June 2020
It's MRC's 30th birthday!
On June 11, 1990, the Marine Resources Council left its home at the Florida Institute of Technology to become an independent 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The new corporation's star-studded Board of Directors included Ted Moorhead, Representative Dixie Sansom, Dr. William Oelfke, Clifton McClelland, Ron Winn, Jim Swann, Donald Krieger, and MRC’s visionary Executive Director, Diane Barile. The original purpose was to integrate science into coastal management planning. Over the years, the MRC grew to implement science, education and restoration programs that protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon while never losing sight of our goal to integrate science into the policy arena.

To celebrate our 30th year, the MRC will showcase our coastal community’s incredible efforts to protect the lagoon through a new MRC History of the Lagoon webpage and digital library! Documents like MRCs petition to Congress to establish the National Estuary Program and MRCs Presidential Award will be included in the library along with newspaper articles, management documents, and policies. You can read about Representative Dixie Sansom’s efforts to create a lagoon-focused state government office, Jim Swann’s efforts to pass the Indian River Lagoon Act, and MRC’s efforts to delineate, justify, and acquire hundreds of acres of lagoon buffer lands. 

Share in our successes and challenges as we revisit the past 3 decades along the lagoon!  
The MRC is incredibly excited to announce that we are bringing Summer Camp BACK!
We have adjusted the design of our summer camp to comply with the recommendations of the State of Florida and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Below are some additional procedures that we will be implementing this year:

  • Reducing the number of campers in each session
  • Maintaining social distancing requirements and prioritizing outside activities
  • Reminding campers of sanitary procedures throughout the day, including frequent hand washing
  • Reducing the sharing of supplies and equipment and increasing cleaning/disinfecting procedures
  • Introducing a parent drop off/pick up car-line to reduce the number of people in the building
  • Encouraging the use of a face masks, depending upon parental wishes

This July, we will be offering three, half-day sessions packed with NEW content! Each session will have an overarching theme and each day will either have an outdoor activity, a science experiment, or an arts/crafts project. Schedules and activities are subject to change depending upon CDC guidelines, camper safety, and weather. We will only be registering 16 campers/session so act fast to secure your seat!

Session 1 - Animals in Our Lagoon - July 6th-10th, 9am-1pm

  • From mighty micros to magnificent megas, this week we will be investigating the amazing animals that are found in and around the Indian River Lagoon!

Session 2 - Connections in Our Ecosystems - July 13th-17th, 9am-1pm

  • This week is all about the connections around us and how they interact! From land, water, and air we will explore the relationships that have enormous influence on life!

Session 3 - Shifts in Our World - July 27th-31st, 9am-1pm

  • Our world is constantly changing, get ready to examine these shifts from the past to the present and from degradation to restoration! 

Space is limited for our camp, as our maximum number of campers for each session will be capped at 16. Each camper will have their own work station when indoors and we will be limiting the sharing of supplies. We also be separating the campers into two groups of 8 for outdoor activities.

Please reach out to Nicole Broquet at  nicole@mrcirl.org  with any questions or clarifications!
Register Today!
Nicole's Wishlist - Help Support Our Education Programs!
To keep our campers happy and healthy, we will be cleaning and disinfecting twice daily and are in dire need of cleaning supplies! Please consider donating any of the following to the Lagoon House:

  • Multi-Purpose disinfectants, all-purpose cleaner, bleach, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc..

We are also curating a new 115-gallon Lagoon Aquarium! This new tank will provide extended habitat for our exhibit animals and will enable us to better display the diversity of the Indian River Lagoon! Please donate to help us make this aquarium a comfortable home for our animals by clicking the button below.
Kim Sawicki teaching Joel Cohen how to work with rope-less gear
North Atlantic right whales are more threatened by entanglements in commercial fishing gear than anything else. About 85% of the population has scars from entanglement. One solution to reducing entanglement risk includes ropeless fishing gear, which combines regular pot or trap fishing with an acoustic release system that allows fishermen to retrieve their gear from the ocean floor without the need of a vertical line and buoy connecting the trap to the surface. MRC's Julie Albert and Whale Program Volunteer Joel Cohen teamed up with Kim Sawicki, Principal Co-founder of Sustainable Seas, to learn how to operate various types of ropeless gear. MRC plans to partner with Sustainable Seas to continue gear trials and educate fishermen on this great alternative to using vertical lines, which may also allow fishermen to fish in areas normally closed during right whale season. 

For more information on ropeless gear, check out the 'Ropeless is Real' report at:   https://sustainableseas.blog/
Do you have an amazing photo that showcases the beauty of the IRL?

