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 Marine Resources Council leadership of Diane Barile and the vision of Ted Moorhead (in the center of the picture below), an MRC Board member.
In 1998, US1 was being expanded to 6 lanes and a retention pond was planned for here at Ais Point Lookout. 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 the leadership of Marine Resources council with the goal of designating the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway (shown on below). On June 13, 2000 the Florida Department of Transportation designated the IRL Scenic Highway and later the status of a National Scenic Byway. 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 be 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. https://savetheirl.org/
Now go north to the end of the patio to Stop #2, the mangrove nursery.