Indian River Lagoon Update
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In this issue
The District’s Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative is a multi-year program to protect and restore the water quality and the ecology of the 156-mile-long estuary.
Scientists transplant seagrass to assess the grass’ survival, health and rate of transplant growth.
Adding an inlet could be costly, complex.
South Florida project to extend areas to store, treat storm water.
South Florida develops new web page to keep readers informed on St. Lucie Estuary projects.
National Estuaries Day celebrates the Indian River Lagoon and America’s other estuaries.
Lagoon Protection Initiative builds, expands partnerships
William Tredik, Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative leader at the St. Johns River Water Management District, reviews lagoon projects with Peggy White, director of the Division of Strategic Deliverables and the Continuous Improvement Program, and Executive Assistant Missy McDermont.
In April 2013, the St. Johns River Water Management District launched the Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative, a multi-year program to protect and restore the water quality and the ecology of the 156-mile-long estuary.
In fiscal year 2013–2014 that began Oct. 1, 2013, the District budgeted $9.48 million for science and construction projects that support the Initiative. This financial commitment, in conjunction with additional dedicated funding in future years, will allow the District to develop long-term scientifically based solutions, while continuing to implement projects annually to improve the health of the lagoon.
Initiative work is being conducted primarily within the northern lagoon system, which includes Mosquito Lagoon, northern Indian River Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon in Volusia and Brevard counties. Current work includes an enhanced scientific investigation to better understand the complex biological processes taking place in the lagoon combined with continuing to implement restoration and improvement projects that provide a direct environmental benefit.
“Fostering a free-flow of communication with educational institutions, state, local and county governments and other lagoon stakeholders is vital to improving scientists’ collective understanding of the ecosystem,” says William Tredik, Lagoon Protection Initiative team leader for the District.
“The District can’t do this alone,” Tredik says. “There is a tremendous amount of knowledge out there. We want to ensure that there are no duplications of efforts. We all want to work together toward smart solutions.”
The initial focus of the Initiative is an algal bloom investigation, a three- to four-year program in which the District and outside experts are improving the scientific understanding of the lagoon system through monitoring, data collection, field and lab analysis and model development. The algal bloom investigation works in parallel to and augments other Initiative programs within the lagoon, such as water quality monitoring, seagrass transplant experiments and studies of drift algae. The investigation will provide the understanding to develop projects that maximize the opportunities for lagoon recovery and sustained health. The District is cost-sharing with plankton and fish sampling programs undertaken by the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“We need to understand the processes that create algal blooms,” Tredik says. “We need to know how the lagoon deals with these nutrients so that we can learn how to reduce the magnitude, duration and frequency of blooms.”