The IRLNEP has funded a total of 22 projects for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that amount to $1,875,765 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.



Five projects totaling $287,419


Six projects totaling $222,777


Three projects totaling $760,000


Four projects totaling $605,569


Indian River County: Jones Pier Conservation Area

Project Cost: $61,000

This project will remove invasive plants and restore or create approximately 2.8 acres of open water and herbaceous estuarine wetlands and high marsh at the Jones Pier Conservation Area along historic Jungle Trail in Indian River County. A gate structure and solar pump will be installed to assist in mimicking tidal cycles and aiding water flow through the site. Estimated nutrient removal is 269 pounds per year of nitrogen and 124 pounds per year of phosphorus. The site will be monitored and maintained to insure successful establishment of native vegetation, and to maintain trails for public access and recreation.

University of Central Florida: Tomoka State Park Living Shoreline Stabilization

Project Cost: $37,847.00

Project will install a living shoreline along 1,000 meters of Tomoka State Park to prevent further erosion of the site and provide intertidal habitat and water quality enhancement. Approximately 3,000 native plants will be installed along with oyster shell bags that will be deployed to encourage settlement of oyster larvae at the site. Monitoring of the site will track changes in biodiversity, sedimentation rates, and growth of living shoreline. A minimum of 10 restoration events will occur in association with the project, and will produce approximately 800 hours of service from 300 volunteers.

FAU/Harbor Branch: Pilot-Scale Demonstration of Seagrass Restoration Using Nursery-Grown Halodule wrightii

Project Cost: $80,283.00

This pilot-scale project will coordinate agencies and citizen-scientist volunteers to develop infrastructure and technical capacity to successfully cultivate the seagrass Halodule wrightii in a closed, land-based aquaculture system.  Community volunteers and citizen-scientists will be utilized throughout the project to assist in monitoring, transplantation activities, and restorations. Donor seagrasses will be collected from healthy seagrass areas in northern Indian River Lagoon. Plants will be grown in culture and propagated to restore 3 sites where seagrass loss has been severe. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to develop the infrastructure, protocols and best practices that will allow eventual commercialization of seagrass aquaculture in order to insure  supplies of seagrass propagules needed to enhance IRL restoration projects.

FDEP Aquatic Preserves: IRL Shoreline Restoration Project

Project Cost: $52,452.00

IRL Aquatic Preserves staff, partners and volunteers will implement and update the IRL Shoreline Restoration Site Selection and Ranking Report and establish an additional 200 square meters of living shoreline along the IRL.  The project will continue to maintain and monitor previously restored sites to track growth rates and restoration success, and will monitor IRL populations of horseshoe crabs and promote stewardship for other IRL Species including diamondback terrapins, river otters and shore birds. An important component of this project is providing opportunities for public engagement and service learning through Adopt-a-Mangrove workshops and other events.  Approximately 1,300 hours of volunteer service will be utilized throughout the project.

Brevard Zoo: Restore Our Shores – Living Shorelines on Environmentally Endangered Lands

Project Cost: $86,120.00

This community-based restoration project will remove invasive species and trash from the restoration site at Maritime Hammock Preserve in Melbourne Beach, a property of the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. The site will be prepared and restoration will be conducted on a minimum of 800 linear feet of shoreline using both oyster reefs and approximately 1,800 native shoreline plants. The program will engage community volunteers to harvest and grow native shoreline plants, conduct site clearing and preparation, and install oyster reefs and shoreline plants. Approximately 1,500 volunteer hours are expected to be contributed during 20 community workdays and other events. When completed, the project will provide shoreline stabilization, water quality benefits through oyster filtration, and enhanced IRL habitat.

Grant-Writing Support and Capacity-Building for Local Governments

Project Cost: $50,000.00

Three consulting companies, each with expertise and experience in particular focus areas, will assist the IRLNEP with building capacity among the Program’s local government and community partners through identification of new revenue sources, research and grant-writing assistance. Consultants will identify grant opportunities and potentially new revenue sources for grant funding and work with IRLNEP staff to match opportunities to community needs. The service is provided at no cost to stakeholders.

