The Brevard County Commission approved yesterday an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for an additional $800,000 in funding for a project to reduce pollution, identify sources of muck and reduce muck inputs to the Indian River Lagoon.
This latest appropriation builds on the previous $20 million awarded in the past two years for the Brevard County Muck Dredging Project, for a total investment of $20.8 million to date.
“Eliminating current sources of muck and removing muck deposits are both crucial steps toward improving water quality and the overall health of the lagoon, including protecting fish and wildlife that call the Indian River Lagoon home,” said Drew Bartlett, DEP deputy secretary for ecosystem restoration.
Muck build-up is a result of nutrient pollution, sediment, grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter entering the Indian River Lagoon over time and accumulating at the bottom.
As muck decomposes, it consumes oxygen needed by fish and it releases nutrients that feed algae blooms.
The department is working aggressively to improve water quality in the lagoon by identifying additional wastewater and stormwater projects to reduce the amount of nutrients going into the lagoon and dredge projects to remove muck that exists in the bottom of the lagoon.
For the upcoming fiscal year, nearly $26 million from the Florida First budget will be invested in 10 water-quality improvement projects in the Indian River Lagoon, which includes $21.5 million for the continuation of the Brevard County Muck Dredging Project – a key component of long-term lagoon restoration.