March 15, 2019
Photo credit: Tom Claud
Support lagoon conservation efforts while honoring extraordinary Indian River Lagoon heroes at
MRC's 18th Annual Conservation Awards Dinner!
Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront Hotel
3003 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903
Friday, April 5, 2019
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
Join us for an evening of famed speakers, unique art, wine, spirits, live music and delectable food in recognition of esteemed partners and individuals who have helped shape some of today's most crucial lagoon conservation wins. Guest speakers include environmentalist and South Florida political powerhouse Maggy Hurchalla, Dr. Mark Perry, Executive Director of Florida Oceanographic Society and President of the Rivers Coalition, and Courtney Barker, Satellite Beach City Manager.

Awards and attending nominees include:

Stan Blum Lifetime Award for Conservation
 Nominees: George Rosenfield, Mary Bowman and Stephen Chalmers

Albert Tuttle Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service
 Nominees: Dennis Mayo, Mark D. Perry and Rodney Smith

Maggie Bowman Award for Outstanding Service by an Elected Official
 Nominees: Curt Smith, Senator Debbie Mayfield and Frank Catino

Paul Kroegel Award for Outstanding Service by a Government Employee
 Nominees: Dianne Hughes, Duane DeFreese and Charles Henry

Project of the Year Award
 Nominees: C1 Canal Water Diversion to the St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon
Health Update, Shuck and Share

Register today! Click the button below.
Eventful right whale season comes to an end
Thank you to MRC's right whale volunteers!

The first half of whale season was busy with humpback whales, but the right whales made their appearance starting in early February! Sixteen right whales were individually identified off the Florida and Georgia coasts this season. Seven of those whales gave birth to a calf, making a total of 23 right whales. Four different mother and calf pairs have been documented off the coast of Brevard County this season (#2791, #3270, #3370, and #4180). Reports to MRC's hotline helped us verify that #4180 had a previously unknown new calf on Feb. 5th, making her the 6th new mom of the season, out of seven so far. Right whale #4180 continued at least as far south as Jensen Beach. While 7 new calves is better than last year's zero, it's still far from the 17+ that we would like to see to maintain or grow the population.

It is believed that the whales have started their migration back to the northeast U.S., but there are whales that were seen off Melbourne Beach and southward whose whereabouts are unknown at this time. Please keep your eyes on the water and report sightings to 888-97-WHALE (888-979-4253). We just might see them again!
2019 Updates to the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan
Lets Talk about Wastewater
The Save our Indian River Lagoon (SOIRL) Project Plan directs how the funds generated by the 2016 lagoon sales tax will be spent. Every year, Brevard County and the Citizen's Oversight Committee consider new evidence to update the Plan. Projects are prioritized based on the best value for the greatest benefit quantified in pounds of nutrient pollution removed.

This year the Citizen Oversight Committee suggested 23 new projects and recommended re-prioritizing funding for wastewater upgrades, septic tank improvements and muck removal. The 2019 Update recommends a $30 Million increase in the amount spent for human waste projects, a $27 million increase in stormwater projects, a $58 million decrease in muck removal projects. This re-prioritization was done partially at the request of the Board, who want more funds to be spent on wastewater infrastructure. The 2019 Plan Update was presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on February 12, 2019, for their consideration and approval. The BOCC rejected the plan, with Isnardi, Tobia, and Lober voting against it. They directed staff to come back with less money for muck dredging. At the February 26, the BOCC approved the plan with the caveat that ~$100,000 million in muck removal funds be re prioritized, citing the need for wastewater improvements as the primary reason.

It is true that we have a wastewater plumbing problem in Brevard, because historically, our county leaders failed to increase Wastewater Utility Fees to keep up with the cost of infrastructure repairs. Wastewater Utility Fees are paid by wastewater infrastructure users. The county's Wastewater Utility Fee is significantly lower than the fees imposed by the cities, in some cases over 20% lower.

