More than $182,000 Committed to Restoration of the St. Lucie River

Oct. 24, 2014

~DEP partners with St. Lucie West Services District to improve stormwater system~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded St. Lucie West Services District $182,000 for stormwater treatment improvements that will ultimately reduce pollutants reaching the St. Lucie River. The project is expected to reduce total phosphorous by 11 percent and total nitrogen by approximately five percent. St. Lucie West Services District is providing match funding of more than $255,000.

“This grant program builds upon the commitment of local governments to their local water resources,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “By combining resources we can more efficiently address restoration across the state.”

Water that flows off land and into creeks, streams or rivers after a rain is referred to as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff usually contains a number of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a waterbody, rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other complications can develop. Treatment or retention of stormwater runoff reduces the impact on water quality.

St. Lucie West Services District Manager Dennis Pickle said, “We have always been sensitive to how our projects affect the environment and appreciate receiving this funding, which will ultimately benefit the surrounding estuaries and lagoon. The $438,000 project involves modifying an isolated wetland into an enhanced stormwater pollution runoff zone. This natural preserve will assist in detaining and treating stormwater runoff.”

The department administers this grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. Projects are ranked for funding based on the impaired status of the associated water body, the estimated pollutant-load reductions the project is designed to achieve, the cost-effectiveness of the project and the percentage of local matching funds.

Another important consideration is whether the applicant has a stormwater utility fee or other dedicated revenue source to continue effective stormwater management in the future. Applicants are encouraged to include public-education elements in their requests, because informing the public on best management practices to keep pollutants out of the stormwater system is critical to success.

One of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide stormwater program, Florida has long been a national leader in tackling the challenge of stormwater management. Florida is also one of the first states in the nation to directly address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water quality restoration program.

For more information on the grant program and the application process, click here. Information on the wide range of DEP’s restoration programs is available here under “Water Quality Assessment and Restoration.”

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