Researching Effects of Mosquito Spray on Other Species

During the summer of 2014, Sr. Ecologist, David W. Ceilley was co-investigator on a research grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) for “Measuring the fate and non-target impacts of Dibrom™ using aerial ultra low volume (ULV) spray technology in mangrove and open marsh wetlands”. The research team also included Edwin M. Everham, III, Ph.D., Talal El-Hefnawy, M.D., Ph.D., Jonathan Hornby, Ph.D., Neil Wilkinson, Katherine Nelson, and Rachel Morreale. Several undergraduate student employees and employees of the Lee County Mosquito Control District also assisted with this research project conducted in Lee County preserves.

This study looked at the impacts of adult mosquito control spray on honey bees, peacock butterflies, and hundreds of non-target insect species by comparing sprayed wetland sites and non-sprayed (control) wetland sites before and after a single nighttime aerial spray event.

The study showed that low altitude ULV spraying of Dibrom™ takes about an hour to reach the ground with a potential to drift for a mile or more depending on wind speed. Residues of Dibrom™ and its degradation product dichlorvos, may remain on the surface of plant leaves and on water for several hours before evaporating.

The research team found temporary but significant changes to insect communities after the spray event and an increased mortality of honey bees. Peacock butterflies also showed increased mortality but results were inconclusive as to the cause. Lab experiments by Dr. El-Hefnawy with fruit flies showed 100% mortality in 20 hours at dosage rates of less than 1.0 part per million. Additional studies are needed to identify any possible long term effects on non-target organisms.

The results of this study on the mosquito adulticide Dibromtm fate and impacts on non-target species can be used to address concerns of the effects on endangered species, mangrove and marsh wetlands, and may help redefine mosquito adulticide exposure levels. These findings may also influence management decisions regarding mosquito control, particularly in public wetlands and preserve areas.

The study would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of Lee County Mosquito control and Lee County 20/20 program.The full 175 page report is available from FGCU or Johnson Engineering. For more information on this research study, contact David Ceilley at [email protected].

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Fort Myers Country Club is Back in Full Swing

Golfers are excited about the much anticipated Fort Myers Country Club grand re-opening. The legendary Donald Ross course built in 1916 gets a much needed renovation.

Nearly a century ago, the late Donald Ross designed the 130-acre Fort Myers County Club Golf Course located between McGregor Boulevard and US 41. This iconic facility has been masterfully managed by the City of Fort Myers since its inception. The toll of brutal summer rains and decades of use has impacted the course so much in recent years, that the City began regularly closing the course after heavy summertime downfalls.

This summer the course finally received a much needed renovation, bringing it up to 21st century standards. As the lead civil engineer for this project, our team worked closely with the City of Fort Myers staff, Wright Construction and the golf course architect, Steve Smyers, to incorporate an innovative system of water retention and water quality infrastructure into the new design.

Our familiarity with the grant programs through the Department of Environmental Protection was instrumental in helping the City obtain $840,000 in TMDL water quality restoration grant funds to make this project happen.

To ensure the City’s facility would be open for the public during peak season, the team met a very aggressive construction schedule. The schedule was compressed into six months, and it ran from April to October, which is the most challenging time to renovate a golf course because it is rainy season. The course re-opened to the public on schedule, just in time for City residents, seasonal residents and visitors to enjoy the golf course during the season of cooler weather and less rainfall.

The new course kept many of the same challenging elements from Ross’ original design, yet incorporated enhancements that are suited to today’s golfer and modern equipment. The project features revamped fairways, greens, pathways, tees, roughs, and sand traps. The irrigation, drainage, and utility facilities are also now modernized and more efficient.

The new water management system retrofits are particularly beneficial to the course, because they serve a dual purpose as hazards for the golfers, and as stormwater infrastructure that improves water quality and attenuation. For maximum efficiency, stormwater runoff that flows into the ponds is being reused for course irrigation.

The City Public Works Department and the Community Redevelopment Agency collaborated to make the ponds on the golf course even more impactful to the community, because they also provide water quality credits that can benefit property owners who seek to redevelop older properties along the Cleveland Avenue corridor.

It was a rewarding project for our team, combining both history and innovation. For more information, contact Kevin Winter, P.E., at [email protected].

