- Governor Ron DeSantis announced nearly $20 million to help rebuild the Indian River Lagoon (IRL)
- These projects will help collect stormwater runoff and treat it to reduce the amount of pollutants and nutrients that enter the IRL
- The IRL is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America and an important resource for species such as the Florida scrub-jay, manatees, and sea turtles
Governor Ron DeSantis announced $20 million in projects to support water quality improvement along the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).
“Investing in the protection of our waterways is a great way for us to ensure the long-term health of our natural resources,” said DeSantis “This funding will help build the infrastructure needed to improve water quality as we continue to make investments to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon.”
DeSantis said these projects will be aimed at collecting stormwater runoff and treating it to reduce the amount of pollutants and nutrients that enter the IRL. The projects are in addition to the $255 million investment to protect the IRL, including targeting wastewater, septic to sewer, and other needed restoration projects.
“Decades of human impacts have resulted in impaired water quality in the Indian River Lagoon, specifically from nutrients,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “As a result of the leadership of Governor DeSantis and unprecedented investments in water quality, the Department, in conjunction with project partners, is focusing on tackling the root cause of nutrient pollution.”
The news comes on the heels of DeSantis signing Executive Order 23-06 last week, which pledges to secure $3.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources and establishing the Indian River Lagoon Protection Program to expedite water quality restoration of the IRL.
Since 2020, Florida has invested more than $500 million in coastal communities to address excess nutrients entering our waterways. The Freedom First budget signed by the Governor this year includes more than $558 million for targeted water quality improvements across the state.
Currently, the water quality of the IRL is impaired for total nitrogen and total phosphorus. The nutrients flow into the lagoon from overland runoff, drainage canals, groundwater seepage, and rainfall. Excess nutrients can contribute to increased frequency, duration, and intensity of algal blooms and negatively impact the growth of seagrass in the lagoon. Seagrass is the most important resource within the IRL, providing habitat and food for manatees and other species.