Funding Secured for Indian River Lagoon Protection

In an effort to continue reducing pollutants reaching the Indian River Lagoon system, the city of Rockledge has secured funding assistance from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The funding will be used to remove 143 septic tanks and to construct and install a lift station and sewer force main.

“The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most unique and treasured ecosystems in the world and its protection and restoration is a top priority,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “This project is another step in the right direction for returning the lagoon to its natural condition.”

The Indian River Lagoon is a diverse, shallow-water estuary stretching across 40 percent of Florida’s east coast from Ponce de Leon Inlet in Volusia County to the southern boundary of Martin County.

Widespread algal blooms appeared in the lagoon in 2011 when temperatures dropped significantly. This was followed by brown tide blooms in 2012 and 2013. Approximately 47,000 acres of seagrasses were lost, a reduction of about 60 percent of the lagoon’s total seagrass coverage.

This project, which will prevent a significant amount of nitrogen and phosphorus from reaching the lagoon, is important to help prevent these events from occurring in the future.

Dredging projects, water-quality monitoring and support for local lagoon awareness organizations are all part of a larger, multi-agency effort to improve the health of the lagoon. The department, St. Johns Water Management District, South Florida Water Management District, Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, local governments and educational institutions are individually and collectively working to identify additional opportunities to speed the lagoon back to ideal health.

October 15, 2014

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