Instead of raising the fees to cover the costs of maintenance, some Commissioners want to use the sales tax, a source of money designated specifically to reduce nutrient pollution to the lagoon. Using the lagoon tax to cover the cost of wastewater infrastructure is wrong for many reasons, three are below:

1) It assesses a tax on everyone (sales tax) to pay for the services provided to a subset of the population. We all pay the sales tax, we don't all use the wastewater infrastructure. Those who are paying for services and not receiving them are experiencing "taxation without representation."

2) Those paying the Lagoon Tax AND the the Wastewater Utility Fees are in essence, paying twice for wastewater infrastructure. We all pay the sales tax including people on sewer. Sewer customers are in essence paying both the sales tax and the utility fee for the same service for which others are only paying the sales tax. In the cities, they are paying MUCH more because their Wastewater Utility Fees are higher. This is unfair taxation, disproportionately affecting some people more than others.

3) It uses a short-term (10-year) fund specifically designated for lagoon projects (SOIRL) to pay for projects that have an on-going dedicated funding source (Wastewater Utility Fee). Let the Wastewater Utility Fee that is collected in perpetuity and has no end date pay for wastewater infrastructure and let the Lagoon Tax, which sunsets in 10 years, pay for the projects that have no funding source!

It is great that Brevard County Commissioners see the need to address our failing wastewater infrastructure! But instead of using the SOIRL Plan to solve our wastewater problems, encourage the Board of County Commissioners to increase the Brevard County wastewater utility fees to be at least equal to the fees of municipal residents and encourage them to develop a prioritization plan to focus efforts where lagoon impacts are most problematic.

Click here to read more about the 2019 Plan Updates.

Click here to read the full 2019 Plan Update.
Paint your own Fabulous Flamingo!
Stuart Art Supply & Studio:
43 SE Kindred Street, Stuart, FL 34994

Wednesday, March 20th from 5:30-8pm
Do you love the flamboyant flock of flamingos that are traveling around Martin County? Would you like to make your own flamingo to place in your yard?

Then grab your friends and join us for a flamingo paint and wine night! The evening will feature wine, light snacks, great company, and step-by-step instructions to paint a fabulous lawn flamingo.

Partial to a specific wine or snack? Feel free to bring it along! Click the button below to register. Proceeds from the event will benefit MRC's BeFloridianNow program.
Report Horseshoe Crab Sightings!
One of MRC's volunteers came into the Lagoon House yesterday and said he counted over 1,000 horseshoe crabs along the shore of the lagoon last weekend! What an awesome experience he had while collecting important data for FWC scientists who are studying this prehistoric creature! You can too!

Spring is peak mating season for horseshoe crabs and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) need help! The FWC asks the public to  report sightings  through one of several options.

  • Go to, then “Horseshoe Crab Nesting Activity” for the “Florida Horseshoe Crab Spawning Beach Survey” link.
  • The FWC Reporter app is free to download on Apple or Android smartphones or tablets from the App Store and Google Play. 
  • You can also report findings via email at or by phone at 866-252-9326. 

To identify mating pairs, look for a smaller male on top of a larger female. Beach-goers will likely have the best luck spotting horseshoe crabs around high tide, within three days of a new or full moon.

Public sighting information helps FWC researchers target spawning beaches for the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program , a citizen science initiative to collect scientifically accurate data throughout the state. 
Next Brown Bag Presentation
Sebastian Inlet District: Celebrating 100 Years!
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Bring your lunch!
Join us for our April Brown Bag presentation with Michelle Malyn, Public Information Associate at the Sebastian Inlet District, to hear about the history of the Sebastian Inlet and it's importance to our Lagoon community. Learn about the fascinating history of the Sebastian Inlet including the trials and tribulations of the earliest settlers, tales of sabotage, and the pioneering spirit that eventually led to the permanent opening of the Sebastian Inlet as we know it today! Hope to see you there!

Click the button below to register.
Check out this video by Makayla Wheeler showcasing the beauty of the Indian River Lagoon!
 Click here to visit her website for more.
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