FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2014
DEP TO HOST ANNUAL INDIAN RIVER LAGOON NUTRIENT POLLUTION REDUCTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT MEETING
~ DEP staff and stakeholders review ongoing and potential projects to improve water quality ~
COCOA – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites local governments, scientists, environmentalists, agricultural operators and other stakeholders to attend an annual meeting to review and refine the Nutrient Pollution Reduction plan for North and Central Indian River Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon. The meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Brevard County Agricultural Center in Cocoa, Fla. Speakers will include representatives from Brevard and Indian River Counties, from the cities of Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Satellite Beach and Sebastian, and from Patrick Air Force Base. It has been one year since the adoption of the restoration plan, and this is the first meeting to discuss ongoing and future restoration efforts.
“The department and stakeholders have made solid strides to control nutrient pollution in the Indian River Lagoon’s watersheds,” said Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett. “More is needed. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to provide updates on our progress and identify future restoration projects.”
The Indian River Lagoon system has been stressed over time by the excessive freshwater discharges, and the influx of nutrient pollutants (nitrogen and phosphorous) through stormwater and wastewater. The department's Basin Management Action Plans are intended to remove or reduce the sources of nutrient pollution and to promote seagrass growth.
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 phosphorous.
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.