Historically, Weston was Everglades marsh dominated by sawgrass. The area had been drained for pastureland and was infested with invasive exotic tree species. The Indian Trace Community Development District (ITCDD), a dependent district of the City of Weston, restored over 2,000 acres of wetland as mitigation. The homes and businesses in Weston were allowed to be built on the condition that these mitigation wetlands be constructed and maintained. Construction began in 1988 and was completed in 2001. The maintenance will continue perpetually.
Objectives of the mitigation plan are to enhance and restore the historic Everglades marsh and the creation of open water and forested wetland habitats to benefit wetland-dependent wildlife. The sites constructed in Weston include varied wetland habitats such as open water, sawgrass marsh, forested tree islands, aquatic shelves and aquatic refuge. These areas are interspersed throughout the City, running along main roadways. Monitoring requirements of local, state and federal agencies required quarterly and semi-annual reports for each mitigation site for a period of five years, to assess its progress and detect any problem areas. Year-round maintenance includes the elimination of specific plant species while fostering the growth of healthy wetland and native vegetation, attracting and supporting a diverse population of fish and wildlife.
The restored and enhanced Everglades marsh and the creation of open water and forested wetland habitats, today blends seamlessly with the naturally formed Everglades that it borders. Water levels are monitored, panoramic photo stations visually record environmental conditions and vegetative cover, and regular fish and bird counts document the overall health and vitality of each site. It is a sanctuary for wildlife to thrive in an undisturbed and unthreatened environment.
In 2015, the City of Weston conveyed two land areas to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) for inclusion within a 565-acre mitigation buffer at the north end of the proposed C-11 Impoundment Project. Weston continues to maintain the two major wetland mitigation areas that remain:
- A 275-acre area west of South Post Road and south of Regional Park
- A 1,185-acre area between the Savanna community and U.S. 27, the largest wetland mitigation project in the United States