Tetra Tech, Inc.: Technical Support and Data Management for IRLNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP)

Project Cost: $50,000.00

Tetra Tech, Inc. will continue to assist the IRLNEP with revision of the 2008 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). They will solicit and compile project information, prepare databases, research and write action plans, produce maps and other graphical elements, and coordinate with staff to solicit Management Conference input and public comment to inform a final version of the CCMP that will be used to guide Program activities over the next ten years.

Martin County: Willoughby Creek Stormwater Quality Improvement Project

Project Cost: $260,000.00

Project will construct 8.24 acres of deep, wet detention lakes and shallow Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) to capture and treat stormwater runoff from a 385-acre basin consisting of medium to high density commercial and industrial properties located along U.S. Highway 1. Project will be configured as a treatment train that will capture the first one inch of rainfall from the basin, which has been identified as the fifth largest contributor of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediments and copper to the St. Lucie River Estuary. When complete, the project will maximize storage capacity, attenuate stormwater runoff, and increase residence time of detained stormwater to achieve the highest possible pollutant load reductions.

City of Port St. Lucie:  McCarty Ranch Area 2 Dispersed Water Management

Project Cost: $300,000.00

This project will divert flow from stormwater and basin runoff from the C-23 Canal to the Area 2 location on the McCarty Ranch Water Farm. Area 2 is a 239-acre shallow retention basin constructed with above-ground berms and a static volume of 912 acre-feet. Upon completion, Area 2 will have the capacity to store 2,496 acre-feet of water annually. Nutrient reductions of 1,505 pounds per year of nitrogen, 1,928 pounds per year of phosphorus, and 50,873 pounds per year of suspended solids are expected.  Water quality at the site will be monitored monthly and reported on annually.

Indian River County: West Wabasso, Phase II, Septic to Sewer Project

Project Cost: $200,000.00

Indian River County will construct a gravity sewer system to service a mixed land-use area that has 88 residential parcels and 13 commercial parcels, all on septic systems. The majority of these systems were installed prior to 1983. The project area is a Department of Health Area of Concern and is financially disadvantaged. To encourage connection to sewer, the County will provide financial assistance to residential property owners and will require new development to utilize sewer connections where available. Nutrient reductions are estimated to be 3,131 pounds per year of nitrogen, and 505 pounds per year of phosphorus.

FAU/Harbor Branch and University of Florida: Harmful Algal Blooms in the IRL 

Project Cost: $80,892.73

In a joint effort, the University of Florida and FAU/Harbor Branch and their partners will deliver lagoonwide monitoring for the presence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Ten strategically located sites will be monitored two times each month for phytoplankton species composition, abundance, biovolume and biomass, and identification of HAB species. The University of Florida will monitor the northernmost 5 locations, while FAU/Harbor Branch will monitor the 5 southern locations. Data collected will be reported to the IRLNEP on a monthly basis. The combined data will be used to quantitatively model environmental drivers for HABs and can be used to inform efforts to manage for conditions that allow HABs to thrive.

University of Central Florida: Developing a Shoreline Restoration Suitability Model for North IRL and Mosquito Lagoon, Phase II

Project Cost: $117,546.00

This project is the second phase in development of a living shoreline suitability model to better conserve and restore shorelines and promote the efficient use of resources in restoration. Approximately 125 miles of the shoreline along Mosquito Lagoon and northern Indian River Lagoon will be evaluated to quantify current shoreline conditions, identify vulnerable shorelines, and prioritize restoration locations that will benefit from installation of living shorelines. Wave height and frequency will be characterized every 100 meters; habitat suitability metrics will be identified for the entirety of the study area; and a restoration suitability model will be produced to inform management and restoration efforts within the study area.

Florida Institute of Technology: Efficacy of Sediment Aeration as a Complement to Dredging in the IRL

Project Cost: $110,000.00

This is the second phase of an IRLNEP-funded study to determine whether sediment aeration is a viable technique for muck management. In this phase, the project will utilize a variety of nanobubble techniques in an attempt to more efficiently decompose the organic fraction of muck sediments. A direct comparison of the efficacy of muck dredging vs. muck aeration will be made in the same canal system over the same time frame. Monthly sampling of water and sediments will be made and analyzed to produce a scientific report detailing results and providing an objective assessment of the efficacy of muck aeration.

