Grand Canal Muck Dredging Underway, 500,000 Cubic Yards Will Be Removed Over Next Four Years

By  //  December 29, 2019

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Part of a $27 million Indian River Lagoon restoration project that began in November

The Grand Canal muck dredging project is underway and 500,000 cubic yards are expected to be removed over the next four years. This project is part of a $27 million Indian River Lagoon restoration project that began in November.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Grand Canal muck dredging project is underway and 500,000 cubic yards are expected to be removed over the next four years.

This project is part of a $27 million Indian River Lagoon restoration project that began in November.

The project entails hydraulic dredging of the Grand Canal system from Pineda Causeway south to the north end of Samson Island.

Work includes muck removal from entrance canals entering from the Banana River and residential finger canals but excludes the canal between Port Royal Boulevard and St. Georges Court, which may occur later but not currently included due to manatee protection.

As part of this project, the County has conducted sediment sampling in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

These samples were tested for chemical constituents often found in dredged sediment plus a large suite of atypical analytes selected due to proximity to the military dump located in South Patrick Shores.

All of the canals within the Grand Canal Muck Removal Project Area have been investigated and determined to contain a significant amount of muck.

Test results support moving forward with dredging. The County has also developed a rigorous sediment sampling plan that will continue throughout the duration of the project.

All of the canals within the Grand Canal Muck Removal Project Area have been investigated and determined to contain a significant amount of muck.

Muck is considered a legacy load caused by decades of stormwater runoff, wastewater treatment facility discharges, septic system drain fields, and excess fertilizer applications.

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Muck is material on the bottom of the lagoon that contains fine-grained organic material; creates large areas that are not hospitable to seagrass, shellfish or other marine life; releases large amounts of hydrogen sulfide and nutrients into the water column that contribute to harmful algal blooms; creates turbid conditions that negatively affects seagrass growth and the benthic communities that it supports, and depletes oxygen in the water column that can result in fish kills.

The project is funded primarily through a Save Our Indian River Lagoon (SOIRL) 10-year half-cent sales tax approved by Brevard County voters in 2016, but also about $9 million in grant funds approved by the Florida Legislature for muck removal.

Work is underway with dredging expected to continue intermittently through spring 2023 due to seasonal manatee closures required by regulatory agencies.

Muck is considered a legacy load caused by decades of stormwater runoff, wastewater treatment facility discharges, septic system drain fields, and excess fertilizer applications.

The SOIRL half-cent sales tax has included other dredging projects that have either already been completed, are underway or are currently in the bid and/or permitting stages. They include:

■ Turkey Creek Muck Removal Project – Dredging was completed with state grant funds. The area was cleaned again with SOIRL funds after a hurricane moved muck in to the cleaned area. FEMA reimbursement for 87.5% of the SOIRL clean-up cost is pending.

■ Mims Boat Ramp Muck Removal Project – Dredging was completed December of 2018. Funded through the State grant. Additional nutrient removal was contracted with SOIRL funds.

■ City of Cocoa Beach Muck Removal – Phase III – Work underway. Dredging to be completed by end of 2019

■ City of Cocoa Beach Muck Removal – Phase IIb – Work underway. Dredging to be completed by the end of 2021

■ Sykes Creek Muck Removal Project – Phase I – Anticipated to go out to bid by the end of the year. Includes approximately 58,000 cubic yards of muck from residential canals and open water borrow pits just east of Kiwanis Island Park in Merritt Island.

■ Eau Gallie Causeway Muck Removal Project – Anticipated to go out to bid in early 2020. Includes removal of approximately 250,000 cubic yards of muck from areas adjacent to Eau Gallie Causeway.

■ Merritt Island District Two Muck Removal – FDEP permit issued. Anticipated to go out to bid within the next 6 months.

■ Titusville Railroad Bridge (East and West) – Field data collection underway. Anticipate submittal of permit applications to FDEP and USACE in early 2020. Regulatory authorization and bid advertisement anticipated by end of 2020.

■ NASA Causeway East – Field data collection is underway. Anticipate submittal of permit applications to FDEP and USACE in early 2020. Regulatory authorization and bid advertisement anticipated by the end of 2020.

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