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Lake Excavation 

Picture of an excavated lake and the wetland litorral zone along the lake edge 


Excavation in South Florida is done to extract fossilized shell to make concrete, acquire fill for construction and to store water.  If lakes and mines are dug too deep with poorly sloped edges, they can be hazardous to people and result in poor water quality, harming the surrounding environment.  Since 1992, ERM has regulated excavation and mining through the Palm Beach County Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) Article 4, Chapter B, Section 10, Excavation Uses. 


ERM has increased health and safety, prevented erosion and loss of property, increased water quality and provided habitat by regulating excavation.


Littoral Zones

Diagram of the plants that grow at different depths in the littoral zone 

Lakes regulated by ERM larger than 1 acre OR deeper than 6 feet must have a planted littoral area with 5 different species of native aquatic plants covering at least 80% and no more than 10% exotic plants.

Why are they good?

Native aquatic plants growing in the littoral zone reduce erosion by stabilizing the banks, increase water quality by taking up nutrients settled in the sediment, and provide habitat for wading birds and other wildlife.  If you have littoral plants that recruit (fill in), then you have a healthy lake!

Topics of Interest     

Developers are to install littoral plants.

Property owners/HOAs are to maintain plants.

Do not trim or remove native littoral plants.

Algae growth increases in the summer.

Littoral plants go dormant in the winter.

Multiple lake systems may consolidate plantings.

20 foot maintenance easement around each lake.

The following entities also govern excavation:

Palm Beach County Planning and Zoning

Palm Beach County Health Department

South Florida Water Management District