Great blue herons in the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida
© Marie Hickman/Getty Image
Finding a balance between wetlands and water treatment
Take a stroll through the Wakodahatchee Wetlands and you'll likely spot great blue herons, like the fluffed-up pair we're featuring today. Located in Delray Beach, Florida, and created on 50 acres of wastewater utility property, the park first opened to the public back in 1996. A three-quarter-mile boardwalk takes visitors over ponds and through marshes, offering the chance to see more than 150 bird species, plus turtles, fish, frogs, alligators, and other Floridian fauna. Every day, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department pumps about 2 million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the wetlands. Then algae and other plants naturally finish the purification process before the water seeps back into the water table. Quite an upgrade from a yucky wastewater pond.