The IRLNEP has funded a total of 19 projects for the 2015-2016 fiscal year that amount to $1,333,568 in funding. Each project is unique in its own regard and focuses on lagoon restoration, technology, public education and engagement, infrastructure, or science and research.



Seven projects totaling $287,037


One project totaling $32,000


Six projects totaling $675,862


Four projects totaling $269,158


Six projects totaling $675,862


University of Central Florida: Preparing Titusville for the Future: Shoreline Management Plan and Shoreline Restoration Pilot Project

Project Cost: $40,610.00

UCF is assisting the City of Titusville in conducting a shoreline vulnerability assessment along the 14 miles of shoreline owned by the City. This assessment includes field data collection, analysis of historic information, and wind and wave modeling. From these data, a shoreline management plan will be developed that features living shorelines as its central theme. Community volunteers will assist in the construction of a living shoreline demonstration site at a City-owned park. The completed plan will be used to identify and implement environmental enhancement opportunities as the city’s existing shoreline is developed or re-developed.

Brevard Zoo: Restoration/Monitoring of Oyster Reefs in the Indian River Lagoon

Project Cost: $69,375.00

This project provides funding for the Brevard Zoo to continue monitoring previously restored reefs in Mosquito Lagoon. Brevard Zoo staff also will partner with citizen volunteers to create oyster reefs in test locations where there was no historical oyster footprint. Five experimental treatments at selected locations will be monitored to determine the most efficient and cost-effective methodology for oyster restoration.

City of Sebastian: Oyster Restoration Project

Project Cost: $24,000.00

The City of Sebastian Natural Resources Board, community volunteers and students will be restoring oysters along the shoreline of Indian River Drive to effectively filter nutrients, algae, bacteria, fine sediments and toxins from the Indian River Lagoon. The City will monitor water quality at the site for one year to quantify nutrient reductions. They will also monitor the restoration site to ensure that all materials remain as placed.

Friends of Spoil Islands: SL-3, Limited Mobility Accessible Campsites

Project Cost: $25,000.00

Two campsites located on SL-3, a spoil island used for recreation in St. Lucie County, will be made accessible for limited mobility users through installation of beach access mats that allow visitors in wheelchairs and other devices to traverse safely while on the island. Volunteers will conduct site preparation and installation of the mats to allow best use of the locations. Educational signage will be placed and volunteers will monitor the island for damage that may result over time.

St. Lucie County: Wesley’s Island Native Planting Project

Project Cost: $15,000.00

Wesley’s Island (SL17) is a 7-acre conservation spoil island in the Port of Fort Pierce, located between the north and south Hutchinson Island Causeways. The island attracts an abundance of wildlife, particularly birds. It also plays a critical role in the county’s ecotourism industry, providing opportunities for passive recreation and wildlife viewing. To enhance habitat on
the island, project funding removed 4 acres of invasive plants and engaged volunteers in a massive effort to replant the island using native species.

Florida Oceanographic: Seagrass and Shoreline Restoration Program

Project Cost: $60,000.00

Oyster and seagrass restoration are essential to IRL health. Florida Oceanographic and its volunteers constructed and deployed oyster shell bags for use in 5 shoreline restorations. Volunteers collected seagrass fragments and maintained them in a nursery facility until they could be planted in 4 locations. Volunteers also monitored restored sites to document oyster and seagrass recruitment. They additionally performed surveys and created maps to identify new sites as potential restoration targets.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Indian River Lagoon Shoreline Restoration Project

Project Cost: $53,052.00

The Shoreline Restoration Project will re-establish fringing mangrove habitat on public shorelines along the Indian River Lagoon while promoting public education and awareness of mangrove habitat and its ecosystem benefits. A network of volunteers support service-learning activities (i.e. monitoring mangrove survival and canopy volume at existing sites, site maintenance, and restoration plantings of mangroves and other saltmarsh vegetation). The work will enhance natural recruitment to restoration sites.

Brevard County: Channel Denitrification Treatment to Reduce Nutrient Loading to the IRL

Project Cost: $32,000.00

This project in Brevard County will remediate a ditch that continuously discharges groundwater and seasonally discharges storm water to the IRL. The project creates a bioreactor that is estimated to remove over 97% of nitrates from water. The bioreactor medium will be mixed with crushed concrete that can bind 46% –100% of the phosphorus in water. This project is estimated to remove about 34.5 pounds of nitrogen per year from the IRL.

IRLNEP Event & Conference Sponsorships

Project Cost: $6,200.00

The IRLNEP provides program support and sponsorship of events and science symposia that improve citizen knowledge and appreciation of the Indian River Lagoon. In FY 2015-2016 the following programs received support:

  • 4th International Mangrove & Macrobenthos Meeting (MMM4), a scientific meeting addressing ecological issues ($2,500).
  • American Assembly, coordinated by the Marine Resources Council, which addressed issues of IRL health and restoration ($2,500).
  • IRL Envirothon, a regional competition for middle and high school students that is part of the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon, the largest outdoor environmental competition in North America ($1,200).

