We know that restoring the Indian River Lagoon is a long-term effort requiring controls over hundreds of different sources dumping pollution into its waters.

Well, the Sherwood Park Stormwater Project is an important milestone along this path. It’s the 50th Save Our Indian River Lagoon (SOIRL) Project completed.

The Sherwood project consists of a set of several wet detention/retention ponds, rain gardens and a baffle box that will convert a rough empty lot to a beautiful community park. This $2.6 million project will prevent 3,214 pounds per year of total nitrogen (TN) and 879 pounds per year of total phosphorus from entering the Lagoon. 

The City of Melbourne identified the need for controls in its 2013 Master Plan, but proposed a single pond. The SOIRL Citizen Oversight Committee urged the city to be bolder and the Sherwood Project was created with $1.8 million from the Melbourne Stormwater Utility, Florida Department of Environmental Protection — $400,000, SOIRL — $392,000, and Space Coast Realtors Association — $25,000.

The rest of the “First Fifty” completed so far include a variety of controls across the county. Some of the biggest are:

Turkey Creek muck dredging and water treatment — 5,691 pounds per year in TN reduction

Cliff Creek baffle box — 4,095 pounds per year in TN reduction

Thrush Drive baffle box — 3,661 pounds per year in TN reduction

Cocoa Beach Water Reclamation Facility upgrade — 2,520 pounds per year in TN reduction

Others include septic upgrades and conversions, and shoreline protection, including 27,290 square feet with oyster reefs and 3,753 linear feet of planted vegetation. 

Together the “First Fifty” will reduce TN entering the lagoon by about 100,000 pounds per year.

Beyond these completed projects, the SOIRL Plan identifies more than 270 future and current projects including: new advanced treatment at the Titusville Osprey Wastewater Treatment facility (reduce TN by 8,660 pounds per year, under construction), dredging muck from the Grand Canal (reduce TN by 89,025 pounds per year, under construction) to a major mechanical aquatic vegetation harvesting project (reduce TN by 16,636 pounds per year TN, under review).

The full SOIRL plan, which is reviewed and updated annually, is available online at brevardfl.gov/SaveOurLagoon/Home