A Local Anchoring Limitation Area
Indian River County is facing significant issues with sunken, abandoned, and "at-risk" vessels. As the worst of the hurricane season approaches, these derelict vessels pose environmental risks and portray an image of neglect, potentially impacting tourism.
The Clean Water Coalition introduced to the City of Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Indian River County the concept of Anchoring limitation areas (ALA) as an effective solution to this problem. The early intervention enabled by ALA can mitigate potential contamination from diesel, gasoline, hydraulic fluid, human waste, and other hazardous materials. Implementing ALA not only brings substantial time and cost savings but also helps maintain the area's image and attractiveness.
This is why it is a positive sign that City of Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Indian River County are taking decisive steps to address this pressing issue, after continued prompting by the Clean Water Coalition. As they work towards the implementation of ALA regulations, they are demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being, reinforcing the region's reputation as a desirable place to live and visit.
Click here to read the letter the City of Vero Beach sent to the County recently, expressing their desire for an ALA.
The Indian River County Lagoon Management Plan (LMP) pinpoints 17 essential factors influencing the Indian River Lagoon's health. Divided into five focal areas linked to county departments, the plan not only sets forth goals but also recommends projects and best practices. This guide underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in safeguarding Florida's treasured habitat. Essential to its development and success are public meetings, ensuring community involvement. Please plan to attend the August 17 workshop, and please note the August 17 workshop has virtual options. Use this link to download and comment on the plan.
Riverkidz – Osprey Week Camp begins
The first half of the day was spent hiking to the observation deck at North ORCA to acclimate the children to being in the mud. They "played in the mud"; most had never been given permission to just smell, feel, step in, and look at mud, and learn the benefits it has for the ecosystem. In the minutes remaining before lunch, they did the Cooperative Critter activity with hilarious results, as always. IFAS grad student Sara Salgado gave a very informative presentation about invasive plants, air potato beetles, and other insects. The kids had a great time catching insects (NO BUTTERFLIES) in the garden and backyard of Audubon House. The day ended with a boys vs. girls tree fort building competition. They were all winners!
Tuesday: As soon as the RiverKidz campers arrived, they headed to Jetty Park in Fort Pierce to execute a litter cleanup. A different site will be selected next time, as there was not much litter to pick up. The next stop was the St. Lucie Aquarium, where the kids had outstanding behavior and were very engaged in learning about every exhibit. Back at the Audubon House, the campers had a brief lesson on what a field guide is and what they would be expected to do at Jones Pier, starting tomorrow. Lauren didn't have very high expectations for their first draft of a field guide entry, but a lot of the kids made high-quality illustrations and did thorough research from the limited field guides available at the Audubon House (see attached images).
Lauren, the Environmental Educator, taught the RiverKidz how to seine, collect insects, and use dip nets. Rory, the Junior Guide Assistant (college student, volunteer, RiverKidz participant), contributed very helpful advice in this process. In the remaining time at the end of the day, the kids also got some microscope practice in, looking at different things they found outside (see attached images). The rest of the week will be on-site at Jones Pier, working with Indian River County's Conservation Lands Manager, Wendy Swindell, and Assistant, Ashley Lingwood, on developing a field guide to the area, and exploring the Salt Marsh. This project will be year-long, and the RiverKidz are excited to be a part of it.
Thank you to the Clean Water Coalition for your funding support to make this educational week-long camp a great experience!
Algae Toxin in Central and Southern Indian River Lagoon
Researchers from FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have conducted the first widespread molecular study of a neurotoxin called domoic acid, which is produced by a type of algae found in the Indian River Lagoon called Pseudo-nitzchia. At high enough concentrations, domoic acid can cause sickness in marine mammals and birds. Results of the study showed Pseudo-nitszchia was present in 87% of the surface water samples taken from the central and southern Indian River Lagoon. Domoic acid was found in 47% of surface water samples.
As one of multiple toxic bloom-forming organisms within the Indian River Lagoon, understanding the distribution and population dynamics of Pseudo-nitzchia is critical to protecting biodiversity as well as human, animal and ecosystem health.
Do you like podcasts? How about one about our water and the lagoon? In 'One Lagoon – One Voice', representatives from the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program engage with scientists, researchers, and local leaders to delve into pressing matters impacting the 156-mile estuary along Florida's eastern coastline. Dive deeper into pivotal discussions on seagrass rejuvenation, manatee counts, and more. This unique show offers an insightful lens on both the marvels and concerns surrounding the Indian River Lagoon. Check it out here.
Synopsis of HB 1379 Environmental Protection