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February Water News

Hello CWC partners and welcome to our February newsletter aimed at keeping you informed about the issues and initiatives we are working on to restore the Indian River Lagoon and ensure a clean and plentiful supply of drinking water for all of us. We welcome your input and encourage you to join us in achieving our common goals. As always, donations are gratefully accepted.



Following a lifetime of service to the citizens of Indian River County--first, with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office and, since 2018, as founding President of the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County--Paul Fafeita is stepping down as leader of our organization. He and his wife are moving to New England to be closer to a daughter living in the area. To say that the members of the CWC Board of Directors will miss his leadership and dedication is a vast understatement.

As President, Paul has given his all to the mission of cleaning up our lagoon and stemming the flow of pollutants that impair the estuary. He has escorted numerous members of the news media and local elected officials on tours aboard his pontoon charter boat, Just Bumminit, trying to educate them on the importance of restoring sea grass cover --the foundation of marine life in the lagoon-- to grow populations of fish, shellfish and manatees back to abundance. Paul's waterborne tours have generated local, national and even international media stories on our estuary-- including articles in Readers Digest, the Wall Street Journal, and Japanese media. Paul was key to stopping the expansion of the Oslo Road boat ramp, which would have exacerbated lagoon pollution. He worked with the Indian River County Firefighters to make the CWC the beneficiary of last summer's offshore fishing tournament which raised money to clean up the lagoon.

With Paul's leadership, all of CWC's very active board members have launched or facilitated numerous clean water initiatives to benefit our community, including:

  • Sponsoring a public speaker series to educate our community on environmental issues;

  • Banning the application of biosolids (partially-treated sewage) to fertilize agricultural lands in the county;

  • Compiling an annual questionnaire quizzing prospective candidates for local elected office on their stance on water issues;

  • Helping the city of Vero Beach pass a stormwater utility assessment;

  • Encouraging local municipalities to stop using glyphosate-the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp-for weed control;

  • Testing lagoon waters for enteric bacteria which inhabit the intestines of humans and animals; its presence indicates fecal pollution from stormwater run-off-including pet, wildlife and human waste;

  • Restoring native salt marsh habitat to a drainage canal in Riverside Park;

  • Supporting Pelican Island Audubon's project to plant a native garden at the Board of County Commissioners building;

  • Opposing the city of Sebastian's annexation of Graves Brothers property in 2019 and today;

  • Supporting Audubon's River Kidz program, which gets local youth involved in restoring the lagoon;

  • Providing water quality oversight for the city of Vero Beach's marina expansion;

  • Advocating for a no-discharge zone for vessels in the lagoon;

  • Implementing an anchorage limitation area in the lagoon to discourage abandoned and derelict boats;

  • Urging increased safety patrols and vessel inspections by local marine law enforcement agencies;

  • Working with marine law enforcement agencies to expedite removal of derelict boats from the lagoon;

  • Working with the county and other local entities to strengthen basin management action plans for reducing pollutants in the lagoon;

  • Urging the county to develop a countywide water supply and stormwater plan.

  • Promoting the county's successful $50 million land acquisition bond referendum.

  • Signing up more than 1,000 local residents, businesses, civic organizations and others as CWC partners - YOU!

  • Providing input and maintaining oversight on important water issues before the Legislature;

  • Enhancing CWC's clean water initiatives with individual financial contributions to the organization;

  • Employing careful accounting and management of organization funds;

  • Achieving a balanced budget with no debt, thereby earning a platinum level status from, a database of non-profit organizations worldwide.

The CWC has accomplished quite a lot with Paul at the helm, and will continue to work diligently to restore our lagoon to its former glory-- now under the very capable leadership of Judy Orcutt as Acting President. We look forward to achieving even more of our clean water goals going forward.



The CWC is looking to expand its Board of Directors. We need new members who are dedicated and enthusiastic about restoring the lagoon and we especially need a volunteer bookkeeper. If you are interested, please send your resume and reasons for wanting to serve to



The CWC has pledged up to $2,500 to sponsor this summer's ten-day, science-based Stormwater Camp for kids in partnership with Pelican Island Audubon Society and Indian River County's stormwater division. A dozen kids from the sixth- through eighth grades will learn how to run water quality tests in the Indian River Lagoon, measuring water temperature, salinity, turbidity, phosphate and nitrate levels, pH, and dissolved oxygen. The camp is organized by CWC board member Donna Halleran, with county stormwater educator Alexis Peralta as lead teacher, and headquartered at Pelican Island Audubon House. There will also be two 5-day sessions of nature camp for recent graduates of the Audubon Advocate program.



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