Airport photo

Mitigation Park

Mitigation Program

The centerpiece of the mitigation program is the 7,000-acre Airport Mitigation Park, which was established to compensate for the impact of long-term development of Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Located four miles southeast of RSW, the Mitigation Park lands are among the most pristine and environmentally sensitive in the region. Additionally, eight plant and 11 wildlife species listed as protected by state and federal agencies have been identified onsite. The site includes the Imperial Marsh, the largest freshwater marsh in Lee County, and extends from the headwaters of the Imperial and Estero river watersheds through the Flint Pen Strand; ultimately, connecting to the Everglades.

Mitigation Park is an innovative concept that not only allowed the Lee County Port Authority (LCPA) to streamline permitting for the Midfield Terminal Complex, which opened in 2005, but also restored many acres of land and preserved other areas of pristine habitat forever. The land for this project was acquired between 1994 and 1998, through the vision of the Lee County Board of Port Commissioners. It demonstrates their commitment to striking a balance between the need for airport expansion and environmental preservation.

Mitigation work began on the site in January 2003. The initial activities included removal of invasive exotic vegetation, installation of supplemental native plants, wetland creation and habitat restoration. The work helped to restore natural flow-ways and resulted in 550 acres of wetland creation. Once completed, the site went into the perpetual maintenance phase, which remains ongoing. Perpetual land management is conducted at Mitigation Park to help maintain permit compliance and uphold the ecological integrity of the site. This includes regularly scheduled invasive species removal projects, selective thinning of overgrown areas, and other activities that keep the habitat in its natural state.

It is notable that LCPA was recognized and won several industry environmental awards for this project.




RSW Mitigation Park and Preserve Areas Location Map

RSW Mitigation Park and Preserve Areas Location Map

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