The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded funding for four projects, including two grants in the past week, to help improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.
The recent algal bloom (brown-tide event) in the northern Indian River Lagoon and Banana River reinforces the importance for continued water-quality restoration work in the lagoon.
These recently awarded grants and loans will reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels, which can decrease the intensity and duration of algal bloom events.
To further improve the lagoon’s water quality, the department is identifying additional wastewater and stormwater projects that reduce the amount of nutrients entering the lagoon and dredge projects that remove muck from the bottom of the lagoon, which also feeds algae blooms.
For the upcoming fiscal year, nearly $26 million from the Florida First budget will be invested in 10 water-quality improvement projects in the Indian River Lagoon, which includes $21.5 million in a muck dredging project.
DEP also recently awarded $1.8 million in legislative appropriations in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie counties that will benefit the southern Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie River and Estuary through critical data collection and nutrient loading elimination projects.