Case Studies

Miller Legg: South Florida’s Choice for Environmental Consulting

  • Written by: Miller Legg: South Florida's Choice for Environmental Consulting
  • Produced by: Miller Legg: South Florida's Choice for Environmental Consulting
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Miller Legg has had a hand in South Florida’s built environment since the company’s founding in 1965, when Bob Legg bought an antique surveyor and founded the business from his home. Today, the Miller Legg team stands in a class of its own, having survived gator-infested waters, rattlesnakes and more than one curious cow to complete work on time and as promised. The interdisciplinary firm provides a wealth of consulting services to clients in various market sectors, including healthcare, education, transportation, residential, commercial and international.

Miller Legg’s story is one of two Bobs: Bob Miller and Bob Legg. Both ran separate engineering and land surveying companies until officially merging as Miller Legg in 1995. As the industry changed over the years, Miller Legg responded by folding in additional specialties. The team now provides a range of services, including civil engineering, environmental engineering, land surveying, subsurface utility engineering, permitting, planning, urban design, landscape architecture and environmental wetlands consulting.

The company is comprised of 70 professionals amongst five offices, which are strategically spread across Florida. Miller Legg’s headquarters is located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the company also boasts an outpost in Dubai.

Paving the Way for Preservation

Over the past 27 years the team at Miller Legg has established a solid reputation in the consulting industry. The team takes pride in approaching every project as an extension of the client’s own team, aligning itself with the client’s needs and concerns to understand the specific corporate culture and deliver the best possible value in the long-term.

“Miller Legg helped to develop the criteria for the first public-private wetlands mitigation bank in the state of Florida by working closely with the city of Pembroke Pines,” says Michael Kroll, RLA, a principal, vice president and 24-year employee of Miller Legg.

In the early 1990s land development had left much of South Florida’s wetlands in poor shape, and the state was at a loss as to how to strike a balance between protecting the remaining wetlands without hindering economic development efforts. Miller Legg partnered with the city and conducted extensive research over the course of two years before finally developing a game plan for 450 acres of city-owned degraded wetlands.

The project was subsequently permitted, constructed and named the Pembroke Pines Mitigation Bank, making it the first wetlands mitigation bank project in the state. Wetland mitigation banking essentially creates an opportunity for local land developers to purchase credits in the restoration of large wetland areas in exchange for permission to build on poorly functioning wetlands, a program which has since continued across Florida with both publicly and privately created mitigation banks.

International Experts

The team at Miller Legg hasn’t exactly taken it easy in the years since. “We’re a highly specialized multidisciplinary firm with a staff of experts in their fields, which gives us the ability to look at highly complex projects and find the best answers for our clients,” states Kroll.

Miller Legg’s specialized expertise and extensive portfolio of successful projects has facilitated the company’s establishment in the global construction industry. The company’s international portfolio includes hotels, condominiums and resorts for clients in the Caribbean, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Egypt.

An example of the team’s international expertise is apparent in the company’s master plan and environmental analysis for the Wenzhou Ecological Park in Wenzhou, China. The park hopes to become a 40-square mile, government-sponsored recreational park, which will be complete with residential and commercial developments. The park’s goal is to make the most of the area’s ancient Buddhist temples and historic villages while utilizing the site’s natural features to become an example of eco-tourism.

Very Long-term Thinking

Meanwhile, the Miller Legg’s stateside teams worked to finalize the master plan for the mitigation and restoration of West Lake Park in Broward County, Fla., of which the second phase was completed in 2011.

“It’s a 1,400-acre park that we have had the pleasure of working on for over 20 years,” adds Kroll. Voters approved $7.5 million to acquire the tracts of land and establish the park in 1980. Miller Legg led the team to create the desired environment for support of the coastal wetland estuary and encourage mangrove propagation, including the removal of all exotic species from over 230 acres.

West Lake’s master plan was developed in response to the expansion of the south runway at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which provided $10 million in funding for the second mitigation phase. The park was selected as the ideal location because of the site’s proximity to the airport and its growing need for exotic species removal and habitat restoration. The Miller Legg team coordinated all permitting negotiations with the Broward County Department of Environmental Protection and Growth Management, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The unique project ultimately earned the 2011 Florida Airports Council Environmental Award.

Another award-winning project by Miller Legg was the city of Plantation’s Plantation Preserve and Golf Club. The team worked with city staff to acquire the 213-acre contaminated and desolate property and develop it into an Audubon-certified par-72 championship golf course.

The property incorporates a 1.5-mile linear trail recreational component within the interior of the golf course, where the linear trail is part of a 40-acre wetland/upland component. The team worked closely with the city for additional grant funding as well, and the hard work paid off. Both the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association recognized the project for design excellence.

The past few years have been challenging for Miller Legg as private-sector development slowed nationwide. However, the company’s accomplishments in both sectors helped the team maintain its foothold in the market while also pursuing some international opportunities. As opportunities arise in either the private or public sector, Miller Legg has the experience and team work ethic that will ensure the company delivers on the promise to build communities and improve environments.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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