Indian River State College: Novel Optical Techniques Utilizing Drones to Characterize Water Quality in the Indian River Lagoon

Project Cost: $45,000.00

The goal of this project is to demonstrate how drone technology may be an effective, low-cost solution to real-time monitoring of environmental conditions in the Indian River Lagoon. In the first phase of this project, optical techniques to characterize environmental conditions will be developed in a laboratory setting. These will be tested under real-world conditions and refined as needed. This project employs techniques to automate drone software and the user-interface for data visualization, as well as determining exact coordinates for locations studied.

City of Stuart: St. Lucie Basin Septic to Central Wastewater Collection

Project Cost: $485,000.00

The St. Lucie Sewer Basin project diverts septic effluent from entering canals along the St. Lucie River in the City of Stuart’s water and sewer service area. The project expands sewer services by utilizing a low-pressure system having individual pump stations. It will provide septic to central wastewater collection to 202 residential customers, a golf course and clubhouse.

Volusia County: Wilbur by the Sea Drainage Improvements Project

Project Cost: $80,000.00

This project provides stormwater treatment for an 18-acre drainage basin that currently discharges untreated stormwater runoff into the Halifax River. The project will:

  1. Reduce the discharge of stormwater
  2. Reduce sediment and nutrient discharge to the river via a nutrient-separating baffle box and nutrient-reduction media filter fabric

St. Lucie County: Paradise Park Stormwater Project – Phase 5

Project Cost: $125,000.00

Paradise Park is a residential subdivision located in Ft. Pierce that impacts two drainage canals. Since 2005, St. Lucie County has made significant progress on stormwater improvements at Paradise Park. The project is designed to treat runoff with dry detention ponds and swales. Based upon its design, the improvements will provide an estimated pollutant load reduction of 90 – 95% for suspended solids and 65% for phosphorous and nitrogen. This phase of the project will treat 48.7 acres of the subdivision.

Cape Canaveral Scientific: Grant Writing and Capacity Building Through Grants and Proposals to Support the IRL CCMP

Project Cost: $60,000.00

This long-standing IRLNEP support-services project provides grant development services to local governments tasked with implementing the Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The contractor, Canaveral Scientific, assists local communities in developing and submitting proposals for federal, state or local funding to implement pollution reduction projects. Projects selected for development utilize innovative stormwater treatment and technologies to remove 50 – 90% of the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and sediments in drainage discharges.

Marine Discovery Center: Project HO – Promoting Healthy Habitat through Outreach

Project Cost: $50,700.00

The project promotes healthy IRL habitats through outreach and citizen engagement in Volusia County. Ten academic, governmental or non-profit institutions signed on as partners in this effort to involve residents in education, citizen science, habitat restoration and other efforts that benefit the Indian River Lagoon.

Brevard County: Today’s Leaves and Grass Clippings – Tomorrow’s IRL Muck

Project Cost: $11,000.00

This demonstration project engages high school students in laboratory experiments using leaves, grass clippings and yard wastes from their homes to demonstrate that nutrients increase when plants are allowed to decay in water bodies. Grasses, fallen leaves, and other plant materials collected by the students will be placed into containers with filtered stormwater from a retention pond. Students will monitor containers for up to 180 days and send water samples to a laboratory for analysis at regular intervals.

Marine Resources Council: Be Floridian in the IRL

Project Cost: $53,000.00

This project encourages the proper use of residential fertilizers through a media campaign that is expected to reach 500,000 people. The project leverages the success of the “Be Floridian” education campaign created by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program on Florida’s west coast. A task force of partners will produce and distribute educational materials and conduct a lagoon-wide media campaign shared through print, radio and social media platforms to encourage sustainable behaviors and remind residents and businesses to reduce fertilizer use.

Marine Resources Council: IRL Education

Project Cost: $69,162.00

In FY 2015-2016, the Marine Resources Council administered the IRLNEP education program, organized a four-day summer workshop for teachers, coordinated a photo contest and
produced the annual IRL Calendar. The contractor distributed IRL information to the community at numerous environmental events and public speaking engagements. In addition, IRLNEP funded development of the first phase of an environmental health assessment for the IRL.

St. Lucie County: Lagoon Life Education Program

Project Cost: $29,469.00

This St. Lucie County and University of Florida Extension Services (UF/IFAS) program educates 3,000 middle and high school students, as well as their families and communities, about what they can do to preserve the fragile ecosystem of the Indian River Lagoon. “Lagoon Life” is a multi-disciplinary program that integrates teaching about ecosystems, natural resource management and civic responsibility. Each of the educational sessions is designed to encourage critical thinking while enhancing environmental knowledge.