The rebirth of an urban lake is celebrated in Naples, Florida

A March 4, 2016 ceremony in Naples, Florida praised the $1.5 million-dollar Lake Manor restoration project, which dredged 16,000 cubic yards of sand and muck to restore Lake Manor.

The storm water collection pond was originally created in the 1950s to store water and prevent flooding into the nearby Lake Park neighborhood.

However, over the past six decades, a thick layer of pollutant-laden sediment, trash and debris accumulated on the bottom.

Engineers removed exotic, invasive vegetation and planted native vegetation and aquatic plants along the shoreline. This will help filter pollutants out of storm water, which, in turn, will help restore Naples Bay.

They created an improved habitat for birds, turtles, and fish; and installed a pathway along the lake’s shore for visitors to enjoy.

“Just a few years ago,” said city of Naples natural resources manager, Mike Bauer. “We couldn’t have stood out here,” next to the road, near the lake. “It was so overgrown with Brazilian pepper and the whole area was completely trashed.”

The pollutant removal capabilities of Lake Manor deteriorated over time for several reasons. City has commissioned various surveys and studies on the lake in an attempt to assess its condition and plan specific improvements intended to improve its pollutant removal efficiency. Such improvements are also intended to bring greater awareness to stormwater pollution and ways residents and visitors may be able to source reduce and treat stormwater locally. Therefore, this project not only allows for improvements that enable the lake to function better, but also allow for public interaction and neighborhood beautification.

This project is intended to improve the water quality of Lake Manor and restore the lake to a healthy, attractive, environmentally thriving stormwater feature for the surrounding community. The functions of Lake Manor include storing and directing stormwater to the Gordon River, mitigating flooding, reducing flows during rainfall events, and reducing the discharge of pollutants to State waterways. Each of these functions is expected to be restored by this project by removing muck sediments from the lake bottom.

The project also provides the opportunity to plant diverse wetland vegetation along a redesigned, sloping shoreline. The remaining green space around the lake could be used to enhance the existing park for the community to access and enjoy, and will include a comprehensive lakewide landscape plan, trails, benches, vistas, trash receptacles and educational stations to promote environmental awareness.

A pathway could be developed for the adjacent community, connecting 7th Avenue North to 6th Avenue North on the east side of Lake Manor. The pathway would provide safe and reliable pedestrian access for students who commute to Lake Park Elementary School.

In addition, a lakewide landscape plan will be developed to include the removal of all exotics and nuisance vegetation. The replacement landscape will include native, drought tolerant plants and will provide screening and privacy as requested by the community.

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See Lake Manor page on Naples government website & photo credit.

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