Babcock Ranch was a 91,000-acre piece of original Florida land found at the headwaters of the Telegraph Cypress Swamp, which spans from Charlotte to Lee County. In 2006, the ranch was acquired by a private developer who then sold 73,000 acres to the State of Florida and Lee County as preserve land and retained 18,000 acres for development.
Johnson Engineering has been involved with the operation, maintenance, and now development of Babcock Ranch since the 1960s. The friendship between Johnson Engineering former president Archie Grant and Babcock Ranch owner Fred Babcock cultivated a business partnership with the Babcock family that has endured and grown, playing a major role in the ranch’s prosperity and wise stewardship. Through his field reconnaissance, Archie found the solution to restoring water levels within Telegraph Cypress Swamp and recommended reinforcing the Big Island Dike and designed the four major water control structures on the 91,000+ acre ranch. This important discovery provided drainage during the wet season and allowed for closing of the water control structures during the dry season to maintain desired water levels in the swamp to ease drought conditions.
Johnson Engineering was part of the original project team engaged in August 2005 by Kitson & Partners, LLC, shortly after they secured a contract for the Babcock Ranch. The Johnson Engineering team was responsible for the initial conceptual designs, surveying, preserve, trail, and greenway locations, facilitating public meetings, conducting feasibility studies, permitting, stormwater management, and environmental services. Our team collaborated with governmental staff, officials, and community stakeholders to prepare documentation and feasibility studies to support zoning, land development, and code writing. We have worked with the developer through this transition period and still, today are the lead environmental consultant, providing a wide range of permitting, environmental, mitigation, hydrological, and planning services.