Weir #1

Here’s a brief slideshow of Golden Gate’s Weir #1 in Naples, Florida. The slideshow starts at the canal’s underpass beneath Airport-Pulling Road, about a quarter mile downstream of which is the structure — shown in the later half of the slideshow — and downstream of which is Gordon River and Naples Bay.

The South Florida Water Management District recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new structure constructed a few miles upstream at the new I75 interchange with Golden Gate Parkway.

The City of Naples was recently awarded $1.5 million by the South Florida Water Management District to implement a stormwater improvement project to benefit Naples Bay.

Everyone knows about restoration of Picayune Strand, formerly known as Southern Golden Gate Estates, which is well on its way for completion by 2009, but did you know that neighboring Belle Meade, right at the doorstep of Naples, is also slated for a water management overhaul? — all of which is outlined in a plan recently completed by the Big Cypress Basin (in affiliation with Parsons) in 2006.

The primary premise of the Belle Meade plan is to divert and retain Golden Gate Canal summer surplus in the interior watershed where it can be better distributed into upstream APAC lakes (think Source of the Nile), Belle Meade, and towards Henderson Creek; all of which will help recharge aquifers, lengthen hydroperiods to water-starved wetland communities in the western Picayune forest, and help restore balanced freshwater discharge into downstream estuaries, including the Ten Thousand Islands, Rookery and Naples Bay.

But a plan is a plan is a plan.

There will be a lot of bridges to cross from here to there to implement all the elements of the Belle Meade plan. Keep in mind that APAC Lakes has been designed to handle an order of magnitude less of water (at 400 cfs) than the Picayune Strand Restoration (at 4,000 cfs). Also, at its tailwaters, watershed flows in Belle Meade will be weaved through a fairly dense cluster of urban development. Importantly, land is being acquired through a willing-seller process in the Belle Meade plan.

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