BREVARD COUNTY, Florida — Brevard County Commissioners will open a bid to any marine contractor that can do a big job over the next several years.

  • Commissioners trying to get much removed from Grand Canal
  • Leaders are soliciting proposals from contractors to clean it up
  • Commissioner Jim Barfield: Progress won't happen overnight

Officials are hoping the Grand Canal will once again be a place where wildlife can flourish, but the muck at the bottom of the Indian River's been killing marine life by removing much needed oxygen.

“It eliminates any oxygen, fish need oxygen, crabs and clams, if there’s muck nothing can live,” explained Leesa Souto, Marine Resources Council Executive Director.

The county is soliciting proposals for marine contractors to bid on removing the Grand Canal muck but it's not a small task.

Approximately 479,000 cubic yards of muck needs to be dredged, dewatered, and disposed of at the county owned parcel.

Staring this year until 2021, the county will have about $26 million for the project; some is coming from a state grant, but the rest is coming from the lagoon trust fund.

Commissioner Jim Barfield is warning residents that progress will not happen overnight and to be patient.

“Since 2016 we put the tax in place to get the revenue. You can’t undo 50 years of neglect in one year. It going to take about 15 years to clean up,” Barfield said. 

Once a bid is approved, which should be within the next 60 days, it will take up to six months for the dredging to begin.

Since moving to his waterfront property about 30 years ago, Royce Colby's noticed the canal behind his house is getting murkier as the years go by and also a lot of the marine life is gone.

“Daily swimming groups of dolphins, manatees, gators. They still come but not as often,” he said.

After finding out that after a couple of years collecting the necessary funds to begin the bid for the Grand Canal dredging project, he's confident the Indian River Lagoon will be restored.