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Celebrating 75 Years in Business


As we enter our 75th year in business, we want to take time to reflect on this remarkable accomplishment
showing devotion and perseverance, instilling a solid appreciation for our rich history. Few companies can
claim to have had more of an impact on shaping Southwest Florida than Johnson Engineering.
Our team has spent decades adapting to an ever-changing industry. As regulations were imposed,
technology advanced, and the population surged, it was our duty to anticipate, guide, and provide
reliable long-term solutions for development. Our leaders’ vision and commitment collectively molded
us into the successful multiple disciplined engineering company we have become today.
We continue to add knowledgeable professionals who specialize in the various layers of civil engineering
and other services, and allow them to focus on providing the specific services needed to complete all
aspects of a project.

Johnson Engineering is a company with a historical backbone, with longevity and integrity at its core.
We are proud of our past, of those who came before us, and we continue to move into the future with
the solid foundation of values and practices they bestowed before us.





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Peace River Water Supply Peace Of Mind

The peaceful, scenic, and ever-changing Peace River is a viable water source for many in Southwest Florida. Consequently, dredging projects are vital to ensure the reliability of the pumping facilities that deliver this water to storage reservoirs.

The Peace River Regional Water Supply Facility (PRF) in DeSoto County relies upon surface water from the Peace River to supply drinking water to the region. Water is pumped from the river using large-capacity, axial-flow pumps which delivers the river water to a surface reservoir. The storage system and water production reliability of the PRF are dependent upon adequate availability of water at the intake pump station.

In 2014, Johnson Engineering began evaluating hydrologic and hydrographic data of the river around the PRF intake pump station. Our team reviewed a variety of historical aerial photographs, literature, and performed site assessments, and performed a hydraulic modeling of the river. A hydrographic survey was completed to measure the depth and bottom configuration of the
river. The evaluation confirmed changing river bottom conditions over the last 20 years around the pump station’s intake structure, due to a number of processes including point bar accretion, cut-bank erosion, riparian vegetation advancement, siltation, and sand deposition.

Ecological assessments were conducted to identify environmental and wildlife concerns associated with the surrounding area. Our team also performed a surface water model of the river which helped determine the need to dredge and to establish the most adequate dredge conveyance. Ecological assessments, sampling, and modeling all were needed to obtain the necessary permits. Our recommendation plan to the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority included a two phased dredging plan to improve the reliability of water delivery to the river pump station intake and performing a hydrographic survey on a regular basis to monitor the changes of the river bottom over time.

Phase 1 of the recommended plan involved acquiring a maintenance dredging permit. The area, which was originally dredged in 1974, is directly in front of the river pump station intake structure. The maintenance dredge work was successfully completed in January 2017 and removed approximately 3,500 cubic yards of river sediment directly in front of the pump station. Our team then performed another survey of the river bottom to confirm the dredge work and to provide updated river bottom depths along the channels.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Florida, severely impacting the area. The Peace River overflowed its banks, flooding the PRF. It was nesssasary to make sure the facility could continue to pump water for residents. Our team arrived onsite within two weeks to perform another hydrographic survey to identify any sedimentation changes along the river. They found river deposits had accumulated in front of the pump station as a result of some of the highest historical river flows. It was now necessary to perform a second maintenance dredge to remove an estimated 800 cubic yards of material placed as a result of the high flows.

A year later, our team performed a fourth hydrographic survey of the river to obtain current conditions to prepare the design documents needed for the upcoming Phase 2 dredging project. The second phase of the plan involved maintaining adequate water conveyance between the main channel extending from the CR 761 bridge to the river intake pump station. This phase had a dredge area of approximately 3.8 acres and consisted of removing approximately 16,500 cubic yards of river sediment. Authorization from the FDEP and USACE was also granted to perform a second maintenance dredge as part of Phase 2. Our team provided construction administration, inspection, and water quality assurance during all dredging operations.

The work was successfully completed in August 2019. The team performed a fifth and final hydrographic survey to confirm dredging volumes for Phase 2. In total, 20,200 cubic yards of river sediment was removed from the river and is being stored and stockpiled at the PRF site to be used as a fill resource.

The project resulted in no impacts to wetlands or wildlife, such as gopher tortoises, scrub jays, and manatees. Having a multidisciplined team was crucial to the overall success of this project which has helped improve the reliability of water delivery to the river pump station intake.

