Wetland Impact Minimization
Wetland Impact Minimization
The project has been extensively redesigned to reduce the roadway footprint and wetland impacts (minimization). These minimization efforts have been at substantial cost to the project, and include:
- Bridging over sensitive areas replacing roadway on embankment with 16 bridges totaling 6,680 feet of bridge.
- Steepening roadside slopes in some locations, resulting in the need for shoulder gutter and guardrail.
- Incorporating mechanically stabilized earth walls in some locations to replace roadside slopes.
- Vertical wall and pedestrian rail in lieu of slopes in some locations.
The following table shows the impact reduction when compared to the design at the time of the 2011 public notice:
Compensation for Impacts (Mitigation)
To compensate for wetland impacts which could not be avoided, the County has purchased mitigation credits from a USACE approved and permitted Wetland Mitigation Bank which is located in Pasco County south of SR 52 and east of US 41. The property had been a significantly degraded wetland system before being preserved and restored to healthy function. The USACE and SWFWMD awarded Mitigation Credits based on this preservation and restoration which the County will now purchase as compensation for the impacts of RRE.
For the FTE segment of the project FTE has provided compensatory mitigation through the use of the available unused wetland impact contingency and surplus federal mitigation credits from the original permit for the Suncoast Parkway Project 1 – Ridge Road Interchange (199604305 [IPMN]) and mitigation credits purchased from the same USACE approved Wetland Mitigation Bank. The credit needs were as follows:
To provide opportunity for wildlife to cross the roadway a total of 15 upland wildlife crossings are being constructed. These provide connectivity from upland habitat to upland habitat are in addition to the bridges used to span wetland areas. Each crossing location and type was individually reviewed with US Fish and Wildlife staff after an assessment of the alignment and adjacent habitat in the field.
Previously Approved Serenova DRI
- A Development of Regional Impact (DRI) was approved by the Department of Community Affairs, Regional Planning Council, and Pasco County in Jan 1992.
- This property was purchased by FDOT as wetland impact compensation / mitigation for impacts of the Suncoast Parkway and associated projects. This property is now known as Serenova Preserve.
- Agreements were executed by Pasco County, SWFWMD, and FDOT that preserved ROW for Ridge Road Extension.
- The Conservation Easement which defines the Serenova Preserve lists the Ridge Road Extension as an exception.
- The Serenova DRI included Ridge Road Extension to support development.
- Entitlements prior to preservation included 6,481 residential units, 678.2 acres of commercial development and several public facilities.