A Year of Hope Across Our Lagoon Community

Leesa Souto, Ph.D., Executive Director, Marine Resources Council

As 2023 gets rolling, hope and action are growing across the Indian River Lagoon coastal community of east central Florida. 

The lagoon is one of our Earth's rarest and most valuable natural treasures, stretches 150 miles, and includes 40 percent of the state's Atlantic coastline.

Non-profit organizations, governments, community developers, and citizens are uniting to tackle the tough challenges facing the lagoon, as you will learn in the upcoming Indian River Lagoon Report Card, which is being produced now. Here are some highlights:

  • In Brevard County, which has the largest area and population along the lagoon, citizens overwhelmingly supported extending the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program last fall, providing protection and access to natural habitats. Learn more: here.

  • The Brevard Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan, funded by a citizen-approved half-cent sales tax, has hundreds of local projects underway that will keep millions of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus out of the lagoon. Learn more: here.

  • The newly approved Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, LOSOM, will guide the Army Corps of Engineers in greatly reducing toxic algae discharges to the southern lagoon and sending much-needed water to help restore the Everglades. Learn more: here.

  • Governor Ron DeSantis has called on the state legislature to provide $100 million per year for Indian River Lagoon restoration, along with other historic water protections across the state. Learn more: here.

  • Marine Resources Council hosted a January Seagrass Assembly, which brought together 50 scientific delegates to consider how to restore seagrass, the foundation of our lagoon ecosystem. A white paper summarizing the outcomes of the assembly is underway; watch for a link in our next edition. Special thanks to assembly major donors: The Galesi Family Foundation and Save the Manatee Club.  

  • The next MRC Low Impact Development (LID) conference is Apr. 20-21 and will focus on slowing the flow of stormwater in community development. Included will be the updated Interconnected Channel and Pond Routing (ICPR) model, presented in a workshop by renowned stormwater expert Pete Singhofen, P.E. Learn more: here.

  • Driving much of this progress is the Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, prepared by the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, which promotes one lagoon, one community, and one voice. You can review the plan and explore ways you can help: here.

Sustaining the globally important east central Florida regional economy depends upon a healthy lagoon. Take it upon yourself to learn more and help unite our community so that one day soon, we can see sparkling meadows of emerald seagrass in our beloved lagoon. 

Please include MRC in your annual donation planning; we currently have about 900 annual members.  

  • Donate online: here.

  • Mail donations to MRC, 3275 Dixie Hwy NE, Palm Bay, FL 32905.

  • If you wish to remain anonymous, please note when you donate.

  • MRC Federal Tax ID#: 59-3030066.
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