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Efforts to Restore Our Lagoon

Washington, March 22, 2016 - Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) released the following statement on his efforts so far to help protect and restore our Indian River Lagoon:

Many have asked what's going on with the lagoon? I think the recent FLORIDA TODAY article explains it well. Is anything being done about it? Yes - State, local and federal levels of government are engaged in solving.

I have been asked by constituents: What have you done? These are some actions our office has taken in Washington, or activities and forums we’ve participated in within our district, to help protect and restore our Indian River Lagoon:

Actions in Washington:

Reauthorizing the National Estuary Program: Co-authored bipartisan legislation which passed the House to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (H.R. 944). Included in this legislation is my bipartisan plan (H.R. 573) to reprioritize existing funding so more money is available for estuaries with critical needs like our Indian River Lagoon. Passed the House. Language also included in Senate-passed version.

Have you ever participated in volunteer restoration efforts like planting mangroves? Mangroves are a vital part of keeping our Lagoon healthy by preventing erosion, filtering the water and providing a habitat and food source for many species of wildlife.

Ten Mile Creek: Cosponsored bipartisan legislation to help local authorities take over the Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area Critical Restoration Project so the project can move forward without further delay. This new law will allow local authorities to treat storm water run-off before it reaches the Indian River Lagoon. Signed into Law

Fighting Harmful Algal Blooms: Shepherded through the House and into Law bipartisan legislation authorizing $20 million per year for nationwide algae bloom research benefiting our Lagoon. This new law enhances and streamlines research into the causes of algal blooms and hypoxia events. Signed into Law

Also advocated for robust funding for NOAA’s competitive research program to provide grants for algal bloom research and additional tools to better understand, predict, and mitigate the effects of harmful algal blooms on the environment and our local communities.

Marine Mammal Research & Rescue: Fought to restore funding for the Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Program that matches local funding for stranded marine mammal response. Funding Restored

Everglades Restoration Support: Cosponsored bipartisan legislation authorizing the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) to end the discharges into our Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee (Cosponsored H.R. 230). Also voted for passage of Water Resources Development Act to fund the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

Repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike: Cosponsored bipartisan legislation to expedite the completion of repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike to allow Lake Okeechobee to hold more water during heavy storm events. This could help alleviate further discharges of nutrient laden water into the St. Lucie River and the Lagoon. Cosponsored H.R.4667

Participated in a half day bi-partisan workshop on lagoon and everglades water examining quality

Actions in Florida:

These are some of the meetings our office attended or coordinated with local officials and experts which helped generate valuable feedback so we could form a legislative agenda to help Indian River Lagoon

8/9/2011        EPA Field Hearings on nutrients
8/10/2011      Estuary Planting
9/21/2011      Spoil Island BC47 Planting Event
10/26/2011    Inddian River Lagoon Advisory Board
2/9/2012        IR Lagoon Symposium
3/28/2012      IR Lagoon Advisory Board
10/17/2012    IR Lagoon Advisory Board
10/31/2012    Community Leaders Summit
1/30/2013      Impact 100 Grant Tour ORCA
2/8/2013        IR Lagoon Symposium
3/26/2013      Archie Carr Working Group
5/21/2013      Meeting for proposal septic system ordinance
5/30/2013      IR Lagoon Briefing
9/13/2013      IR Lagoon Roundtable Discussion
9/13/2013      IR Lagoon county collaborative
9/28/2013      Hands Across the Lagoon
10/17/2013    Archie Carr Working Group
11/1/2013      Upclose & Ecological -education program
11/8/2013      IR Lagoon Counties Collaborative
1/21/2014      FL Tech IR Lagoon Press event
2/6/2014        IR Lagoon Symposium
2/7/2014        IR Lagoon Symposium
2/13/2014      IR Lagoon - Open Forum - Front Street
2/4/2014        District Water Supply plan meeting-SJRWMD
4/23/2014      Archie Carr Working Group
4/30/2014      IR Estuary Program Board
5/9/2014        IR Lagoon- county collaborative
6/3/2014        IR County Commissioner Collaborative
6/6/2014        Installation of Water Quality
6/12/2014      Coastal Management Committee meeting
7/16/2014      Archie Carr Working Group
7/25/2014      IR Lagoon county collaborative
8/11/2014      Cooking with Lori Show
8/21/2014      IR Lagoon Presentation
9/4/2014        IRL BMAP Workshop
9/5/2014        IR Counties Collaborative restore
9/24/2014      IR NEP Advisory Board
9/25/2014      IR Lagoon Acuatic Preserves Mgt. Plan - Public meeting
10/15/2014    Archie Carr Working Group
11/7/2014      IR Lagoon Callaborative Meeting
11/14/2014    IR Lagoon Estuary Pilot Program Presentations
2/5/2015        IR Lagoon Symposium 2015 - Harbor Branch
3/7/2015        LagoonFest- Ted Moorhead Lagoon House
3/27/2015      IR Lagoon Callaborative Meeting
5/1/2015        IR Lagoon Council Board of Directors mtg
6/5/2015        IR Lagoon Council Board of Directors meeting
8/7/2015        IR Lagoon Council Board of Directors mtg
9/11/2015      IR Lagoon Council Board of Directors mtg
9/25/2015      FL Tech IR Lagoon Symposium
11/13/2015    IRL Council Meeting
11/13/2015    Canal 1 Project-St Johns celebration
1/14/2016      Archie Carr Working Group
2/8/2016        SJRWMD - Wheeler Stormwater Park Project celebration
2/11/2016      IR Lagoon Sumposium 2016 - Harbor Branch
2/12/2016      IR Lagoon Council Board of Directors mtg
3/28/2016      IR Lagoon conference with local leaders and experts

I remember fish kills occurring in the Indian River Lagoon when I was a young boy. The problem is not unique to our lagoon. It has occurred in other places across the country. There was a bad one in Iowa last year for example.

There are many causes ranging from man to nature, and the interactions between both. There are no quick or easy fixes. No one has figured out a way to stop tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires, or earth quakes yet either, but people who are concerned are trying to mitigate their negative impacts just as there are here.

While there are many factors that have led to the decline in the Lagoon’s health, we can all play a role in helping our Lagoon recover.

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