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Registration is open for the 2017 Citizens Academy. Come learn about your county in the coolest civics class you will ever take! Learn how the county develops a budget, paves roads, trains employees, maintains parks, cares for our natural resources, and so much more! You will have the chance to ask staff and department directors about their department--what they do, how they get it done, and what the future holds. Classes meet at various locations throughout the county for nine Fridays begining January 20 and ending on March 17. Class starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends no later than 3:00 p.m. Learn more by clicking the registration button below.
Brevard County Save Our Lagoon Project Plan
The following four fact sheets are a series of articles addressing components of the Brevard County Save Our Lagoon Project Plan. You can read the plan at Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department website.
Muck Removal in the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan
Muck is the result of human impact on the Indian River Lagoon. As human population and development has grown, freshwater runoff into the lagoon has also increased, carrying with it land-based sources of nutrients and pollutants. This runoff includes soil from erosion and organic debris from sod, grass clippings, leaves and other vegetation. Decomposing algae blooms also accumulate in muck. All of these sources over time contribute to muck which now covers an estimated 15,900 acres of the lagoon bottom in Brevard County. Read More.
Fertilizer Management in the Save Our Indian River lagoon Project Plan
The input of human-derived sources of phosphorus and nitrogen shifts normal plant production and the food web in the lagoon. The higher concentrations of available nutrients encourage the rapid increase and accumulation of algae, often resulting in a bloom. Read More.
Septic Systems in the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan
All septic systems must be regularly maintained to prevent build up and clogging of the drain field. If septic systems are failing or not maintained, are installed in porous soils, or are too close to the water table, they can become a large contributor of nutrients, bacteria, and other pathogens to the groundwater. Read More.
Living Shorelines and Restoration in the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan
Living shorelines rely on natural shoreline features such as plants, sand, rock and oysters to provide erosion control benefits while also preserving and restoring coastal habitat. Historically, Florida’s shorelines were stabilized with hardened, man-made structures such as seawalls and bulkheads, which have many harmful unintended consequences. Read More.
Recycle Landscape Debris
Hurricane Matthew blew through the county and created a large amount of yard debris. If there wasn’t so much at once…much of it consisting of large diameter limbs and tree trunks… it would be great organic matter to recycle! So, instead of taking all of your typical landscape debris out to the curb to be picked up and hauled off to the landfill, why not use it in your own yard? All yard debris is valuable organic matter that our sandy soils desperately need. Check out the following suggestions to see if there is anything new that you can do to keep your organic matter on your property! Read More!
Water Quality Monitoring in the Indian River Lagoon
Water quality has been a hot topic in our area, especially with regard to the Indian River Lagoon, for many years now. We often hear more about this term when news and events bring up various subjects such as algae blooms, seagrass loss, oyster restoration, fish kills, fertilizer bans, septic tanks, and freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee. More and more people are talking about water quality and want to learn more about the current water conditions in the Indian River Lagoon. Fortunately, there are actually many agencies with websites that show water quality conditions in our Lagoon. Additionally, many of these agencies have remote water quality stations that collect samples of water at various intervals during the day, and display real time data for what’s happening in the water. All you have to know is where to look. Read More.
Helping to Heal the IRL in a Few Small Steps
Unless you live under a rock, and I admit that sounds pretty good some days, you have heard about the challenges facing the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). Cleaning up the IRL will be no easy task. It will take a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of scientific research, and some major lifestyle changes. Yes, lifestyle changes. To save the IRL, we have to learn to think differently about our lawns and landscapes; we have to approach ordinary tasks such as washing our vehicles differently; and we have to all get involved in our community. Read More.
Agricultural BMPs Protect our Waterways
Did you know that according to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there over 145,000 acres of farmland in Brevard County? Our primary commodities are cattle, sod (we currently rank fourth in Florida), honey, and nursery/greenhouse crops. With all of that land in production, you may be wondering about the impact of agriculture on our water quality. That’s where Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) enter the picture. Read More.
Although the Zika virus is circulating in Central and South America and the Caribbean, currently, there is no evidence that local populations of Florida mosquitoes are infected. However, we need to be prepared and vigilant in case local transmission occurs, said Jorge Rey, professor and interim director of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL), in Vero Beach Florida.
Roxanne Connelly, an Extension medical entomology specialist with FMEL, part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, says:
- People need to do all they can to manage the mosquitoes most likely to be involved in Zika virus transmission in Florida if the virus shows up in local mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are among those known as “container mosquitoes” specifically, the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus.
- Initial measures include getting rid of containers in your yard or outside your business, because they collect water and become perfect habitats for immature stages of these mosquito species. These include tires, wheel barrows, potted plants that sit on saucers, cans, bottles and more. You should inspect your yard weekly to make sure you don’t have any containers. Bromeliad plants and bird baths also can house container mosquitoes, Connelly said. For these types of mosquito habitats, they can be flushed with clean water weekly, or can be treated with mosquito-specific Bti granules (Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Bits).
- Inspect windows and doors for hole and tears and repair them to exclude mosquitoes.
- Mosquito repellents should be used when people plan to be outdoors at the time mosquitoes are biting. The longest lasting repellents contain DEET and picaridin. Whatever type of repellant you use, read the label to make sure you’re putting on a product registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
My Brevard Yard Workshops
Sign up for the My Brevard Yard Workshop and learn how you can have a healthy lawn and protect our waterways!
One or three-hour workshops are available. Longer workshops are great for municipalities, homeowner associations, and other large groups. Call 321.633.1702 x 222 or Email to schedule a group workshop.
Soil Testing Information
Use these forms to send samples to the UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
Call a Master Gardener
You can do your part to protect water quality by following a few simple steps toward making your yard Florida Friendly. For help with your lawn and landscape, call or email a Master Gardener at 321.633.1702.
Soil and Water Conservation District
The Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District assists farmers and ranchers with applying Best Management Practices to their operations.
Contact Dave Millard at 633-1702 x241 or email Dave Millard for assistance.
We are developing a teaching and demonstration garden right here at the UF/IFAS Extension office. Learn how you can help.