The IRLNEP has funded a total of 25 projects for the 2016-2017 fiscal year that amount to $1,685,665 in funding. Each project is unique in its own regard and focuses on lagoon restoration, science or research, public education and engagement, or nutrient reduction.



Eight projects totaling $426,325


Six projects totaling $295,237


Six projects totaling $675,862


Five projects totaling $288,241


Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Paul’s Island Living Shoreline Restoration Project

Project Cost: $7,042.00

The goal of Paul’s Island Living Shoreline Restoration Project is to establish a 100-meter long oyster reef breakwater and 2,700-square foot saltmarsh planting area on the north shore to provide long term protection for the island and habitats supporting local marine species and birds. This breakwater will dissipate wave energy, provide substrate for oyster recruitment, and protect the shoreline from further erosion. The resulting hard bottom habitat will support various marine species including fish and invertebrates. Once the shoreline is protected, saltmarsh grasses will be planted to prevent further erosion and provided additional habitat. Recycled oyster shell has been stockpiled and quarantined, and will be bagged by staff and volunteers. Saltmarsh grass used for planting by volunteers will come from a donor site in Volusia County.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Shoreline Restoration

Project Cost: $50,000.00

This project funds FDEP to continue restoring fringing mangrove habitat on public shorelines in the IRL and promoting public education and awareness of mangrove habitat and its benefits to local ecosystems. This will be accomplished by recruiting a network of volunteer support for service learning projects and activities.

Using the IRL Shoreline Restoration Project Site Selection and Ranking Report (SRSSRR), FDEP will identify and rank specific restoration sites. A minimum of two saltmarsh grass planting sites will be established along 200 square meters of shoreline in the IRL. The project work will also include the maintenance of all existing sites and collection of growth and survival monitoring data, which make it possible to create a history of each site.

Marine Discovery Center: Shuck & Share Oyster Restoration

Project Cost: $50,000.00

The Shuck & Share oyster recycling project is a critical component of successful oyster restoration efforts. Through the project, oyster shells discarded by 12 – 15 area seafood restaurants are diverted from landfills and used for aquatic habitat restoration. The project engages businesses, non-profits, state partners, community members, and academic researchers in collaborative efforts to rebuild damaged oyster reefs and create living shorelines.

This project will also train citizens and students to create a minimum of 1,000 oyster restoration units for deployment to shoreline habitats; provide educational and volunteer opportunities; conduct 3 events to provide outreach to the community; develop a curriculum for implementing 6 Living Shorelines workshops; and, create a page on to assist the community in supporting restaurants that participate in recycling oyster shell.

Brevard County: Shoreline Habitat Restoration and Management Plan – Phase I

Project Cost: $99,877.00

Brevard County, working with the University of Central Florida (UCF), St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and Brevard Zoo will develop a shoreline management plan that includes: (1) a shoreline survey of 175 miles of IRL coastline; (2) a wind and wave analysis; (3) GIS data layers that spatially represent shoreline conditions and features; (4) community engagement through an oyster propagation program; (5) installation of 1,180 linear feet of oyster reef living shoreline; and (6) a final report.

UCF will perform the shoreline assessment portion of the project. Brevard County will create an Arc-GIS map of 175 miles of shoreline to identify suitable areas for establishing living shorelines. SJRWMD will provide the modeling protocol for the wind and wave analysis. Brevard Zoo will engage the community in a citizen-based oyster gardening workshop program to raise juvenile oysters that will populate living shoreline oyster reef sites constructed during FY16-17.

Brevard Zoo: Restore Our Shores

Project Cost: $49,500.00

Brevard Zoo will work with Brevard County and other partners on an oyster restoration project to create and deploy a minimum of 500 oyster mats, and collect and foster a minimum of 5,000 native shoreline plants in Brevard County that will be deployed based on site and project needs.

Restore Our Shores is an expansion of Brevard Zoo’s community-based lagoon education programs. The oyster gardening program will recruit waterfront residents in Brevard County to grow live oysters from their docks in order to populate new oyster reefs built where former populations have been lost. The objectives are to work with Brevard County and partners on the oyster gardening project; to create and deploy a minimum of 500 oyster mats; to collect and foster a minimum of 5,000 native shoreline plants in Brevard County that will be deployed based on site and project needs. A minimum of 20 workshops for schools and the public will be conducted.

Indian Hills Habitat Restoration. St. Lucie River Issues Team Project

Project Cost: $25,000.00

Aerial photos show approximately 2.6- acres of IRL bottom scoured by the force of runoff released by the Indian Hills Stormwater Treatment Area. A well-placed oyster reef near the outfall will reduce the force of these releases, helping to recruit seagrasses and marine life that otherwise would not survive in this area. Sand accumulating along the western side of the reef will be used to create a living shoreline.

