The West Palm Beach section of the Intracoastal Waterway is the Lake Worth Lagoon. A century of human interventions and urbanization, building inlets from the ocean, the loss of wetlands and an increase of impervious surfaces sending polluted runoff into the Lake Worth Lagoon has resulted in the deterioration of the environmental quality of the Lake and the loss of critical habitat areas. As a part of the West Palm Beach Waterfront Commons project, Michael Singer Studio focused on regenerative environmental opportunities along the waterfront, specifically in the southern portion of the project area known as the South Cove.
In 2005 the Studio proposed a series of interventions that would act as a catalyst for regenerating the entire estuarine ecosystem within the South Cove. The Studio investigated regeneration projects along the Lake Worth Lagoon that were created as a part of the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative. The Studio also met with the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resource Management (PBC DERM) and other agencies to explore the most beneficial environmental strategies. Working with this research the Studio designed a series of stepped tidal gardens along the seawall, tidal islands of mangroves and spartina, and oyster reefs for water filtration, habitat enhancement and critically, to promote the growth of beneficial seagrasses. The original design included a floating dock “water trail” with limited access to the tidal islands.
In 2007 PBC DERM recognized the value of the conceptual work initiated by Michael Singer Studio and adopted the South Cove project as one of their major projects as part of the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative. PBC DERM has adopted several elements of the original Michael Singer Studio design and advanced the project through engineering, permitting and construction. Utilizing 150,000 cubic yards of local fill material the project has filled a series of anoxic dredge holes (essentially in-water habitat dead zones) and shaped three distinct islands. The project area encompasses 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 provide natural filtration (each oyster for instance filters 40-50 gallons of water a day) and improve water quality through the stabilization of sediments. PBC DERM has also constructed a 556 foot long elevated boardwalk, a 16 foot by 16 foot observation deck and an educational kiosk for public access to the South Cove.
The project was completed in the fall of 2012 and is now open to the public.
To learn more about the PBC DERM South Cove Project click here
South Cove Regeneration Project opens, see video here
Artist / Designer: Michael Singer
Singer Studio Project Manager and Environmental Designer: Jason Bregman
Design Development, Engineering, Permitting and Construction Oversight: Eric Anderson,
Paul Davis, Julie Bishop and many others at the Palm Beach County
Department of Environmental Resource Management (PBC DERM)
Construction: Brang Construction, Inc.
Photography: Courtesy of PBC DERM, Michael Singer Studio