The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board last week approved entering into an interlocal agreement that expands protection efforts and opportunities under the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRL NEP) and creates the Indian River Lagoon Council to lead the work.
In the coming weeks, the agreement is set to go before each of the partners anticipated to comprise the new IRL Council: Volusia, Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie counties; Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); and the St. Johns River Water Management District. Martin County, also a partner, approved the agreement at its January 13 Board of County Commissioners meeting.
“This reinvigorated effort promises to expand protection for a unique and incredibly important waterway,” said SFWMD Governing Board Vice Chair Kevin Powers, a longtime resident of Martin County. “I’m confident that the dedicated partners on the new IRL Council will help direct the increased resources in the most beneficial manner for the lagoon.”
The action follows a 2014 funding commitment of $500,000 by the South Florida and the St. Johns River water management districts, plus $250,000 from DEP, to expand the IRL NEP program and its projects.
Pending their approval, the five counties along the lagoon will each invest $50,000 toward the program.