Cocoa Beach receives honorable mention in prestigious environmental program

December 19, 2018

Cocoa Beach 300x200Cocoa Beach’s Minutemen Causeway Stormwater/Streetscape Improvements project received an honorable mention in Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Program in November 2018. It was the only Florida project to be recognized.

The PISCES awards are given to projects showing a strong and innovative commitment to achieving sustainable water quality goals. The project was one of 30 clean water infrastructure projects honored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for excellence and innovation in the 2018 PISCES program. The City of Cocoa Beach began a transformative program to revitalize this popular tourist district that connects City Hall and numerous businesses to the beach. In conjunction with Mead & Hunt, the City has implemented improvements to its stormwater system as part of its Stormwater Master Plan. The Cocoa Beach-Minutemen Causeway Improvements project was identified as a project area in need of revitalization. The City seized the opportunity to include expansive stormwater quality features while improving the district’s appeal.

Joanie Regan, City Stormwater Program Director, has been instrumental in implementing both programmatic and capital project improvements to its stormwater system for improved lagoon water quality and flood protection through its Stormwater Master Plan. The City is very active in the Indian River Lagoon Basin Management Action Plan (IRL BMAP) interlocal-government partnership and local organizations involved in lagoon improvement and protection. Stormwater capital projects are focused on low impact development (LID) as a means of reducing storm runoff volume and pollutants, while protecting the barrier island freshwater aquifer against saltwater intrusion. Joanie managed the five grant programs that contributed the funds for construction of the Minutemen Causeway project.

Cocoa Beach is nestled between two sensitive environments—Atlantic Beach to the east, and the Banana River Lagoon, a section of the Indian River Lagoon, to the west. This precarious environmental position necessitated the innovative improvements to lagoon water quality and flood protection which ultimately gained national recognition. According to Andrew Giannini, Mead & Hunt’s construction project manager, “The project successfully reduces pollutants entering an environmentally sensitive area while simultaneously addressing flood risk and infrastructure integrity and sustainability within this highly traveled corridor.”

Not only does the project reduce pollutant flow to the Indian River Lagoon, it also adds aesthetic value to the community, which has shown an increase in visitors and has attracted new business to the area since completion.

As City Manager Jim McKnight asserts, “The environmental and community benefits of this needed project cannot be overstated. Mead & Hunt project manager Andrew Giannini provided excellent construction management service from bidding through final completion. Numerous difficult issues were negotiated and resolved, resulting in an amicable end for all parties.”