PALATKA, Fla., Jan. 10, 2023 — Today, the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board voted to approve the execution of a $19.5 million contract to begin construction of the Crane Creek M-1 Canal Flow Restoration Project – a project that will significantly reduce the flow of nutrients into the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).
The M-1 Canal currently serves as a flood control canal, but over 100 years ago it was originally developed to redirect stormwater from 5,300 acres near the St. Johns River to the IRL. Along with the millions of gallons of water came thousands of pounds of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus – two nutrients known to contribute to algal blooms. Once complete, the project will restore the natural flow of the stormwater from the IRL back west, where the water will be treated in a stormwater treatment area prior to reaching the St. Johns River.
“The ability to significantly reduce the nutrients entering the system is essential to restoring the health of the lagoon,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register. “It is critical we continue to collaborate with our partners to identify, fund and implement these high priority projects.”
While the primary goal of the project is to reduce nutrient loading to the IRL, it has the secondary benefit of restoring 7 million gallons of freshwater flow per day to the St. Johns River, which can in turn be used for alternative water supply downstream.
Construction of the project consists of five elements:
- An operable control structure within the M-1 Canal, including weirs;
- a stormwater pumping station, located east of I-95 adjacent to the M-1 Canal along Coastal Lane;
- a stormwater pumping station, located west of the St. Johns Heritage Parkway;
- two sections of 24-inch diameter underground force mains exiting from each of the pump stations; and
- a stormwater treatment area west of the St. Johns Heritage Parkway.
The total cost for the project is $22.6 million, which includes the design and any necessary land acquisition. Funding partners include the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) who provided a grant for $2.03 million, Brevard County who contributed $2.45 million cost share dollars through its Save Our Indian River Lagoon program and $4.5 million alternative water supply funding from federal sources through the DEP.
To learn more about the Crane Creek M-1 Canal Flow Restoration Project, visit this page.
To learn more about how the St. Johns River as a water supply source, visit this page.