For more information, contact Erik Howard, PE, PSM at (239) 461-2441 or [email protected]

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Improving Water Quality North Of Lake Okeechobee

Lykes Bros. Inc.’s Brighton Valley Dispersed Water Management Project is officially up and running, storing and treating stormwater just north of Lake Okeechobee.

For more than a century, Lykes Bros. Inc. has been a leading agribusiness in Florida, with over 337,000 acres owned statewide. They have proactively used their resources to address environmental issues by teaming with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on water storage projects to alleviate high flows and excess nutrient loading to Lake Okeechobee.

Brighton Valley is the most recent Dispersed Water Management project to be completed. As water flows south from Lake Istokpoga towards Lake Okeechobee via the C-41A Canal, up to 40,000 acrefeet of water per year is now able to be diverted onto the Brighton Valley property for dispersed storage.

The shallow wetlands created as part of this project will allow water to naturally infiltrate and reduce the concentrations of nutrients prior to being released via either the C-40 or C-41A Canals toward Lake Okeechobee

This project will help to improve water quality by reducing the phosphorus and nitrogen loads and reduce the need for harmful freshwater discharges to coastal estuaries.

Brighton Valley joins Lykes’ existing 16,000- acre Nicodemus Slough and 2,500-acre West Waterhole water storage projects. Projects like these deliver a relatively quick solution to our current water crisis, providing the immediate relief needed while governmental entities implement long-term solutions.

Johnson Engineering has worked with Lykes for decades on various projects and was eager to help make the Brighton Valley project a reality. Our wide variety of in-house services helped expedite the project design and permitting through the simultaneous coordination of surveying and mapping, GIS, electrical, and surface water management engineering services.

The original conceptual design anticipated Brighton Valley would entail a simple impoundment similar to that used at the Nicodemus Slough project to its south. However, various challenges prompted design modifications to route flows on the site, detain water in the system, and strategically release it as needed.

Our team designed a management system to meet the inflow and outflow rates required by the SFWMD, while minimizing construction costs with features consistent with the original agricultural impoundment-style vision. Developing a robust operational plan for the project, in coordination with Lykes, allowed us to fine tune the components of the system, without adding more complexity to the modeling and design approach.

The operational control strategy developed by our team considered the levels in the canals and impoundment areas as well as pump sequencing scenarios. Given the watershed divide and regulatory limitations on canal stages, this task included estimating water levels necessary for operating the project under different scenarios and creating the framework for operational coordination between Lykes and the SFWMD. These considerations make Brighton Valley one of the most complex dispersed water storage projects to-date and highlight the potential of the program to more adaptively address water supply and storage challenges through use of private lands.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in September, when they turned on the pumps for the first time. Johnson Engineering is proud to provide our knowledge and expertise on such an important project which will have a positive impact on the ecosystem downstream.

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Nalle Grade Stormwater Park

A decade in the making, the Nalle Grade Stormwater Park project in North Fort Myers is now complete and open to the public. 

Initially envisioned in 2010 as a conceptual storm water improvement project to provide flood mitigation benefits to the overall watershed for Bay shore Creek, the Nalle Grade Storm water Park design grew to include water quality benefits to the Tidal Chattahoochee, and also water conservation, recreation, and ecological enhancement.

The 80-acre site had a portion used by the Lee County Archers for several years and an occasional family picnic, but the remainder of the park was typical Florida flat-woods with a substantial wetland feature. Due to the terrain, the park had limited usage, but the land was a perfect location for water storage and treatment. Lee County Natural
Resources worked closely with Lee County Lands and Lee County Parks and Recreation to bring the Nalle Grade Storm water Park project to fruition.

As a result, the park now provides pollutant removal and flood protection to Bayshore Creek by pumping water flows through a treatment train that includes a linear filter marsh, retention area, and restored wetland. A stormwater pump station contains dual 5,000 gpm low-head pumps sending water through two above-ground impoundments capable of providing up to 145 ac-ft of storage.

The flood reduction in the upper portion of the Bayshore Creek Watershed provides benefits to the downstream surface water conveyance by reducing peak flows experienced. The storage of water on the site improves groundwater flows to the Caloosahatchee during the dry season, which helps the river’s hydrologic condition and further improves the water quality. Through all the changes and upgrades, the park’s recreational benefits were also improved. In addition to the existing archery range, park visitors can now enjoy the park for hiking, fishing, and bird watching.

