As you drive on Old Cutler Road and look west near SW 158th Street, you'll see lots of construction activity. What used to be thick trees and vegetation has given way to mounds of dirt, concrete pipes and a new man-made lake. But beyond that, most people don't have a clue why this being done.
The construction is part of the South Florda Water Management Wetland Rehydration Project. In short, the project is going to allow fresh water outflow from the Everglades into Biscayne Bay in a whole new way.
Looking at the satellite picture, you can see the canal between SW 173rd and 174th Streets. At present, this is letting out too much fresh water to the Bay and negatively effecting wildlife. The project will take the stalled canal at SW 160th Street (just below 159th Terrace, above) and allow the canal water to drain into the entire 59 acres of land on the east side of Old Cutler Road, thus restoring that area to wetlands.
The lake and tributary canal spokes are already in place. Here you can see construction engineers working on the pump station area. This pump station will control how much water heads into the glade area east of Old Cutler Road.
The drains that run under Old Cutler had the road closed for a few days late last year. You can see one of the drain lines that will feed the wetland area in the above picture.
I was told by the supervising engineer on-site that the project should be completed by the end of June 2011. After construction, at least 6000 plants will be added to the site for beautification and that it will be open to the pedestrian public.
In the end, Palmetto Pay gets a bit of its wetlands back and the Biscayne Bay wildlife will enjoy a more habitable saline level in their environment.
This is a video that talks about the project and what it accomplishes.