St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District
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Rose Bay

A five-point restoration plan for Volusia County’s Rose Bay is nearing completion. The new U.S. Highway 1 bridge is part of that restoration plan.

The new U.S. Highway 1 bridge is part of the restoration work at Rose Bay.

In the years before Florida’s explosive growth, Rose Bay was a productive estuary in the Halifax River in Volusia County. Good water quality and the bay’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (near Ponce de Leon Inlet) once provided vital nursery grounds and habitat for shellfish and young estuarine and offshore fish species. Over time, however, the byproducts of growth — stormwater runoff and leaking septic systems — degraded the bay’s beauty and productivity.

Rose Bay, a part of the Northern Coastal Basin, faced a handful of major water quality problems, including:

Location of Rose Bay
  • Runoff from storm water — Storm water carried nutrients (such as fertilizers), sediments (such as dirt and asphalt pieces) and other pollutants (such as grease and chemicals) into the bay.
  • Leakage from septic systems — Wastewater leaking from residential septic systems seeped into the bay. This nutrient pollution fuels algal blooms that cloud the water and adds to a layer of organic sediment throughout the bay when dead algae fall to the bay’s floor. Despite improvements in area water quality, increased bacteria levels continue to make safe shellfish harvesting impossible and raise other potential public health concerns.
  • Restricted water flow — Two causeways reduced water flow and circulation.

Solutions

The St. Johns River Water Management District worked with residents and local governments to form a coalition of agencies to pursue solutions to pollution problems and restore Rose Bay. The district, the city of Port Orange and Volusia County coordinated efforts through the Rose Bay Task Force. A comprehensive outline for a five-point restoration plan was developed and partnerships established with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).

The five points of the Rose Bay restoration plan and the accomplishments made toward implementing those points are:

Restoration Projects in the Rose Bay Area
Map legend
  1. Control stormwater pollution.
  2. Eliminate septic system discharges.
  3. Replace the U.S. 1 bridge/remove causeway.
  4. Remove old causeway.
  5. Remove accumulated sediment.
1. Control stormwater runoff pollution.

Working with the district, Volusia County and FDOT, the city of Port Orange has addressed stormwater discharges into Rose Bay. By combining projects with road improvements and sewer installation, the city has provided stormwater treatment throughout the bay’s watershed.
Projects to retrofit (upgrade) stormwater swales (shallow, wide grassed ditches) in the communities of Harbor Oaks and Allendale have provided the neighborhoods with improved drainage and water quality treatment.

Port Orange, Volusia County and the district developed a series of stormwater parks where storm water is stored and treated before being discharged into Rose Bay.

The city of Port Orange, with district assistance, completed a project that allows water from four stormwater ponds to be diverted to the city’s reuse irrigation program. The project reduces the volume of storm water going into Rose Bay by up to 1.2 million gallons of storm water per day, increases the city’s reuse water supply and provides additional floodwater storage capacity. This stormwater “harvesting” project has been a model for demonstrating the utilization of storm water as an important alternative water supply.

2. Eliminate leaking septic systems from discharging into Rose Bay.

The communities of Harbor Oaks and Allendale were annexed into the city of Port Orange. City-supplied sewer service has been provided to residences and businesses in the Rose Bay region through the Port Orange Water Utilities and with state legislative assistance.

3. Replace the existing U.S. 1 bridge and remove the current causeway to reestablish natural water exchange in the bay.

FDOT constructed a causeway replacement bridge and removed the old causeway in 2002.

4. Remove the old causeway that is east of U.S. 1.

In 2007, the district and Volusia County completed removal of an abandoned road causeway that bisected the bay and restricted natural water flow and circulation.

5. Remove accumulated sediment to restore estuary habitat.

The district coordinated with the Corps and Volusia County to develop and implement a habitat restoration plan. Completed in 2011, the resulting Corps 206 Program removed accumulated sediments to allow reestablishment of a highly productive oyster-based habitat that once flourished in the bay.

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922