DEP PROVIDES $20 MILLION FOR EAU GALLIE RIVER RESTORATION PROJECT BENEFITING INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

In fiscal year 2014-15, the SJRWMD was awarded $10 million from a legislative appropriation for construction of the dredge material management area that will hold the dredged materials from the Eau Gallie River, including construction of the pipeline route and transportation infrastructure crossings.

In fiscal 2015-16, the SJRWMD was awarded a $10 million increase from a legislative appropriation. This additional funding and expansion of the project allows for completion of all dredging and the removal of approximately 632,000 cubic yards of muck sediment. The entire project will remove muck soils from the main stem of the Eau Gallie River, as well as the southern branch of the river, Elbow Creek.

Muck build-up is a result of nutrient pollution, sediment, grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter entering the Indian River Lagoon and accumulating at the bottom over time. As muck decomposes, it consumes oxygen needed by fish and releases nutrients that feed algal blooms. Muck sediments also negatively impact navigation and can damage seagrass beds.

A Cleaner Eau Gallie River celebration was recently held marking the milestone for community residents who formed the Eau Gallie River Environment is Threatened (EGRET) project, and raised awareness to improve the conditions of the Eau Gallie River. The project is estimated to remove approximately 1,200 tons of nitrogen and 260 tons of phosphorous contained within the Eau Gallie River muck deposits.

The department is working aggressively to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon by identifying and funding projects that reduce the amount of nutrients going into the lagoon, including an upcoming $21.5 million muck dredging project in Brevard County.

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