Soft Infrastructure

Using Natives to clean our Lagoon: 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, bioswales are vegetated channels that provide Photo_Flowerstreatment and retention as they move stormwater from one place to another, using different species of plants to slow, infiltrate, and filter stormwater flows. They are linear features whose length usually exceed their width and are deepened by several feet comparative to the average ground level around them, making them ideal for implementation along impervious City streets and parking lots.

Because of these abilities, bioswales are a quickly growing piece of critical green infrastructure for numerous cities across the country. In order to improve its own stormwater runoff and help mitigate effects of such runoff on the Indian River Lagoon, Satellite Beach began scoping and identifying possible locations within the City to implement such pieces of soft infrastructure in 2017 after the adoption of its Sustainability Action Plan. According to Green Achievement Target #20, the plan calls for designing and implementing soft infrastructure techniques to help control and filter stormwater runoff.

Using a grant awarded to the City of Satellite Beach in early 2018 by the National Estuaries Program (NEP), an EPA place-based program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance, City officials were able to move forward with this target, implementing the first of four new bioswale sites on a 600 foot section of median on Desoto Parkway between Jamaica Boulevard and Kingston Circle in April of 2018. With the help of dozens of citizen volunteers, Sustainability Board members, and City staff, over 6,000 Florida native plants were planted within a dug out swale (1 - 3 feet deep) running through the center of the road’s median. A complete listing of natives used can be found below, all of which were acquired from a company called Aquatic Plants of Florida. Just over 8,500 plants were purchased for the entirety of the City’s four planned bioswale projects.

  • Dune Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)       

  • Coontie Palm (Zamia pumila)        

  • Railroad Vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae)              

  • Horsemint Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)

  • Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)          

  • Marsh Hay Cordgrass (Spartina patens)

  • Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis)

  • Salt Grass (Distichlis spicata)

  • Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)

  • Sea Oats Uniola (Paniculata)

  • Sand Cordgrass (Spartina bakeri)

  • Golden Tickseed (Coreopsis tinctoria)

  • Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)

  • Swamp Fern (Blechnum serrulatum)

  • Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)

  • Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

  • Beach Morning (GloryIpomoea imperati)

  • Beach Elder (Iva imbricata)

  • Sea Oxeye Daisy (Borrichia frutescens)

In June of 2018 a second volunteer planting day was hosted by the City to help implement a second bioswale along 500 feet of shoreline bordering the eastern retention pond near the Satellite Beach Public Library. Like the first one constructed on Desoto, this second bioswale saw the planting of only Florida natives but also included the construction of a living shoreline, a vegetated shoreline meant increase wildlife habitat and reduce erosion. Over 1,000 species were planted in this second project, including Red Mangroves donated from the University of Central Florida and grasses from the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The third and fourth bioswale projects are going to be implemented within another median on Desoto Parkway and along the shoreline of the western stormwater pond near the Satellite Beach Public Library. Both of these locations should see plantings within the first and second quarters of 2019. After the completion of these four projects, the City will continue to scope and plan for new viable bioswale comptable areas as well as other soft infrastructure opportunities.

Photo galleries of the two so far completed locations can be found below.