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August Newsletter


Dear CWC Partners and Friends:

As we write the August newsletter we are proud to announce that CWC now includes over 300 partners in our shared mission to protect and restore the surface and ground waters of Indian River County. For a list of our partners, click here.

At 7 PM on Thursday, August 15th at the Emerson Center, we will be hosting our third public meeting with Dr. James Sullivan, Executive Director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, as guest speaker.  He will educate us on the causes and effects of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), those nasty blooms that have occurred in Blue Cypress Lake, the Indian River Lagoon and other South Florida waters. His scientific career has been spent studying various types of algae so we are fortunate to have him in our backyard analyzing algal blooms in the IRL.

The City of Sebastian is planning to annex 1,100 acres along SR510.  The land is adjacent to the South Prong of the St. Sebastian River that flows to the Indian River Lagoon.  Due to the potential impact on water quality and quantity, the CWC has sent a letter to the Sebastian City Council expressing our many concerns. Click here to read it. CWC is also co-sponsoring a town hall meeting at 6 PM on Wednesday, August 14th, at the Sebastian Public Library to inform citizens about the pending annexation before it goes to the city council for approval on August 28 at 6 PM.

The CWC is actively participating in government to positively shape our community.

  • Our marine discharge committee is working alongside the City of Vero Beach staff to stop the discharge of sewage directly into the lagoon.

  • We are supporting the efforts of Sebastian residents to urge the City to stop spraying glyphosate in their canals.

  • We are monitoring each municipality as they address their respective nutrient contribution to the Lagoon for the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAPs).

  • We participate in regional and statewide workshops to partner with others on issues of vital importance.

  • We have thoughtfully created a legislative list that calls for state government action. (link)

  • We celebrate success! Indian River County has opened Osprey Acres, the 4th Stormwater Treatment Facility in the County. (Link)


The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County Presents: Dr. James Sullivan Member of Governor DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force Executive Director, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute "Water Quality, Harmful Algal Blooms, and Human Health Threats" at The Emerson Center, 1590 27th Avenue, Vero Beach August 15th 7 PM

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and its associated waters constitute a complex and important ecosystem. The IRL is one of the nation’s most biologically diverse, and is a major spawning and nursery ground for numerous species of fish and shellfish, and home to populations of dolphins and endangered Florida manatees. The region has large tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, boating, and aquaculture interests with an annual economic value estimated at nearly $8B. Unfortunately, degraded water quality and recurrent large scale harmful algal bloom (HAB) events have seriously threatened both the ecological and economic stability/value of the IRL. While HABs have been recorded in the IRL for more than 50 years, increasing stress on the system from factors including nutrient inputs/eutrophication, changing land use practices, development and issues related to climate change, have many wondering if the IRL ecosystem (and many other South Florida waters) have hit a critical tipping point where the frequency and intensity of HABs will only increase in the future. In order to better understand and manage the significant challenges of degrading water quality, HABs and threats to public health in South Florida, we need to both understand the environmental drivers of past and present HABs, while also leveraging new scientific techniques and approaches to our analyses. This talk will provide an introduction into the ecology of HABs in South Florida and the IRL, their complexities and the possible repercussions to our ecosystems and human health.


City of Sebastian Plans to Annex land along SR510

Potential for 3.500 new homes


To Spray or Not to Spray?

According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, glyphosate (commercially called “Round Up”) is a probable human carcinogen.  The use of glyphosate has been banned in many European countries, Bermuda and Columbia.  It has also been banned in the Florida Keys and other cities throughout Florida.  In addition to the human health concern, glyphosate has been suspected of exacerbating sea grass die off.  The dead plants also release their nitrogen and phosphorus into the water adding to the nutrient pollution.

The Friends of the St. Sebastian River, members of the Sebastian Property Owners Assoc. and other good citizens of Sebastian have asked for months that the City find an alternative to glyphosate use for weed control. Glyphosate has become extremely popular for municipal weed control mainly because of its low cost. Removing vegetation by mechanical harvesting or using organic substances could be more costly.

Concerns over the deteriorating conditions within the Lagoon have been the focus of the Clean Water Coalition of IRC and many other organizations. It has been reported that the Indian River Lagoon provides $7.6 Billion in economic value to the Treasure Coast and East Central Coast of Florida.  This does not consider an additional $934 Million of real estate values.

 It’s time for local governments to listen to their constituents.  For the sake of human health and the health of our waters, ban the use of Gylphosate products and remember –

A wise man once said “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation…”


City of Vero Beach – Marina Expansion Consideration

The CWC’s No-Discharge Committee is monitoring the progress of COVB Marina planning. The Indian River Lagoon has been declared “an impaired water” under the Federal Clean Waters Act and millions of dollars are being spent to clean nutrients from the water. Therefore, the CWC cannot support any marina plan that would incrementally increase nutrient loads into the lagoon. The Marina planning process is a wonderful opportunity to implement new policies, procedures, enforcement and infrastructure to improve water quality.

At their regular meeting on September 3 at 6 PM, the City Council is expected to review:

  • current understanding of City Goals and Objectives for the Marina,

  • an assessment of the condition of existing marina facilities, and

  • the three conceptual alternatives recommended by the Marine Commission.

There will be opportunity for public comment before the council either affirms the alternatives selected on May 30th by the Marine Commission or a revision.

At a future meeting, it is expected that an assessment for each alternative will be presented including:

  • potential environmental impacts,

  • the feasibility of State and Federal permits via pre-application conferences,

  • probable Construction costs,

  • potential funding grants or other funding mechanisms, and

  • associated revenue from future Marina operations.

Finally, a draft of the recommended Marina Master Plan would be presented to the Marine Commission and Council for consideration and approval. The CWC will provide public comment at each meeting, reiterating the importance of clean water for the health and economic viability of our community.


Schlitt Brothers Painting becomes CWC's 300th Partner

From left: Paul Schlitt, CWC Membership Chair Charlie Pope, and Richard Schlitt


City of Vero Beach Spotlight

The City of Vero Beach has implemented two exemplary landscaping projects for citizens to see Lagoon Friendly Landscaping in action. Nanette Haynes, City Grounds Manager, designed a demonstration project at Young Park in Vero Isles Subdivision to serve as an example for seawalled homesites. The sod adjacent to the seawall was removed and replaced with drought tolerant plants that require little fertilizer. A second project was designed by CWC partner, Robin Pelensky of Surlaterre Landscape Architecture. A rain garden was installed alongside the utility drive-through entrance to filter run off from the parking lot and remove pollutants before they enter the stormwater system.

Be in the "Spotlight!"  Just submit a short paragraph about an environmental initiative in your organization to Jean at

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