St. Johns River Water Management District News Release
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CONTACT:
Hank Largin:(407) 659-4836 (Office) or (407) 832-3703 (Cell)
 hlargin@sjrwmd.com

Board approves project expansion to help protect lagoon

PALATKA, Fla., March 12, 2014 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board has approved expansion of a stormwater park in southern Brevard County that will improve the quality of water flowing into the Indian River Lagoon.

The 300-acre Wheeler Stormwater Park is being constructed in multiple phases and features a series of stormwater ponds and restored wetlands that will capture pollutants that have historically flowed directly into the lagoon. Additionally, a future recreational park is planned for the property that will include trails around the stormwater ponds and wetland areas. An emphasis has also been placed on saving existing trees and creating a park environment.

The property is bisected by the Sottile Canal, which receives storm water from a 21,000-acre residential and farming area and discharges it into the north prong of the St. Sebastian River -- a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon.

The Board's action on March 11 expands a pond being constructed as part of Phase I of the project from 15 to 23 acres. The pond will receive direct discharges from the Sottile Canal and will serve as the primary sediment collection area for flows from the canal to the St. Sebastian River.

"This is an excellent opportunity to provide additional treatment of surface water flowing into the Indian River Lagoon," said William Tredik, director of the District's Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative. "It is a positive step in reducing nutrients and sediment inputs to the lagoon."

Construction of the stormwater park is an approximate 4-year project that is expected to be completed in 2016. The project is a partnership among the District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Transportation and Brevard County.

Also included as part of the stormwater park was restoration of the Herndon Swamp slough system. This restoration work -- initially started in 2011 -- included recontouring land adjacent to an existing agricultural ditch, which drained Herndon Swamp to the Sottile Canal, and created a 20-acre restored wetland slough across the Wheeler property, providing treatment of runoff prior to discharge into Sottile Canal.

Visit floridaswater.com/itsyourlagoon for additional information about the District's Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative, a multi-year program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological habitat of the lagoon.