Stop #1: Welcome to the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House!
This building is the culmination of a collaborative effort by multiple agencies that started more than 20 years ago under the leadership of Marine Resources Council’s Founding Executive Director Diane Barile and the vision of Ted Moorhead (in the center of the picture above), an MRC Board member.
In 1998, US1 was being expanded to six lanes and a retention pond was planned for here at Ais Lookout Point Park. Ted Moorhead saw this as an opportunity and believed that this site would be an ideal location for an environmental learning center. Dave White, a Palm Bay Grant writer, suggested that the National Scenic Byway program could potentially be a source of funding.
Starting in April 1999, the Scenic Highway corridor advocacy group formed under Marine Resources Council leadership with the goal of designating the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway. On June 13, 2000 the Florida Department of Transportation designated the IRL Scenic Highway and later National Scenic Byway status. The Lagoon House was to be the Welcome Center for the Scenic Byway. If you get a chance, you can enter the Lagoon House and watch a 15-minute video about the Scenic Byway.
Construction of the Lagoon House was made possible by several grants and began in late 2001. Construction was completed in 2004, right before our shoreline was hammered by three hurricanes: Charlie, Francis, and Jean. The hardened shoreline construction crumbled into the lagoon and the building was flooded. A new vegetated shoreline was proposed and planted and by April 2, 2005 the Lagoon House was ready to open to the public.
The Lagoon House serves as the home base of MRC, whose mission is to improve water quality and to protect and restore the fish and wildlife resources of the Indian River Lagoon, coastal waters, inshore reefs, and the watershed by advocating and using sound science, education, and the involvement of the public at large. You can become a member of MRC and join us in our mission. Go to our website to learn more.