Project objectives are to enhance habitat for marine species; to stabilize the estuarine bottom and shoreline to prevent erosion and promote the recruitment and growth of mangroves, salt marsh vegetation and seagrasses; and to enhance juvenile habitat for fish. Volunteers will be utilized to transport and stage shell, construct reef modules, and deploy them at the site to maximize their effectiveness.

Martin County: Savannas Regional Restoration Project – Phase I

Project Cost: $100,000.00

Phase I of this complex, multi-phased restoration project will help define habitat restoration and hydrologic needs, water quality and flooding problems, and provide valuable information on possible solutions for the regional system.  The Phase I Evaluation provides information on how the system currently operates and where opportunities are available for optimized water operations, restoration needs, water quality improvements, and improved flood protection.  This information is essential to moving forward towards the design and engineering phases of the project.

IRLNEP: Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Revision

Project Cost: $44,906

The IRLNEP has issued an RFP for contract support to inform development of a revised Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The contractor will be responsible for developing a database of IRL restoration projects that are underway or proposed within 6 broad categories: 1. Stormwater projects; 2. Groundwater projects (including septic conversions and other groundwater remediation projects); 3. Muck removal projects; 4. Habitat restoration projects (including living shorelines, wetlands, seagrasses, filter feeders and filter marshes); 5. Education and outreach projects; and 6. Monitoring and research projects.

The contractor will also provide a synthesis of essential IRL data that will be incorporated into the revised CCMP and will assist with providing meeting facilitation and support for a minimum of 6 meetings. Support services include facilitating advisory committee and Management Board meetings, facilitating public workshops, providing meeting notes and preparation of post-meeting reports.

City of Edgewater: Boston Road Stormwater Improvements

Project Cost: $68,862.00

The City of Edgewater’s (City) stormwater utility will construct two stormwater management systems to treat runoff from a 9-acre watershed on Boston Road consisting of highway, commercial, multi-family residential, and single family residential land uses as well as a 4-acre watershed on South Riverside Drive consisting of highway, commercial, mobile home park, and single family residential land uses. Both areas currently discharge untreated stormwater runoff directly to the Mosquito Lagoon via overland flow.

The proposed non-point source management measure is the use of swales and exfiltration trenches to physically prevent nutrients and suspended solids from entering the Mosquito Lagoon. It is anticipated that construction of these Best Management Practice elements will reduce estimated pollutant loadings of Total Phosphorus by 10.0 lbs./yr. and Total Nitrogen by 72lbs./yr.

St. Lucie County: San Lucie Drainage Improvements – Phase 2 – St. Lucie River Issues Team Project

Project Cost: $200,000.00

The San Lucie Plaza Subdivision is located in unincorporated St. Lucie County north of Fort Pierce and comprises approximately 155 acres at the intersection of North 25th Street and St. Lucie Boulevard. The neighborhood contains approximately 250 single-family homes and duplexes. San Lucie drains into Taylor Creek and Ft. Pierce Farms Water Control District’s Canal 1, which flow into the IRL less than a half-mile away.

Construction for the project includes a 0.80-acre dry detention pond, storm drains along all roads within the phase and outfalls for Phase 1 and 2. In addition, drainage outfall pipes will be installed along Hugo Street in anticipation of future construction. Based upon this design, the system is expected to provide a pollutant load reduction of 90% to 95% for suspended solids, as well as 75 lbs./year of nitrogen and 11 lbs./year of phosphorus.

City of Sebastian: Sebastian Septic to Sewer Grant Incentive Program

Project Cost: $100,000.00

The City of Sebastian established a wastewater incentive program which offers any resident or business a $10,000 payment to remove an existing septic tank and hook-up to an existing sewer line within the City’s Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). The CRA is located mainly east of the FEC Railway within the northern and southern City limits. IRLNEP grant funding provides 50% of the incentive payment and is matched by 50% from the City.

Matching the IRLNEP contribution is the City’s implementation of an in-house storm water monitoring and testing laboratory to identify pollutant impacts to the Lagoon. The City has identified nine discharge locations where water samples are collected. Additionally, the City’s Environmental Specialist educates the community on the effects of elicit discharges, promotes the incentive program and provides public information via the web and print materials.

Cape Canaveral Scientific: FY 2016-17 Grant Writing Support for Local Governments

Project Cost: $60,000.00

Local governments have little, if any, staff support to dedicate to procuring grants to fund environmental restoration though they will incur the majority of CCMP implementation costs. To facilitate project implementation, the IRLNEP funds grants writing services as a method of supporting CCMP implementation. Support services include assessing projects and the capabilities of local governments, identifying and selecting appropriate funding sources, developing and submitting grant and cost-share funding applications and providing any additional follow-up information requested by the funding organization.

