New stormwater park to reduce nutrient loading to Indian River Lagoon

A new $3.5 million, 121-ha (300-ac) stormwater park in South Brevard County, Fla., will help protect the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem by filtering runoff from a 8500-ha (21,000-ac) watershed and limiting pollutants from entering the St. Sebastian River, which feeds into the lagoon.

The Wheeler Stormwater Park includes a series of settling ponds with the capacity to prevent 7600 kg (16,753 lb) of phosphorous and 12,348 kg (27,223 lb) of nitrogen from entering the lagoon on an annual basis. The stormwater park replaces a canal system that previously conveyed untreated stormwater directly to the river.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is overseeing the project, which is financed by $1.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, $1.5 million from the Department of Transportation, and another $570,000 from Brevard County.

The stormwater ponds were completed last year, with the park improvements — including walking trails and kiosks — to be completed by December of 2016.

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