DEP Commits $90,000 to Restoration of the St. Lucie Estuary

November 13, 2014

~DEP partners with the city of Stuart to restore wetlands and improve water quality~

The Department of Environmental Protection awarded the city of Stuart $90,000 for a wetland restoration project that will reduce the amount of nutrients reaching the St. Lucie Estuary. The project is expected to reduce total phosphorous by almost six percent and total nitrogen by approximately three percent. The city is providing match funding of $110,000.

“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. Retention and treatment of stormwater runoff through the rehydrated wetlands will reduce the impact on water quality.

“The city of Stuart greatly appreciates the continued support and financial assistance provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in meeting its commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Stuart Public Works Director Sam Amerson.

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 waterbody, 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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