Sophia - Inspiration to Innovation

I have always loved the environment and the outdoors. Some of my favorite things to do, such as kayaking and snorkeling, involve the Indian River Lagoon. For as long as I can remember I have always loved exploring nature and being outside.

 

A couple of years ago I attended a science consortium where I came across a flyer from Florida Sea Grant (https://www.flseagrant.org/) about Indian River Lagoon Muck.

https://eos.ucs.uri.edu/seagrant_Linked_Documents/flsgp/Muck_fact%20Sheet.pdf

The flyer described a substance called Muck that is caused by the runoff of lawn fertilizers, grass clippings, sewage, and other pollutants.  Over time, Muck accumulates on the bottom of the Indian River Lagoon and suffocates plants and aquatic life.  To help restore the lagoon’s ecosystem, a project is underway to dredge all of the Muck from the lagoon.

I got the chance to speak with Matt Culver from the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department (http://www.brevardfl.gov/NaturalResources) and learned that there was so much Muck to remove, that they were running out of places to put it!  In the April 19, 2017 Health News Florida article entitled "Indian River Lagoon Clean-Up Poses Question: What To Do With The Muck?" (https://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/indian-river-lagoon-clean-poses-question-what-do-muck#stream), Mr. Culver explains that "there are over 5 million cubic yards of muck".  That's a lot of Muck!!!

 

 

Picture from Amy Green/WMFE and the article https://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/indian-river-lagoon-clean-poses-question-what-do-muck#stream

So that got me thinking, how could we get rid of this Muck?  Since the Muck comes from a saltwater lagoon, the high salt content prevents it from being re-used for any agricultural purposes. But what other ways could we use the Muck? When it dries out, does it solidify?  How long does it take to dry out?  

Could I conceivable use the Muck to build something? 

I think 3M scientists are motivated in similar ways that I was, learning of problems in the world around them and then using their creativity, innovation and science to solve them!