Ribbon Cutting Wednesday For New Stormwater Project

By  //  July 31, 2012

Will Curb North Merritt Island Flooding

BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Brevard County and the St. Johns River Water Management District have completed a massive stormwater project on the North end of Merritt Island.

County Commissioner Chuck Nelson will participate in a ribbon cutting for a new stormwater project on Merritt Island on Wednesday. (Image courtesy Brevard County)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marking this interagency accomplishment will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Pine Island Conservation Area (PICA) entrance at the end of Pine Island Road, Merritt Island.

The multifaceted project has several direct benefits — large diesel pumps and weirs will reduce flooding on North Merritt Island, the lake will filter stormwater before being released into the Indian River Lagoon, wetlands have been restored, and additional recreational opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing have been created.

The 950-plus acre Pine Island Conservation Area was purchased in 1996 by Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program and the St. Johns River Water Management District. The site had two large existing borrow pits, which have been reconfigured to serve as water treatment reservoirs.

About 6,000 acres of untreated stormwater runoff from residential and agricultural land drain through the Judson Canal drainage ditch into the Indian River Lagoon. This project was designed to improve water quality treatment and reduce the duration of flooding on North Merritt Island.

The PICA Stormwater Improvement Project was divided into two construction phases: Phase 1 include the expansion of an existing 73-acre borrow lake north of Pine Island Road into an 80-acre stormwater treatment system, construction of a diversion structure, to force stormwater runoff from the Judson/Pine Island canal into the north borrow pit, and an outfall weir to release treated water levels to the north lake. The borrow lake perimeter berms were constructed to maximize the storage.

Recreational amenities include a kayak/canoe launch and small parking area. The county received $950,000 in grants from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection toward this $1.6 million Phase 1 funding.

Phase 2, the south borrow pit, will be expanded from 23 to 26 acres, with berms regraded and raised, and the remaining two large pumps installed to pump water from the canal into both lakes. Wetland restoration work will be completed in both phases. FDEP will reimburse the county up to $800,000 for the estimated $1.5 million Phase 2, which is scheduled to begin in late 2012 and completed by spring 2014.

Officials expected to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony are Chuck Nelson, District 2 County Commissioner; Ernie Brown, Director of Brevard Natural Resources Management Office (NRMO); Robbyn Spratt, Project Engineer NRMO; John Denninghoff, Director of Public Works; Jack Masson, Director Parks and Recreation; Scott Taylor, Central Region Land Manager, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, John Juilianna, Manager, St. Johns River Water Management District; and Jim Seavy, Seavy Construction.

The ceremony is open to the public, and will be followed by a brief tour of the lake and stormwater facilities.