District staff deploy to help with Indian River Lagoon recovery efforts

PALM BAY, Fla., March 23, 2016 — It’s all hands on deck to expedite cleanup efforts in the Indian River Lagoon after a recent fish kill. St. Johns River Water Management District staff are heading to Brevard County to assist with the recovery.

“This is an opportunity to work hand in hand with our many partners to make a difference with the Indian River Lagoon recovery,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This is a small step in what is sure to be a lengthy process, and it’s only through this type of collaboration we can make progress in this difficult situation.”

The district is providing multiple boats and crew members to help with efforts in the hardest hit areas of Brevard. The dead fish will be removed from canals and waterways and transferred to designated dumpsters provided by the county. Staff will be onsite until the situation reaches a more manageable level.

In addition to short-term relief provided by the removal of fish, the district is also working to expedite a number of projects that can help alleviate the issue, although unfortunately there is no quick fix to the current situation. Recently, innovative dispersed water pilot projects have been approved in Indian River County that are projected to keep thousands of pounds of nutrients from reaching the lagoon. In other locations, projects will divert storm water now headed for the lagoon back through treatment areas to improve its water quality and then into the St. Johns River.

Several projects have been completed in recent months that will bring relief to the Indian River Lagoon in time. The Wheeler Stormwater Park, C-1 flow restoration and Fellsmere Water Management Area are in-the-ground projects that are geared toward helping improve the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Upcoming projects that will positively impact the lagoon include a C-10 Reservoir flow restoration from C-10 to Three Forks; repair and maintenance of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers structures, levees, and culverts; an Indian River Lagoon wetland restoration project; and Eau Gallie dredging. Each of these projects will improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.

To learn more about our agency’s role in helping to improve the long-term health of the lagoon and to learn what residents can do to minimize their impacts on this waterway visit www.sjrwmd.com/indianriverlagoon/.