Our team provided on-site construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services during construction. We also provided a wide range of additional services for this multi-dimensional project that went beyond the typical efforts of a CEI consultant. One of our firm’s key strengths is the diversity in services we provide in-house, and we drew upon those resources to provide Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) 319 Grant assistance, a Quality Assurance Project Plan, and rigorous Davis-Bacon wage compliance review. The FDEP appreciates the timely filing of reports with the proper information. Entities that provide this type of information as requested usually rank better on future requests for funds.

Our team also designed public education signage throughout the park to help park visitors understand graphically how the park’s design will provide flood mitigation and how it will help to treat stormwater. The educational signage is often a component of receiving grant funds under the State administered 319 programs. Our landscape architecture group provided their unique graphical skills to design these signs, as they have done for several of our client’s projects.

Highlighting our strengths as a multidisciplinary firm, our in-house licensed drone pilot was able to provide a new mapping service for this project. Each month during construction, we sent the drone on an autonomous and pre-programmed flight to take photos at regular intervals as it covered the entire park area. Our GIS specialist then took these location-based photos and used automated stitching software to combine them into one georeferenced image. We were able to stitch and georectify 360 high-resolution photographs in the same amount of time it takes to manually georeference a single aerial image. Our ability to show the entire 60-acre project area in a single snapshot helped Lee County demonstrate continued construction progress in a clear and concise manner in their grant reimbursement requests to FDEP. The mapping also proved useful when reviewing the contractor’s monthly pay invoices, as it provided the ability to review the entire site in a single view on a single date, in lieu of combing through hundreds if not a thousand or more ground-based photographs taken over the course of the month.

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Citrus Park Community Vision Coming To Reality

The new, long-term vision neighborhood improvements at Citrus Park RV & Manufactured Home community are currently underway. 

As their home page states, “Citrus Park is a unique oasis situated in the heart of Southwest Florida that caters to the active lifestyle for those who want to enjoy all the Gulf Coast has to offer.” This seasonal community nestled on the eastern outskirts of the City of Bonita Springs lies quiet during the off season between April and October, then explodes with activity during season from November through March.

This 55 and over community of 3,500 plus residents on 401 acres is almost self-sufficient with their own water and wastewater treatment plants, a community center, and recreation center with large heated swimming pools for programmed activities. Outdoor recreation opportunities include tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, pètanque, horseshoe, and shuffleboard courts, a driving range, and community softball fields with a concession stand, which are all well attended each day by the seasonal residents.

Citrus Park, as its name suggests, was established in 1970 by Erich Trost as a mobile and manufactured home park and RV resort amidst the citrus groves of Southwest Florida. The ownership and management of the park was passed down over the years to family members. In 2019, the park was purchased by CMH Investment Management, LLC, and together with the management firms of Real Projectives, LLC and Murex Properties, they formed a future vision for the park. The new owners retained Johnson Engineering as their consultant to assist in the design, permitting, and construction oversight of the future site improvements. The design team realized that the aesthetic impact of initial park improvements would need to be swift and bold enough to create a buzz among residents and the local community.

Johnson Engineering’s landscape architectural design team wasted no time meeting with the larger Carlyle design team to gain a complete understanding of the future park vision. Within a week of the initial design discussions our Landscape Architecture team created a long-term phasing plan to bring Citrus Park into the 21st century. Our team presented the landscape design and irrigation plan and received immediate approval to implement the first phase of improvements. Phase 1 of the plan included improving the areas of highest visual impact for returning residents, which were along the main entry road, Trost Boulevard, and around the community’s recreational areas.

Our landscape team found that the existing hedgerows between Trost Boulevard and the existing residential homesites, retained over the years as a visual buffer, had been poorly maintained and consisted of undesirable invasive and exotic vegetation. Our team literally cleared the way for the new landscaping by quickly obtaining a tree removal permit from the City of Bonita Springs for the hedgerows along Trost Boulevard and the adjoining canals, to be replaced with a continuous, uniform, and manageable shrub hedge and shade trees, creating the backdrop for the main landscaping improvements.

The newly implemented entry drive landscaping now includes rhythmic groupings of Royal Palms reinforced by colorful native and Florida Friendly shrub massings under the new palm groupings to create the desired tropical paradise as envisioned by the new owners’ design team.