Submit your photos to the IRLNEP and you might be selected for the 2021 IRL Calendar! Photographers may submit up to three photos each for judging and the IRLNEP is again awarding cash prizes for the best photos!

The deadline for entry is August 3, 2020, so get out there this summer and get snapping! For contest rules and entry forms, click the link below .
July Brown Bag Virtual Seminar
"Living Shorelines for a Sustainable Future" with Caity Savoia
July 7th, 2020
12pm - 1pm
Held via Zoom Webinar
Registration required!!
Join us for our Virtual Brown Bag Seminar, "Living Shorelines for a Sustainable Future" with MRC's Director of Science and Restoration, Caity Savoia! Traditional coastal development methods frequently include shoreline hardening that are not only expensive to construct but costly in terms of maintenance, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Living shorelines offer a more sustainable and cost effective option for waterfront property owners to decrease erosion and protect their property while enhancing wildlife habitat, improving water quality, and ultimately improving the health of our Indian River Lagoon! Ms. Savoia will talk about alternatives to shoreline hardening, describe MRCs living shoreline projects, and encourage you to get involved. Registration is required! 

The seminar will end with a live Q&A session, but you can email questions in advance to MRC's Nicole Broquet at  nicole@mrcirl.org  by July 6th. 

The Brown Bag Seminar will be at the same time as always, from 12-1pm, but will be held through the virtual platform Zoom! To attend this webinar, you must pre-register as space is limited, but we will live stream the program on the MRC's Facebook page.
Least tern chick by Carol Rizkalla/FWC
It is waterbird nesting season! Help conserve beach nesting birds by following these recommendations from FWC:

  • Keep your distance from birds, on the beach and on the water. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. Birds calling out loudly and dive-bombing are signals to back off.
  • Respect posted areas. When possible, stay at least 300 feet from a posted nesting area. Avoid entering areas marked with signs for nesting birds and use designated walkways.
  • Do not enter Critical Wildlife Areas. CWAs are established to give wildlife the space needed for nesting, roosting and foraging, and they are clearly marked with signs or buoys to alert boaters to areas that are closed to public access.
  • Avoid intentionally forcing birds to fly or run. This causes them to use energy needed for nesting, and eggs and chicks may be left vulnerable to the sun’s heat or predators. Teach children to let shorebirds and seabirds rest instead of chasing them, and encourage friends and family to do the same. Shorebirds and seabirds outside of posted areas may be feeding or resting and need to do so without disturbance.
  • It is best to leave pets at home but if you bring them to the beach, keep them leashed and avoid shorebird and seabird nesting areas. Pets are not permitted on most beaches, including state parks, so always check and be respectful of local rules when preparing for a day at the beach.
  • Keep the beach clean and do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, which can prey on shorebird eggs and chicks. Litter on beaches can entangle birds and other wildlife.
  • Spread the word. Let your friends and family know how important it is to give shorebirds space and share the message on social media!
  • Report disturbance of nesting birds to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or by texting Tip@MyFWC.com. You can also report nests that are not posted to our Wildlife Alert Program.
Re-Opening of the Lagoon House on August 3rd!
We have dearly missed all of our MRC members and Lagoon Friends the past three months! We hope you all have been staying healthy and happy during this challenging and unprecedented time. The Lagoon House will remained closed to the public through the months of June and July, with the exception of summer camp. We will be fully reopening the Lagoon House to the public August 4th and will be hosting our first major volunteer event, International Coastal Cleanup, on September 19th!
Upcoming Events (To Be Announced)
More events may be added/removed as we follow CDC guidelines.
June 11th: MRC's 30th Birthday!
June 13th: Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway's 20th Birthday!
July 4th: 4th of July
July 6th: Start of Summer Camp Session 1
July 7th: July Brown Bag Virtual Seminar, 12pm-1pm
July 13th: Start of Summer Camp Session 2
July 25th: International Mangrove Day
July 27th: Start of Summer Camp Session 3
Aug 3rd: Lagoon House Reopens to the Public!
Sept 19th: International Coastal Cleanup Day, various locations, 8am-12pm
Sept 26th: National Estuaries Day Celebration
Oct 31st: Halloween!
Nov 11th: Lagoon House Closed for Veterans' Day
Nov 25th-26th: Lagoon House Closed for Thanksgiving!
Dec 24-25th: Lagoon House Closed for Christmas!
Jan 1st: Lagoon House Closed for New Year's Day! Goodbye 2020!
Visit us at www.SaveTheIRL.org