The grants writer will work with the IRLNEP Project Manager and selected local governments to prepare and submit a minimum of five grant proposals for funding and shall work among the region’s cities and counties to develop a comprehensive watershed projects listing that could be utilized in developing a revised CCMP throughout 2017 and 2018.

City of Vero Beach: Vero Isles Stormwater Retrofit – Permeable Pavement, Inlet Retrofit and Cured-In-Place Pipe

Project Cost: $122,000.00

This project will retrofit 52 existing stormwater inlets and 3,500 linear feet of drainage pipes within the Vero Isles residential subdivision, improving stormwater quality in a 56.33-acre basin.  Retrofits are estimated to reduce total nitrogen (TN) loading from 388 to 68 pounds per year; total phosphorus (TP) loading from 57 to 11 pounds per year; and total suspended solids (TSS) loading from 6,221 to 1,244 pounds per year.

City of Port St. Lucie: Veteran’s Memorial Park Stormwater Quality Retrofit – Phase I and II

Project Cost: $125,000.00

Project diverts stormwater runoff from a 1,050-acre residential drainage basin that currently discharges to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. Discharge control structures will be installed at existing outfalls and swales will be expanded upstream to provide additional wet detention and stormwater storage to reduce nutrient loads to the St. Lucie River Estuary.  It is expected that the project will remove approximately 3,976 pounds of nitrogen (TN) and 781 pounds of total phosphorus (TP) annually. Phase I and II did not require IRLNEP-appropriated funds. This funding remains available for future phases.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute: Modeling ecosystem dynamics in the IRL

Project Cost: $34,758.00

Project goals are to 1) understand ecosystem dynamics including nutrient cycles, phytoplankton-macroalgae competition, grazing controls, and seagrass dynamics, and 2) to investigate the potential impacts of climate change on the IRL ecosystem. A physical and an ecosystem model will be developed. The physical model will simulate physical conditions for the 2006-2015 timeframe to reconstruct the 2011 Superbloom and 2012 brown tide. An ecosystem model will be coupled with the physical model. This model will include nutrient parameters as well as four dominant types of phytoplankton (diatoms, dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria, and brown tide).

To understand the potential impacts of climate change, we will project future ecosystem state under various scenarios for 2020 and 2050. Four parameters will be considered, 1) temperature, 2) precipitation, 3) St. Lucie River and 4) Nitrogen loading due to population increase.

Smithsonian Marine Station: Bivalves at Work: Determining Effects of Oyster Reef Restoration on Water Quality in the Southern IRL

Project Cost: $29,400.00

The project will be undertaken jointly by Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) and Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS) to understand how salinity affects feeding behavior in two common bivalves (oysters and hooked mussels) to allow for better restoration site choices and selection of the more efficient species based on site conditions, with the long-term effect being increased success of restoration efforts in the southern IRL.

The project will assess the efficacy of restored reefs within the southern Indian River Lagoon and will be conducted in the field using filter feeding devices that allow filtration rates and absorption efficiencies to be calculated. Experiments will be performed across a salinity gradient and seasonally. Results will have management implications with regard to habitat restoration and freshwater inflow management. Project results will be shared via education and outreach events in St. Lucie and Martin Counties.

O.R.C.A.: Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Canal Study

Project Cost: $105,000.00

The goal of this scientific project is to identify three canals that are contributing significant pollution into the IRL – each in a different way (e.g. flocculation, nutrient loading, and algae blooms). Using data from their Kilroy systems, ORCA will map toxicity and nutrient pollution within approximately 1 square mile of where each of the three selected canals enter the IRL or St. Lucie River Estuary. Muck traps will be utilized to rank the canals based on the volume of muck entering the IRL and will characterize muck depth map for the study area of each canal. The results of this project will provide resource managers information they need to prioritize and focus mitigation and remediation efforts.

Martin County: Manatee Creek Technology Assessment Project

Project Cost: $100,000.00

Project provides a minimum of one year of monitoring and assessment for a denitrification bed and associated best management practices. A cost-to-benefit analysis will also be conducted. If successful, this assessment could provide significant habitat and economic benefits by increasing nutrient removal rates and efficiencies; reducing project footprints; reducing land costs; and ultimately, improving water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.

IRLNEP: Support for Science Symposia, Outreach, Technology Transfer, Workshops and Events

Project Cost: $19,083.00

Project provides program support to cultivate sharing of scientific knowledge, new technologies, and best resource management practices at regional, state and national levels. Program support will assist the IRLNEP in delivering more effective engagement, restoration and stewardship programs based on the best available science.

