PALM BAY, Fla., June 22, 2017 — Only four months after dredging began, approximately 125,000 cubic yards of muck have already been pumped from the Eau Gallie River in Melbourne. The river is a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon.
“It’s amazing to think that decades of accumulated muck have been removed from the bottom of the Eau Gallie River in a matter of months,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This project has been moving full bore. Dredging has an immediate and direct impact on water quality in the Eau Gallie River, the fish and wildlife it supports and the people who live on or enjoy the water for recreation.”
When the project wraps up by late 2018, at least 632,000 cubic yards of muck will be removed. Muck is a mix of fine-grained sediments, sand, clay and organic matter in untreated stormwater runoff that drains to canals and storm drains connected to tributaries in the lagoon, including the Eau Gallie River. Muck can accumulate nutrients that contribute to algal blooms and create detrimental conditions for seagrasses and organisms vital to the lagoon’s aquatic food chain.
Funding partners include the Department of Environmental Protection, which is providing $20 million approved by the Florida Legislature in 2014 and 2015; Florida Inland Navigation District, which contributed $3.9 million toward project design, permitting and construction of a Dredge Material Management Area (DMMA); and the city of Melbourne, which contributed $50,000 for the initial feasibility study.