GWJax awarded $5.85 million grant for Hogans Creek Design

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Groundwork Jacksonville has been awarded $5.85 million through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) National Coastal Resilience Fund for the design and ecological restoration of Hogans Creek. The goal of the project is to reduce flooding, improve water quality, create habitat for fish and wildlife, and provide nature-based recreation.“The Emerald Trail project and the restoration of Hogans and McCoys Creeks are going to be game changers for the downtown experience and economy,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “This NFWF grant will be a significant direct investment into the quality of our community greenspaces and the health of our city’s natural resources, and I am grateful to Groundwork Jacksonville for their hard work making this revolutionary dream a reality.”

Since December 2020 Groundwork has been working with environmental engineering and architectural design firm Halff and their partners Ecosystems Planning & Restoration (EPR), Alpha Envirotech Consulting, and Ghiotto & Associates, to develop the 30% preliminary design. The 30% design was also funded by NFWF National Coastal Resilience Fund with support from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and AT&T, and locally, the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board and private donors.

According to NFWF, the National Coastal Resilience Fund has awarded more than $144 million to 96 coastal resilience projects in 2022 for nature-based projects that reduce current and projected threats to coastal communities, improve habitats for fish and wildlife, benefit underserved communities, directly engage community members in project design and implementation, and can be scaled for broader impact through integration into other government plans, programs, or policies.Groundwork Jacksonville received one of the largest grants awarded. (See the Full List of 2022 Grantees)

“We are thrilled to receive this major grant award from NFWF as it will enable us to accelerate and complete the Hogans Creek restoration design,” said Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville. “NFWF’s continued generous support of Groundwork Jacksonville validates our natural channel design approach and commitment to engaging community stakeholders in our work.”

Hogans Creek is a 2.6-mile tidal and freshwater urban creek that begins at the CSX Railroad, just north of the S-Line Rail Trail, and flows south to the St. Johns River at the Shipyards. Hogans Creek frequently floods and is a top priority for the City’s Local Mitigation Strategy, just behind McCoys Creek.

Much of the area is unnatural, hardened with concrete banks that limit aquatic habitat. The stream restoration work will restore organic beds and banks and return the creek to a more natural meandering pattern and flow. Additionally, two sections that are currently buried in culverts will be daylighted. The plan also proposes the addition of two city parks along the creek.

In addition to significantly reducing flooding, the restoration of Hogans Creek is expected to attract a wide variety of birds, ranging from wading birds such as herons and egrets to raptors like hawks and osprey. It also will provide habitat for various amphibians, reptiles and mammals, including manatees.

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