Many West Boca residents may be unaware of the neighboring water conservation impoundment known as the Fran Reich Preserve. The refuge is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and its purpose is to retain excess surface water runoff from the Hillsboro watershed as well as the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Okeechobee.
The Fran Reich Preserve is a 1,660 acre impoundment that will collect urban runoff during the rainy season and store water for purposes of agricultural use during the dry season. The site will deliver water to the Hillsboro Canal Basin that would otherwise be discharged to the Intracoastal Waterway. By delivering freshwater to the Hillsboro Canal, the site is also expected to reduce saltwater intrusion.
The project is equipped with sophisticated water management technology including an inflow pump station, gated discharge culvert, emergency overflow spillway, and a seepage control canal. In the 1980’s, the site was the proposed location for a solid waste dump and incinerator. This proposal was unsuccessful after being met with resistance by locals, including Fran Reich, an Everglades conservationist and West Boca Community Council founder. The preserve was named in her honor. The picture at left is the best we could find of her. If anyone has a better one please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see in the picture below, the site is located to the west and southwest of West Boca Community High School and west of the end of Palmetto Park Road. The preserve runs along the north side of the Loxahatchee Canal (and Loxahatchee Road) for about 3 miles.