Grills Seafood - Lakeside, Port Canaveral, Melbourne


with Matt Badolato

Indian River Lagoon Muck Removal Project

Muck removal near the mouth of Turkey Creek. Water clarity has significantly improved in the waters adjacent to Turkey Creek following muck removal.

Greetings from Brevard County Natural Resources Save Our Indian River Lagoon Program

Hey there fishermen and fisherwomen! This is Matt Badolato from Brevard County Natural Resources Save Our Indian River Lagoon Program.

My team and I are working on big things for lagoon restoration. Things like sewer repairs, clam aquaculture, shoreline restoration, fertilizer bans and more.

One of our biggest projects is MUCK REMOVAL.

Why did I capitalize it, you ask?

Because it’s a big problem.

As fishermen, I know you’ve seen muck before. It’s that black mayonnaise stuff on the bottom in stagnant areas. You’ve probably pulled some up on your anchor before. Or had to wade through a canal and sunk down to your knees.

Why is it such a problem?

Well, besides sucking off your wading booties, this stuff exudes nitrogen and phosphorous into the water which becomes food for ALGAE BLOOMS.

(Again, big problem, big capital letters)

When it gets stirred up by waves or boat wakes, it blocks light that seagrasses need to survive and grow. Many of our favorite fish depend of seagrass beds for food, cover, spawning, etc.

You know where this muck stuff likes to hang out—canals, around the causeways, marinas. And you’ve probably noticed that there aren’t a lot of fish on the bottom in these places. Sure, there will be tarpon, jacks, and snook higher up the water column, but a muck-covered bottom is devoid of oxygen.


You know, that stuff we breath.

Well, it’s important to a healthy bottom to sustain clams, shrimp and other bottom dwellers that are food for the drum, sheeps and forage fish like pins, pigs, and croakers. Bacterial and chemical processes in this black ooze actually zaps the life-giving oxygen from the water above it.

So, we want it out.

Space Coast Muck Removal on the Indian River Lagoon

De-watering muck which was removed from Turkey Creek. Yeah, definitely want to get this stuff out of the lagoon.

Our Muck Removal Projects

Our projects utilize different dredges to suck the muck layer off the sand below. Then the muck gets pumped to land for disposal. Once we remove muck it stops spewing nutrients into the water. We’re essentially cutting off this supply of algae bloom food.

We’re also experimenting with simply “capping” muck by spreading a thick layer of clean sand on top of it to prevent it from releasing nutrients or getting stirred up. This is only cost effective for deep pockets of muck and only desirable where it would not impede navigation.

Residents report seeing cleaner water in the canals in Cocoa Beach where the City of Cocoa Beach and Brevard County worked together to get the muck out and in the Indian River downstream of muck dredging in Turkey Creek, up the Eau Gallie River and near the Mims boat ramp.

We’re currently working in the Grand Canal system north of Satellite Beach and about to start muck removal in Sykes Creek near Kiwanis Island. We’re also seeking permits for muck dredging in priority areas out in the middle of the Indian River and Banana River.

To see a map of areas we’re pulling out muck, check out our interactive Story Map. You can also see other projects we’re planning or have already completed.

Stay up to date on the muck removal project with our interactive map.

Stay tuned for more Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project updates. Feel free to contact me at matthew.badolato@brevardfl.go with any questions or comments. We love to hear your lagoon stories as well.

Until next time,

BatCat Boats USA