Marine Discovery Center: Project H2O Phase 2: Integrating Technology and the Project H2O Academy

Project Cost: $41,207.00

The purpose of this project is to continue to drive Project H2O collaborations and partnerships established during Phase I while expanding technological capabilities and establishing the Project H2O Academy. Project H20 will additionally create an adaptive management plan for the future of the northern IRL region, integrate technology to enhance data sharing capabilities among partners, and expand current outreach initiatives through the development of the Project H2O Academy. Partners in this program include local governments, environmental organizations, non-profits, colleges and universities.

Expected benefits from implementation of this program revolve around capacity-building and improving public awareness and knowledge. For example: Developing a watchful community of ambassadors through citizen science programs and the Project H2O Academy; increasing public awareness regarding water quality issues in the northern IRL; enhancing public awareness of exotic invasive species; fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide overuse; and, expanded public involvement in restoration, conservation and research activities.

City of Titusville: Educating Titusville: Developing a Living Shoreline Outreach Program

Project Cost: $12,000.00

The City of Titusville spans 33.5 square miles, including 14 miles of IRL shoreline. To improve the health of the Lagoon, attract ecotourism and reduce shoreline erosion, the City plans to establish an ecologically sustainable shoreline. However, the City owns just 7 of the approximately 255 properties sited along the Lagoon. For the shoreline plan to be effective, the City must engage and educate private property owners.

Titusville will utilize funding to educate residents on the benefits of living shorelines, the City’s shoreline management plan, and how to properly maintain their properties along living shorelines. Waterfront homeowners will be mailed notification about the City’s shoreline management plan. The City will develop a webpage for outreach and print materials for waterfront properties. They will also conduct a minimum of 1 homeowner workshop and complete an evaluation via survey of the effectiveness of their outreach.

Environmental Learning Center: Livin’ for the Lagoon Homeowner’s Association Education Program Expansion

Project Cost: $30,635.00

This Environmental Learning Center program educates board and committee members of Homeowners’ Associations with full day workshops that stress the use of native and Florida-friendly landscaping practices in HOA common areas as well as in residential landscapes and community golf courses. The goal of the program is to reduce pollutant and sediment loads to the Indian River Lagoon that originate from the many HOAs sited along the lagoon waterfront.

In addition to the focus on Florida-friendly landscaping, participants will be taken on a guided wildlife tour of the Indian River Lagoon and will tour HOAs that incorporate Florida-friendly practices in their community landscaping. Participants will also take part in monthly water quality monitoring of stormwater detention ponds in their communities.

Pelican Island Audubon Society: Creating a New, More Diverse Generation of Advocates for the Indian River Lagoon

Project Cost: $62,500.00

The Goal of this project is to inspire a younger, more diverse generation of advocates for the IRL by raising public awareness of the declining condition of the lagoon with a 5th Grade after-school program, elementary school conservation club, a gardening and trail-building program for at risk youth, and summer science clubs and camps. In addition, the project will reach new adult audiences and minority communities by leveraging parents and guardians of youth participating in after-school and summer programs. Other areas of focus include promoting sustainable behaviors, environmental justice, and the use of indicators in assessing IRL health.

Most programs will take place at Audubon House adjacent to the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area in Vero Beach and will be held in conjunction with the Florida Outdoor Center.

IRLNEP, Port Canaveral, University of Florida: Motivating Citizens to Action – Knowledge, Awareness and Behavior survey.

Project Cost: $100,000.00

The IRLNEP and Canaveral Port Authority, with contract support from the University of Florida, have partnered to develop a project to align all external communication activities of the IRLNEP with messaging to citizens on how to become more Lagoon-friendly in their personal behaviors and household habits.  The University has developed a survey instrument to evaluate citizen knowledge of the lagoon, levels of awareness and personal behaviors. The IRLNEP will develop a communications plan and workshop series around results and insights gained from the survey, with the goal of establishing and advancing a Lagoon-friendly ethic and a “One Lagoon” community perspective.

Marine Resources Council: IRL Health Assessment

Project Cost: $45,000.00

MRC conducted the IRL Science Assembly in January 2016 to gain scientific input and consensus on how to conduct an ecological health assessment of the lagoon. Four key areas were described for assessing the health of the system. These included: water quality, habitat/benthic quality, fish and shellfish abundance; and, wildlife abundance and health. Key indicators, metrics, and targets to be examined were described within each category and will be included only where adequate data exist.

A summary of methodology pros and cons will be written to initiate the 1st draft of a peer-reviewed journal article and a methodology paper outline. MRC will apply a dashboard approach to indicator comparisons, similar to the process used by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in developing their health assessment.