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Brevard commissioners OK dredging spoil site in scrub jay sanctuary

County swaps land with state, residents raise concerns

GRANT, Fla. – Brevard County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to swap county land with state land inside a sanctuary for Florida scrub jays.

Now, plans appear to be moving forward with building a new dredging spoil site for muck from the Indian River Lagoon.

The commission chairman acknowledged the polarization of the topic.

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“That was probably one of the most profoundly uncomfortable votes we’ve had in a long time,” Commissioner Bryan Lober said. “I do feel bad for the folks that live there."

Commissioner Kristine Isnardi said the exchange will likely affect property values.

The land swap means a muck pit could be lot a lot closer to Gary Cameron’s yard.

There’s also concerns about the smell and for wildlife. Cameron showed News 6 a bald eagle’s nest.

Supporters of the deal said environmental studies show building the muck pit here is the safest option.

“It will put better scrub jay habitat under your EEL [Environmentally Endangered Lands] program than you have today, and we will be able to continue and do our function and maintain the Atlantic intracoastal waterway,” Florida Inland Navigation District Commissioner Jerry Samson said.

Opponents believe the muck should go to one of the county’s other dredging sites.

“Why not use what you already have?” Cameron asked, referring to a spoil site in Palm Bay. “If the scrub jays are so important, which they are because they’re going extinct, why not leave both properties alone?”

Lober said the decision was a no-win situation for either party.

Cameron said he has not heard when development will start.


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