Our team also designed and permitted a new lighting plan to replace outdated lights on wooden utility poles. The new lighting plan, of decorative LED pendant lights with banners, received approval from the City and will be implemented in the next few weeks.

As the Citrus Park aesthetic improvements move forward, Johnson Engineering’s Landscape Architects will play a large role in designing landscape lighting for the newly installed plantings. The Johnson Engineering team will continue providing master planning and design services for the future improvements phases, which will encompass the existing court renovations, new play courts, lake improvements, lighting improvements, and other visual upgrades throughout the community.

The next phase of planned improvements require the support of our in-house civil engineers, electrical engineers, planners, and utility engineers to develop site plan improvements. As the Johnson Engineering team continues working to improve the parks’ amenities and infrastructure, both aesthetics and long-term maintenance will be our focus. We look forward to hearing the residents’ reactions as they begin to return to their newly renovated community this fall.

For more information, contact Jeff Nagle, RLA at [email protected].

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Two New Libraries Open in Lee County

The North Fort Myers and Bonita Springs Public Libraries are now open for readers! Last year Lee County was fortunate enough to be able to replace both aging facilities with brand new buildings.

Both libraries have more than doubled their square footage, offering patrons more room and a brighter state-of-the-art space. In addition to the new automatic materials handling system, the facilities offer public computers, as well as large meeting rooms with audiovisual capabilities. Each library now features storytime areas, gaming spaces, outdoor reading spaces, and courtyards.

Johnson Engineering was the civil engineer for these libraries, working closely with the architect, BSSW, on both projects at the same time. Our wide variety of in-house services helped expedite the project through the simultaneous coordination of the survey, design, and permitting of the parking, drainage, utilities, and other site infrastructure throughout the complexes.

We are fortunate to have been a part of these projects that have positively impacted our community. It’s great to see how important reading and literacy is to Lee County.

For more information, contact Tyler Sharpe, PE, at [email protected].

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The 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference

The 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference was hosted by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island on January 9-11, 2020. The theme for the 2020 conference was “America’s Everglades: All Hands On Deck,” an acknowledgement that all interests must work together to protect the Everglades.

A great example of the theme was displayed during one of the final panels that focused on the importance of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and sea grass to the health of our lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal marine habitats. Moderated by Brett Fitzgerald from the Angler Action Foundation, the panel covered everything from importance of SAV habitats in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, to the massive sea grass die-offs in Florida Bay from the lack of freshwater flows to the estuaries. David Ceilley, Senior Aquatic Ecologist at Johnson Engineering, has been working on restoration of SAV habitat in the Caloosahatchee River since 2002 and presented the results of several pilot studies and a much larger ongoing effort with the Angler Action Foundation and Sea & Shoreline, with State Funding of $1,000,000. One common element in all the presentations was the importance of building and maintaining partnerships in order to raise awareness, make progress towards restoration, and most importantly, to obtain political support and the critical funding needed to protect and restore habitat.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the SAV restoration projects that Johnson Engineering is involved with, please contact David Ceilley at [email protected].

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Create an Online Map System with Little to no GIS Staff

Johnson Engineering offers ArcGIS online mobile mapping solutions. We were the first Florida company to achieve ESRI’s ArcGIS Online Specialty level recognition. We can make your GIS data more available to your staff via a secure online system so that it can be easily viewed and edited by smartphones, tablets, and web browsers, making that data more useful and accessible. This is a low-cost approach without the need for an in-house GIS staff.

Our construction engineering & inspection (CEI) team is currently utilizing this modern technology on two Lee County projects, Estero Boulevard and Homestead Road. A GIS base map is created for the project based off the original plan digital linework, after which any combination of information can be incorporated into the map as the project progresses. Useful information may include digital photographs, shop drawings, equipment information, test results, etc. One particularly helpful aspect on these projects is in the generation and tracking of “punch lists.” Project deficiencies can easily be documented, located, mapped, and the status tracked with this GIS application. This is another example of utilizing technology to more quickly and efficiently improve our community.

For more information on mobile mapping solutions, contact Mike Lohr, PSM, at [email protected].

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Fort Myers (Corporate Office)

Phone: (239) 334-0046
Fax: (239) 334-3661


Phone: (863) 805-0707
Fax: (239) 334-3661