Growing Problems Loom For Brevard County’s Indian River Lagoon
Thinking about the lagoon… A recent hydrologist’s report on artificial flushing has us thinking! It looks to our untrained minds like some of the flushing options will work. But what are the consequences of possible increased salinity or just increased water flow?
Here is access to the St John’s Water Mgmt. report:
Some cliff notes for those not interested in reading the report:
Computed flushing results for existing conditions were similar previous studies, showing that that the southern portion of the Mosquito Lagoon and the Banana River are poorly flushed at time scales of several months or more. The Titusville area of the IRL also remained poorly flushed in model simulations of existing conditions.
The most improved flushing rates and extent resulted from adding either a tidal inlet inlet or pumping station connection to the coastal ocean across narrow sections of the barrier island. A narrow tidal inlet or pumping station located in the south compartment of the Mosquito Lagoon produced complete flushing of the lagoon and north compartment of the IRL (Grid 1) within 70 days or less. A tidal inlet across the South Cocoa Beach barrier island also substantially improved flushing of the Banana River included in Grid 2. Opening the water locks at Port Canaveral also improved flushing but at a somewhat slower rate. This is attributed to the long conveyance channel between the Port entrance and the Banana River, which may dissipate tidal energy to a greater degree than a shorter inlet connection. Widening of Sebastian Inlet to about twice the width at the throat section did not noticeable improve either the rate or extent of flushing in the IRL.
According to a response from former County Commissioner and current Brevard Clerk of Court, Scott Ellis: “Cocoa Beach already did an unlawful tax increase last year and needs to stop crying for other people’s money. Municipal Sewer systems are paid for by the users, State and Federal money should not be used, and it is unfortunate the cities are asking for more money to cover what they have failed to do for a few decades. The $1.39 billion figure is a deliberately impossible number thrown out to cloud the situation. Compared to $1.39 billion no local taxation comes close, so does it mean just throw in the towel and surrender? Shockingly, of whatever is needed for take care of the alleged $1.39 billion of nitrogen there just may be some lower hanging fruit which may be accomplished with whatever funding and actions are done. I highly doubt the solution to the $1.39 billion is linear.”
Maybe if local government quit skimming their utility revenues they’d not be ‘freeing up’ operational funds by adding another penny tourist tax for their municipal backlogs.
Cocoa Beach Mayor Malik responded, “I prefer to listen to scientists over politicos, Tampa Bay and Chesapeake Bay are perfect case studies of how waterways can get cleaned up. . FYI, Cocoa Beach has invested over $30MM in sewer plant upgrades via Florida’s State Revolving Fund, over $3MM in relining of 50 year old clay sewer pipes. Both Ocean Beach Blvd and Minutemen improvements were storm water projects to reduce runoff to the waterways, muck dredging projects are ongoing. IRL council is putting together a long-term plan to cure this problem hopefully the politicians will support real science.”
So, is the answer to flush? For goodness sake it is what the wildlife seems to need right now. Incrementally introduce fresh seawater into the lagoon? Create an inlet? Open the locks? What we do agree on is that something needs to be done.