University of Central Florida: Microplastics, Oysters and the IRL

Project Cost: $99,797.00

Recent research shows that Mosquito Lagoon oysters contain high levels of microplastics in their tissues.  This project will initiate a coordinated effort to sample water, juvenile oysters and adult oysters in order to quantify the distribution and abundance of microplastics throughout the IRL watershed area and within established oyster reefs.  60 citizen-scientists will be trained in workshops to collect samples and will provide more than 300 hours of volunteer service to the project. Monthly sampling of 30 locations across the extent of the IRL will occur, along with quarterly sampling on 12 established oyster reefs. Two reports will be produced, one quantifying the abundance, distribution and extent of microplastics in the IRL environment, and another that investigating the effects of microplastics on juvenile and adult oysters in established reefs.

St. Lucie County: St. Lucie Water Champions Initiative

Project Cost: $28,026.00

Staff at Oxbow Eco-Center will coordinate the efforts of a variety of county departments and non-profit groups to better inform, educate and engage the public about ongoing lagoon health issues. Additionally, a number of clean-ups, demonstration projects, focus groups, and trainings for citizens will take place to assist the public in taking action to change personal behaviors and household to reduce personal impacts on lagoon water quality and health.

Florida Oceanographic: Florida Oceanographic Oyster Restoration, Education and Discovery (FLOORED)

Project Cost: $19,751.00

The FLOORED program will provide classroom and field experiences for students and adults in St. Lucie and Martin Counties to educate them about oyster reefs, the ecosystem services they provide, and their importance as habitat in the IRL. Approximately 150 middle and high school students will participate in the program, as well as one group of 25 adults. Participants will assist in creating 7 new sections of restored oyster reef in the IRL. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to instill a greater sense of stewardship for the lagoon while also providing opportunities for participants to engage in ecosystem restoration.

Pelican Island Audubon Society: Audubon Advocates – Changing Behavior to Improve Lagoon Habitats 

Project Cost: $25,000.00

Pelican Island Audubon Society will continue its Audubon Advocates program, a successful after-school program for youth and their families that provides classroom and field experiences that engage participants on topics of IRL ecosystem health, stewardship activities, sustainable behaviors, and lagoon protection efforts.  The program will enroll approximately 100 students in the after-school program and an additional 60 students who will participate in spring break and summer camps. Additionally, the program will continue to engage he 750 members of the Pelican Island Audubon Society with information, events and engagement opportunities that focus on changing behaviors to become increasingly lagoon-friendly.

IDEAS: IRLNEP Brand Engagement – The “One Community – One Voice” Initiative

Project Cost: $50,000.00

This project will develop and communicate strategic messaging to expand local community engagement with the IRLNEP, build upon the One Lagoon concept and succinctly articulate the activities and value proposition of the IRLNEP.  Included as aspects of the project is the development of short videos for CCMP action plan directives, strategic messaging to implement CCMP Priorities, define “lagoon-friendly” living and encourage the small behavior changes necessary for residents, particularly property owners, to live more sustainably and with lessened impact on the IRL.

Various: IRLNEP Small Grants Program

Project Cost: $50,000.00

The IRLNEP Small Grants Program is a public engagement effort vetted through the IRLNEP Citizens’ Advisory Committee. Through this program, small awards of $500 – $5,000 are granted to teachers, schools, community groups and civic organizations to implement lagoon-focused education projects or small restoration projects. The enhanced community engagement provided through this program will expand IRLNEP reach into communities and assist in multiplying the message of IRL stewardship to new audiences.

Various: IRLNEP Support for Symposia, Conferences and Events

Project Cost: $15,000.00

IRLNEP will continue to provide assistance to community partners in implementing symposia, conferences, events and workshops that align with Program objectives and goals. Expected events include the FAU/Harbor Branch IRL Symposium, IRL Envirothon, TechCon 2018 at Florida Institute of Technology, ABSPA National Coastal Conference, Restore America’s Estuaries Biennial Conference, IRLNEP Science Summits, and events occurring within the IRLNEP study area.