THE 156-MILE LONG INDIAN RIVER LAGOON IS MADE UP OF FIVE MAJOR REGIONS.
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is being threatened. “It is in a state of overall decline that threatens our environment, economy and quality of life. These challenges are complex. Symptoms include seagrass losses, wildlife deaths, the collapse of commercial shell harvesting, damaging freshwater discharges and continuous algal blooms, both toxic and non-toxic.” (IRL National Estuary Program’s 2016 Annual Report.)
But no one single project will reverse the decline and create a body of water where you can feel safe eating its fish and selfish, and restore commercial fishing.
The Mosquito Lagoon, North Indian River Lagoon, Banana River Lagoon, Central Indian River Lagoon, and South Indian River Lagoon regions must be individually evaluated and then related to each other to access overall ecosystem health for the Indian River Lagoon system.
Link to Part One of our Indian River Lagoon Series
In January, 2016, the Marine Resources Council (MRC) brought together over 60 Lagoon related scientists and resource managers to develop and achieve a consensus on science-based and data-driven ecological health report, which will be released in early 2018.
But until then, according to MRC, “all areas of the Lagoon are suffering from polluted water, seagrass losses, algal blooms, and fish kills, and our marine tourism, and real estate industries are at risk.”
In terms of the five reporting regions of the Lagoon, MRC has identified these regional differences:
(Marine Resources Council (MRC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose purpose is to maintain and enhance the quality of marine systems for the economic, recreational, aesthetic, and environmental use of the people of Florida. Their mission is to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon coastal estuary and we are supported by many different community members and sponsors. 90% of community contributions go directly to projects and programs!)
- No major canals
- Little to no ocean flushing
- Limited boat traffic
North Indian River Lagoon:
- Moderate development pressure
- Several causeways limiting circulation
- No ocean flushing
- Banana River Lagoon connection through barge canal
Central Indian River Lagoon:
- Light to moderate development pressure
- Several large tributaries and canals
- Moderate ocean flushing at inlet
South Indian River Lagoon:
- Major development
- Major canals, including Lake Okeechobee discharge canal
- Moderate to major ocean flushing at multiple inlets
In the past decade, nutrients, toxins, and sediments have entered the Lagoon through stormwater, groundwater and canal discharges. The Lagoon is dying because of toxic algal blooms, fish kills and canal discharges. The Lagoon has experienced an unprecedented loss of marine mammal life, enormous fish kills extending hundreds of miles, the loss of seagrass, an accumulation of muck, and the collapse of fisheries.
Consider this. Every few years you need new tires. Why do you need new tires? Its because the rubber on the tires has worn off. Where does the worn off tire go? With rain it goes into the canals and then into the Indian River Lagoon. That’s why there should be reconsideration for a $ 5.00 a month tax for to establish a Storm Run Off Utility, to address this issue, which three members of the Vero Beach Council opposed.
Please see related article on how Brevard County, FL residents overwhelming voted for a half cent tax to fund Lagoon Clean-up efforts.
Our next article, series three, will outline the 16 projects the Indian River Lagoon Council has funded to support the health of Lagoon, where we can feel safe eating its fish and selfish, and restore commercial fishing.