November 14, 2014
~DEP partners with Brevard County to address stormwater and water quality~
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded Brevard County more than $116,000 to install stormwater-filtration technologies to improve water quality in the Banana River Lagoon. The project is expected to reduce nutrient pollution by 20 percent for both total phosphorous and total nitrogen. Brevard County is providing match funding of more than $121,000.
“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 polluted 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. As part of this project, Brevard County is installing filtration technology called a Floating Vegetated Islands (FVI) in two water detention ponds along Fortenberry Road.
“This partnership is a critical component of restoring the health and resilience of our Indian River Lagoon,” said Ernie Brown, director of Brevard County’s’ Natural Resources Management Department. “There are no one size fits all solutions to restore the balance of the lagoon. This project furthers the restoration strategy of reducing the nutrient inputs, removing the legacy muck and sources of muck, and restoring the filter feeders while bringing sound research to the effort.”
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.”