FL county stormwater management project wins 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award

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SARASOTA, FL, May 19, 2014 -- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB), a planning, transportation, land development, and environmental consulting firm with offices in the cities of Orlando and Sarasota, Fla., announced that Sarasota County's Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility project -- an endeavor to achieve flood protection goals in the region -- has won the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA).

The award recognizes outstanding stormwater projects and the benefit they provide to the environment and local community. Further, VHB was the lead environmental consultant for the creation and restoration of 150 acres of wetland and upland habitats, as well as the two-year best management practices (BMP) water quality evaluation study.

VHB responsibilities included environmental CEI services for the restoration; planting inspection and oversight; exotic and nuisance plant management; hydrologic design recommendations; environmental permitting; mitigation monitoring for five years; an environmental education program; a management plan for the entire stormwater facility; and storm event and base flow water quality monitoring and reporting to document the BMP pollutant removal efficiencies for the Celery Fields.

The Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility project was designed to reduce downstream historical flooding along Phillippi Creek in Sarasota, improve water quality of stormwater entering Roberts Bay North and Sarasota Bay, and provide a multi-faceted stormwater park that promotes ecotourism. Not only does the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility help reduce downstream flooding in the 100-year floodplain, it also reduces pollutants and excess nutrients, restores natural wetland areas, and provides diverse recreational and educational opportunities.

The BMP Evaluation Study documented that the stormwater facility achieves pollutant removal rates of 53 percent, 50 percent and 82 percent for nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids respectively. The project included wildlife amenities such as osprey platforms, wood duck boxes, tree snags for bird perches, and an upland preserve island designed to provide for a future wading bird rookery for the area. Walking trails for bird watching and a diverse terrain for sightseeing, exercising and mountain biking with educational signage along the trails were also created as an element of the stormwater park. 

With the major stormwater improvements complete, there is overwhelming local interest and public utilization of the site. To meet these demands, a restroom facility and larger parking lot are now under construction and a future Audubon Visitor and Nature Center is planned.

ABOUT VHB

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. is an east-coast planning, transportation, land development, and environmental consulting firm with Florida offices in Orlando and Sarasota. VHB operates from 22 offices with 900 employees with a diverse skill base serving public and private clients including municipal governments, departments of transportation, airports and port authorities, the federal government, utilities and energy producers, education and healthcare systems. For more information, visit www.vhb.com.

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