The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board has voted to begin the first phase of a massive dredging project that will improve water quality, navigation and the economy in and around the central Indian River Lagoon.
The Board approved an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to receive $10 million appropriated by Governor Rick Scott and the 2014 Legislature for the first phase of the Eau Gallie River Muck Dredging Project.
The project is part of Governor Scott’s overall efforts to improve the health of the Indian River Lagoon. The project will ultimately involve removing 625,000 cubic yards of muck sediments from the Eau Gallie River, a tributary of the lagoon in Brevard County.
The Eau Gallie River has accumulated substantial muck deposits over the past several decades that have detrimental impacts on the lagoon, including:
- Accumulated nutrients that flux into the water column and contribute to algal blooms
- Bottom conditions that are not conducive to healthy marine life
- Hazards to navigation and boat motors
“Removing these sediments from the lagoon system will have positive water quality and ecological impacts for many years,” said District Governing Board Member Doug Bournique of Vero Beach. “It will also result in recreational and navigational benefits for the public, and economic benefits for businesses that rely on the lagoon, such as the two marinas on the Eau Gallie River that house 160 boat slips.”
“The Indian River Lagoon is a priceless resource to our communities and its ecological health is critical to the Space Coast economy and our quality of life,” said Rep. Steve Crisafulli of Merritt Island. “I’m proud to serve as a member of the Brevard legislative delegation which was responsible for securing this funding to restore the health and viability of our Indian River Lagoon.”
The dredging is a cooperative project among the District, DEP, Florida Inland Navigation District, the city of Melbourne and Brevard County.
Eau Gallie River Muck Dredging Project schedule calls for design and permitting to be completed by September 2015, dredge material management area construction completed by June 2016 and dredging finished by September 2017. The total project cost is estimated at $20 million.
Press Release, July 9, 2014