M-1 Canal Flow Restoration Project

The M-1 Canal is a century old man-made flood control feature in Brevard County that cuts through the coastal ridge, diverting stormwater flow from 5,300 acres of the historic St. Johns River basin to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). The Crane Creek / M-1 Canal Project reduces nutrient loads to the IRL by treating and returning base flows and storm flows back to the St. Johns River. Reducing the nutrient load to the IRL is important because nutrients provide fuel for algal blooms–a problem for the IRL.

The M-1 Canal drainage basin includes portions of Melbourne, Melbourne Village, West Melbourne, and unincorporated areas of Brevard County.

Jones Edmunds conceived and designed the project for the St. Johns River Water Management District. The design includes an operable weir within the M-1 Canal located near the natural coastal ridge, a stormwater pump station, and a treatment area west of I-95. The operable weir – which allows capture of base flow and runoff for the pump station – is engineered to have no impact to the existing flood control capability of the M-1 Canal. To achieve this design mandate, the Canal will be widened at the location of the weir, and the weir will open when the Canal reaches a design high water elevation. The District will also open the weir prior to large, predicted storm events such as a hurricane.

The project will provide environmental benefits by reducing nutrient inputs to the IRL and a water supply benefit by restoring 7 millions of gallons of freshwater flow per day to the St. Johns River. The project removes 24,000 lb./yr. of nitrogen and 3,000 lb./yr. of phosphorus from the Indian River Lagoon.

The team members used a 3D model, created by Khizer Zaman, and project boards to detail the project to the community, local government, and the media at a public meeting in August. The District plans to use the boards in their presentation to the governor.

Team members from offices in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Sarasota, and Titusville are working on the project. Tasks include hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, civil design, mechanical engineering, GIS, water resources engineering, and permitting.

Construction on the project will begin in July 2020 with a completion date of June 2022.