involvement and support. Along with Congressman Mica and the experts already noted, I'd like to thank Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary and City Commissioners, former Mayor Ken Bradley, Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight, Park & Recreation Director John Holland, Public Works Director Troy Attaway, Construction Project & Grant Manager Lena Petersen, Environmental Resource Manager Tim Egan, and MBG Inc. board leaders Jeffrey Blydenburgh and Bill Weir. "