National Recycle Day: Building the South Cove Natural Area #AmericaRecyclesDay

Happy Friday & Happy National Recycle Day!

I figured that since I’m getting a late start today, I would honor the National Recycle Day by recycling one of my old posts! This one covers about 3 years of work that went into building a new “Natural Area” in the West Palm Beach intracoastal Waterway!

This project has been in the works for many years, and came with plenty of controversy as well as a lot of hard work. But the completed project speaks for itself. It’s beautiful!

The South Cove Natural Area

The West Palm Beach South Cove Natural Area is a project by the Palm Beach County  to provide habitat and improve water quality of the intracoastal between Flagler Bridge and Royal Park Bridge.

Looking North with the Trump Towers in the Background
At the end of the boardwalk looking north-west
Looking south-west at the end of the boardwalk

The 3-year project has multiple focuses

  • The South Cove Natural Area is designated as a high-priority restoration project in the Lake Worth Lagoon Management Plan.
  • This project will create critical shallow water habitat important to local fisheries, wading and shorebirds, manatees, and sea turtles.
  • Fill anoxic (lacking-oxygen) dredged hole with approximately 100,000 cubic yards of fill to create three intertidal mangrove/spartina islands.
  • Improve water qualityand water clarity by capping muck sediments.
  • Create 2 acres of mangrove and spartina habitat, 3.5 acres of potential seagrass habitat, and 0.9 acres of rock revetment/oyster reef. These habitats provides filtration capabilities and improve water quality through stabilization of the sediments.
  • Construct a 556-foot elevated boardwalk, 16’ x 16’ observation deck and educational kiosk for public use.

Watch a video from the end of the boardwalk.

Building the West Palm Beach South Cove Natural Area

The Plans

During the planning phase, the islands were outlined with markers. This is how the intracoastal looked from 2009 – 2010.

Pilons marking out the natural area

In July of 2010 work started in earnest to build up the South Cove Natural Area. The  dredged hole required approximately 100,000 cubic yards of soil to fill.

The dredging starts

After a year of filling up the dredged holes, in July of 2011 the islands popped up  above the waterline

The islands pop up

Due to the intratidal nature of the islands they were constructed so that the highest point was  just below the high-tide line. During low tides most of the island is visible.

The structures to support the 556 Ft. boardwalk get installed.

The boardwalk structure comes together

First concrete pylons go in for the Boardwalk


Rocks are piled onto the islands

Building the structure of the island


Pilons are cut down to size
Workers were creative when getting onto the pylons


Planks go in to make up the Boardwalk

Laying Planks can be tricky


During this time part of the Flagler walkway was blocked off and redone.

Construction continues


South Cove Natural Area Broadwalk stretches out into the intracoastal


By May 2012 the islands were complete

Mangroves get planted – State Rep. Mark Pafford helps out.

Mark Pafford Helps plant mangroves


Things are almost done


Sign is up! The South Cove Natural Area is almost done!

Taking my first walk down the boardwalk

We get a brand new view of our downtown from the South Cove Natural Area Broadwalk

This blog entry is day 15 of my 30-Day blogging challenge where I have committed to post a blog every day.

Please read the previous blog entries in this series:

Day 14: Startup Weekend and West Palm Beach as a Technology Hub
Day 13: Dreyfoos in White is Tonight – Location will be announced at 5pm
Day 12: Inside the Palm Healthcare Foundation in Downtown West Palm Beach on Diabetes Week
Day 11: Honoring our Veterans on Clematis Street – the West Palm Beach Parade!
Day 10: Muses & Visionaries – M&V Magazine & a short chat with Roy Assad
Day 9: What does diversity mean to you? WebMonday & bringing everyone in!
Day 8: Weekend is almost here – Fun things to do in West Palm Beach
Day 7: J. Flynn opening on Clematis – this is an Irish Gastropub, it’s all about the food.
Day 6: Why every small business owner should read the Costco Connection
Day 5: Bee Organics – The new organic café and “lifestyle space” in Downtown West Palm Beach
Day 4: Introducing BarCamp Palm Beach – Monday the 18th of November
Day 3: My top 5 Beaches in Palm Beach County
Day 2: City of West Palm Beach Chili Cookoff
Day 1: It’s November, and I’m Starting the 30-Day Blogging Challenge!