Photo Credit: Helen Stamatacos
Have you been enjoying our changing headers? Showcase one of your Floridian nature photos by submitting them to MRC by email!
Please send only landscape orientation (horizontal) photos that are uncropped/unedited!
April 2022
MRC Report Card on Tour! What is Killing the Seagrass?
Marine Resources Council released this year’s Indian River Lagoon Health Report Card during the legislative session, providing every member of the Florida Senate and House a printed copy of the report and inviting them to sign our community Vision.  In March, MRC presented the report card findings and delivered over 5,000 report cards to partners throughout the lagoon watershed. In the photo above, Dr. Souto is presenting to in-person and virtual attendees of the Rivers Coalition meeting in Martin County. 

The report card shows that water quality is improving in nearly every region of the lagoon, but that seagrass continues to decline. There are many things that may be contributing to the decline of seagrass and MRC will be coordinating a Seagrass Assembly in 2022-23 to help figure that out. The Seagrass Assembly goal is to gather the science and restoration experts together to identify issues and brainstorm solutions. The outcomes may clarify tools that are needed, like a seagrass viability model, seagrass restoration challenges, and monitoring methods. The Seagrass Assembly will be MRC’s 20th Assembly, demonstrating a tried and true method for gathering stakeholder expertise and applying it to real-world problems. If you are a seagrass scientists or restoration professional, stay tuned!     
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival Dissolved
The largest birding festival in the U.S. has been discontinued after over twenty successful years of bringing ecotourism to our community. Its leading nonprofit, Brevard Nature Alliance dissolved, stating two reasons for the decision: 1) Lack of participation during the covid pandemic and 2) Lack of birds returning to the refuge during the winter. Many of us have been involved in this fantastic festival and wish to thank the BNA Board and staff for the decades of great fun. It was a great run folks!

More than a quarter of the North American bird population has been lost since 1970 due to habitat degradation and loss. Migrating birds frequent the same forage places along their route to ensure they have adequate calories to endure the flight. They can not afford to return to places that are depleted of food will instead alter their migration patterns. Historically, thousands of migrating birds would stop at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and throughout the Indian River Lagoon to forage on seagrass and other critters. If there is inadequate forage food, they will not return. Furthermore, climate changes are altering bird migratory patterns such that many birds are not flying as far south as they once did because winters are shorter. For these reasons and others, we are not seeing the numbers of migratory birds visiting the lagoon that we once did and our ecotourism revenues are suffering as a result. Another demonstration of how ecology and economy in our coastal community are integrally linked.
Future Sustainability Professional inspired by
MRC Concrete Creations
Hey, I'm Elissa, a 12-year-old learning about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations started out by creating Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were goals they wanted to reach by the year 2015. Soon thereafter, the MDGs were changed to SDGs which are goals the United Nations wants to reach by 2030.

There are 17 SDGs and I'm learning about SDG 14: life below water. This SDG is about taking action to help underwater life like animals, coral, and the ocean in general. The reason why this SDG is a needed is because of oil spills, overfishing, pollution, and more. This SDG is trying to take those problems and find a way to solve them. Many of those bad things hurt the ocean and can be toxic or dangerous for the animals. Some could even go extinct because of it. But MRC helps this SDG. They make eco-friendly things for the lagoon. For instance, when me and my group went to volunteer, we made oyster volcanoes to put into the lagoon. These oyster volcanos will provide habitats for young oysters and other creatures. Not just that, MRC has so many other ways to help the ocean and this SDG but so can you. You can take different ways of action like not throwing trash in the water, using eco-friendly tools like bamboo and metal, volunteering for places to help, and so much more. The ocean needs a lot of help but, with our help, we can fix it in no time.
MRC was nominated for an award by the National Green Building Council for our efforts to address the UN Sustainability Goal, Underwater Goal #14, the same goal Elissa writes about here!
Whale Volunteer Potluck Marks End of 2022 Season
Mark your calendar for our 2022 Right Whale Volunteer Potluck at the Lagoon House on April 30th at 11:30am. Please bring a dish to share while we give a wrap-up presentation on the results of the season. Join us for camaraderie, great food, a raffle, and to honor our Volunteer of the Year. 

