December 11, 2014
~Restoration plan identifies strategies to improve water quality~
Today the Florida Department of Environmental Protection joined local stakeholders – government representatives, scientists, environmental organizations, agricultural operators and others – for a meeting in Cocoa to discuss the restoration plan being implemented for Indian River Lagoon. This is part of a series of meetings meant to ensure implementation of project commitments and to identify new strategies to reduce pollution and improve water quality in the lagoon.
The Indian River Lagoon system has been stressed over time by the influx of nutrient pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, through stormwater and wastewater as well as by excessive freshwater discharges. The department’s restoration plans are intended to remove or reduce the sources of nutrient pollution and to promote seagrass growth.
“Today’s meeting is part of DEP’s and local stakeholders’ continued commitment to coordination and restoring the Indian River Lagoon,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “The department and stakeholders have made solid strides to control nutrient pollution in the Indian River Lagoon’s watersheds. This meeting provides an excellent opportunity to provide updates on our progress and identify future restoration projects.”
Separate restoration plans have been developed for North Indian River Lagoon, Central Indian River Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon. In the last year, 35 new projects have been developed to address nutrient loading into this watershed. The new projects are in addition to the 552 projects identified in the restoration plans and are projected to reduce thousands of additional pounds of nitrogen and phosphorousfrom entering the lagoon.
The Indian River Lagoon system is a nationally renowned estuary that supports both remarkable biological diversity and recreational resources. It is considered the most biologically diverse estuary in North America and was recognized as part of the National Estuary Program. The lagoon directly and indirectly supports a large part of the economy for both the region and state. Investing in projects and programs to improve the lagoon’s water quality is not only important for environmental considerations, but also for Florida’s economy.