Babcock Ranch Floods Lake to Restore Natural Habitat


Curry Lake is a prime example why Babcock Ranch is the most environmentally sensitive development in Florida.

The lake on the Babcock Ranch property provides a model for the surface-water management strategies that will be incorporated throughout the town as it grows. Rather than create human-made solutions for storm water, Babcock Ranch restored the capacity of natural systems to slow and filter surface waters as they make their way across the property.

Here's how: Kitson & Partners, the developer of Babcock Ranch, built three weirs in 2012 to rehydrate about 70 acres near Curry Lake to historical conditions. Over the years, farming and ranching severely altered the natural surface water flows, so Kitson built these low dams to regulate water flow.

The dams now retain water that was previously drained off through the ranch's system of ditches and will significantly extend the wet season a month earlier and end a month later. Almost immediately, native vegetation began reclaiming the territory.

“ By restoring the area to natural conditions, native plants restored their advantage over the invasive plants that had benefited from the drier soil. Below the surface, crayfish have returned, a prime attraction for a host of birds that once again congregate along the banks. 

Kitson worked with environmental groups to create a regional wildlife connectivity study because of Babcock Ranch's size. The purpose of the study is to build permanent wildlife corridors connecting parks and natural lands throughout southwest Florida with Babcock Ranch.

Babcock Ranch covers 91,360 acres in Charlotte and Lee counties, and it includes 73,239 acres purchased by the state's Florida Forever program, the largest acquisition in the program's history.