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Water bodies, watersheds and storm water

The Canal 1 Rediversion Project

A bird’s eye view of Turkey Creek.

A bird’s eye view of Turkey Creek.

Decades of drainage into Turkey Creek in southern Brevard County has degraded water quality, habitat and the fisheries in the central Indian River Lagoon estuary, causing a need for a massive restoration effort.

Canal 1 (C-1) is maintained by the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District to provide flood protection to more than 80,000 people. The canal carries soils, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and large volumes of freshwater from the historic St. Johns River floodplain eastward to Turkey Creek and into the lagoon. The canal lies within the Upper St. Johns River Basin.

The western two-thirds of Palm Bay is within the St. Johns River’s historic drainage basin. Prior to the 1920s, these swampy lands were separated from Turkey Creek and the lagoon by the Ten-Mile Ridge — an old sand dune system that served as a natural basin divide and upon which a portion of Interstate 95 was built.

The Ten-Mile Ridge was breached in 1922, and a 180-mile grid of 80 canals was dug to divert storm water to Turkey Creek. This canal system drained the natural wetlands for conversion to agricultural use.


The C-1, C-10 project area

The C-1, C-10 project area

The St. Johns River Water Management District and the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District have re-diverted a substantial portion of the C-1 drainage to a retention area west of I-95.

Storm water stored in the retention area is pumped into a wetland treatment system, known as Sawgrass Lake Water Management Area, before draining into the St. Johns River. The Sawgrass Lake Water Management Area provides the filtration needed to remove pollutants before water drains into the river.

The project:

  • Decreases soils and nutrients draining into Turkey Creek and the lagoon
  • Guards against rapid drops in lagoon salinity levels
  • Improves lagoon water quality, leading to increases in seagrass coverage and an enhanced recreational fishery
  • Protects a valuable commercial hard clam industry
  • Provides an opportunity to supplement Palm Bay’s water supply
  • Provides public recreational opportunities

With the first phase of the project complete, the second phase will be the construction of a 1,300-acre reservoir (to be known as the C-10 reservoir) to provide additional water storage and treatment.


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