FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 10, 2016
DEP PROVIDES $1.1 MILLION FOR COMPLETION OF DRAA FIELD STORMWATER PARK
BENEFITING THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON
~Project improves water quality and provides flood protection~
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection provided more than $1.1 million in grants for the completion of Draa Field Stormwater Park in Titusville to help improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. In addition to providing treatment and nutrient removal, the stormwater park also provides recreational opportunities. The project was funded through a 2014-15 state legislative appropriation and an Environmental Protection Agency Water-Quality Restoration Grant.
"We are pleased to be a funding partner in this important restoration project to benefit water quality in the Indian River Lagoon," said Trina Vielhauer, director of the Division of Water Restoration Assistance. "Grants like these help us continue our commitment to protect and restore one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in Florida."
The Draa Field Stormwater Park features a 4-acre wet detention stormwater pond that discharges through a forested wetland, which provides additional treatment and nutrient uptake before water reaches the Indian River Lagoon. Upstream improvements include replacing undersized piping to improve flow and direction to the new park. Additionally, the park has a multi-use trail around the pond for public recreational opportunities, and serves as a trailhead for the Rails-to-Trails pathway adjacent to the site.
The city of Titusville recently celebrated the opening of the 7.5-acre park, which will improve water quality in the northern Indian River Lagoon by an anticipated reduction of 404 pounds of nitrogen and 87 pounds of phosphorous per year. The park will also provide flood protection for a 106-acre drainage basin that has historically been subjected to flooding.
"We are excited about this new park," said Sandra Reller, environmental compliance program manager for the city of Titusville. "Thanks in great part to DEP, we have another outdoor recreational space for residents and visitors to enjoy, which also enhances our community and improves our waterways."
The St. Johns River Water Management District also provided grant funding for this project.
“We know that reducing stormwater runoff into the lagoon is one of the most important measures we can take to improve water quality,” said Dr. Ann Shortelle, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District. “The Draa Field Stormwater Park Project embodies everything good that can happen when government agencies work together for a common goal.”
To further improve the lagoon’s water quality, the department is identifying additional wastewater and stormwater projects that reduce the amount of nutrients entering the lagoon and dredge projects that remove muck from the bottom of the lagoon, which also feeds algal blooms.
For this fiscal year, nearly $26 million from the "Florida First" budget will be invested in future water-quality improvement projects in the Indian River Lagoon, which includes a $21.5 million muck dredging project.