Decades of runoff make Eau Gallie River a mucky mess

Published online: Oct 12, 2010 News Jim Waymer -
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Even paddles and pontoon boats get stuck in the muck that a half-century of runoff washed into the Eau Gallie River.

Each failed try to float a boat to the Indian River Lagoon dredges up old frustrations about a project that's run aground for more than a decade.

"We've all had a lot of promises over the years," said Thomas Chapman of Thomas Barbour Drive. "It gets worse and worse. All the good wildlife we've seen here for years is just gone. It's kind of an ecological tragedy."

He and neighbors want their cash-strapped city and state government to pool funds to dredge the river and creek back to life.

They admit their boating lifestyles would benefit. But they also yearn for a cleaner river, with more mullet jumping and a return of the dolphins and manatees of yesteryear.

"It's just sad because we used to have dolphins, all kinds of manatees," said Amy Herrell, who's lived just down the road from Chapman since 2005. Now, it's mostly just turtles poking around in the muck. "We just want it to be back to a natural estuary."

Chapman's been handing out and mailing letters to rally neighbors to the cause. They've rallied before, in 1996, but no dredge ever came - just more muck.


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