The biggest highlight this season is the number of calves welcomed into the population - 15! A total of 47 individually identified North Atlantic right whales were spotted from North Carolina to Florida, not including the 15 calves. Of those 47 whales, 15 were male, 28 were female, and four are unknown. The mothers ranged in age from 11 years to 40 years old; in fact, one mother named Half Note gave birth to her seventh calf this season (the record is nine)!  Two remarkable mothers, Derecha and Snow Cone gave birth only two years after losing their previous calves. Snow Cone went through her entire pregnancy, birth, and nursing period while entangled. These whales are showing us that if we could prevent their accidental deaths, they can bounce back on their own. Tripelago was the first mother to be spotted by an aerial survey in Cape Cod Bay, MA on March 25th, indicating the whales have made a safe journey northward.

Thank you to all the volunteers and citizens that helped make this season's activities possible, and thank you to our sponsors: Florida Atlantic University/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Vineyard Vines, Coldwell Banker, and to all those who made personal donations. We can't do it without you!
Register Now for Summer Camp! Seats are filling up!
Join us for a fun-filled summer of exploration, science, and education! MRC's Lagoon Castaway Camp for explorers aged 8-13 offers a variety of hands-on activities that connect your camper to nature and science during four week-long sessions. New after care options are now available.

Learn how to build an underwater remote operated vehicle in our SeaPerch session, get in touch with your wild side by learning wilderness survival skills in our Survivor session, explore the countless interactions among animals in different habitats in our Circle of Life session, or gain an understanding about the mysterious natural phenomena within our world in our Earth to Sky session. Sessions are filling up already! Register now!

Detailed camp descriptions, daily schedules, and registration links are available on our website. If you have any further questions feel free to contact Allison McGinley (allison@mrcirl.org) or Bri Forté (bri@mrcirl.org). We hope to see you this summer!
Virtual 5K Launches Earth Day!
Register Now!
Gather the family for MRC's 1st Virtual 5K! Virtual Races allow athletes to run, walk, bike, swim anywhere in the world while contributing to the lagoon cause. Participate anytime between Earth Day, April 22, and May 22. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram! All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to youth education scholarships and programs.

Participants who share and post on social media can also enter to win a $50 Target Gift Card... and more! All proceeds from the event will fund MRC's Youth Education Programs.


Special thanks to our sponsor, Ron Jon Surf Shop!


Let us know if you leave Mangroves at Lagoon House
Please do not leave mangroves at the Lagoon House without confirming with a MRC staff member first. If you have mangroves that you cannot take care of, call us to schedule a drop off appointment. Help us keep our mangrove nursery tidy!
Bella
Meet Bella Worrell, our LagoonWatch super-intern. Bella has been monitoring water quality of the IRL here at the Lagoon House for several years. Starting in December 2021, she has also included clam-bed care in her projects, monitoring the 5,000 baby superclams we are growing off our shoreline in partnership with the University of Florida and Brevard Zoo.

Bella is a senior at FIT, majoring in Marine Biology & Sustainability. She traded South Bend, Indiana's cold and snow for eastern Florida's warmth and the beauty of the Indian River Lagoon. Her long-term goals include furthering her studies and working for a marine animal rehabilitation center.
Manatees Quick Facts - Share the Science
  • Fossil records show that manatees have inhabited Florida and the Indian River Lagoon for eons. Prehistoric manatees lived in Florida since the Eocene period 45 million years ago and the modern species appeared about 1 million years ago.
  • Manatees help seagrass communities. When they graze they use their prehensile lips to tear away the top of the plants along the bottom, leaving the rhizome and roots behind under the sediment. This encourages new growth and improves productivity and density.
  • In areas where food is scarce, manatees will eat macroalgae and other shoreline vegetation in order to gain sustenance.
The Lagoon House is open to the public by appointment only

Call us at 321-725-7775 to schedule an appointment

Stay Safe Lagoon Lovers!
Events' Calendar
April 1 - Grant BBQ Festival
April 2 - Fun4SpaceCoastKids Summer Camp Fair
April 5 - Lunch & Learn - Keep Brevard Beautiful, Composting
April 9 - Boater's Exchange Spring Boating and Fishing Expo
April 17 - Easter Sunday
April 22 - Earth Day and Kids for Conservation Virtual 5K Kickoff
April 30 - Right Whale Volunteer Potluck
Visit us at www.SaveTheIRL.org
Marine Resources Council
3275 Dixie Hwy NE, Palm Bay, FL 3905 | (321) 725-7775 | www.SaveTheIRL.org