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  • CWC

June Newsletter


The Indian River Lagoon is an important component for the vitality of tourism and real estate along the Treasure Coast.  We need a healthy Lagoon to have a thriving economy. 


The Lagoon has suffered in recent years from water quality problems caused by rapid growth in Florida without adequate infrastructure to protect our waters. 


The cost to build the improvements is high. One of the funding agencies that help local governments is the St. Johns River Water Management District (District). However, the District has been reducing their tax rate each year. It’s time to stop rolling back the millage rate to provide additional funding for water quality improvements. Our quality of life along the Indian River Lagoon depends on it.


If you agree that a strong business community is dependent on a clean Lagoon, please sign the letter to the Governor by clicking here or the link below.


The graph below illustrates seagrass coverage from 2003 to the present, alongside the St. Johns River Water Management District's millage rate. Notably, a decline in the millage rate correlates with reduced seagrass coverage.  Perhaps additional project funding would improve water quality more quickly to restore this vital ecosystem.

While the total area of seagrass expanded in 2023, the density remains low, with gains concentrated in the northern Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and Mosquito Lagoon, offset by losses in the central and southern IRL. Indian River County is located within the Central Indian River Lagoon.


 

Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed approximately $12M in Indian River Lagoon projects, including $375,000 for stormwater outfall upgrades in Indian River County. This impacts our planned baffle box project for nutrient and sediment removal from Stormwater and comes amid a rollback of the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) millage rate, further reducing essential funding.


In the 2021 technical report, “Strategies for Funding Lagoon Restoration” by IRL Lagoon Council, State funding is currently insufficient to meet the estimated $5 billion needed for restoration over the next 20 years.


Sign the letter above to support our environmental and economic future!


 

Derelict Vessel Removal


Five inoperable vessels will be removed from the Lagoon soon, including one visible on the south side of the Barber Bridge, near Memorial Island. Four additional vessels have been authorized for removal and will be handled soon under a separate grant from Fish and Wildlife Services. Clearing the Lagoon of these pollution and navigation hazards has been an ongoing effort for the CWC. We appreciate the dedication and hard work of Melissa Meisenburg, IRC’s Environmental Specialist, who oversees this work.


In another attempt to eliminate the derelict vessel problem, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began a Vessel Turn-In Program in late 2022. The FWC has received 186 applications from owners of at-risk or unwanted vessels. The first two vessels were removed in early March 2023, and the 100th vessel was removed on June 7, 2024! Fifteen more are slated for removal.


This is a voluntary program designed to help owners dispose of their unwanted at-risk vessels before they become derelict. Upon approval of an application, the FWC will take a surrendered vessel and dispose of it at no cost to the boat owner. Removing the vessel before it deteriorates into a derelict condition protects valuable seagrass resources, marine life, and human life.


Since the inception of the program in late 2022, the FWC has received 186 applications from owners of at-risk or unwanted vessels. The first two vessels were removed from Pasco and Pinellas counties in early March 2023, and the 100th vessel was removed from Wakulla County on June 7, 2024. More applications are being reviewed, and 15 more vessels are slated for removal.


FWC is actively taking applications from at-risk vessel owners for the Vessel Turn-In Program. For more information call: 850-488-5600 or visit MyFWC.com/boating and click on “Vessel Turn-In Program."


 

Here is a good explanation of STA’s - Stormwater Treatment Areas.  It is from Martin County where they have 43 STA’s and have connected 6000 septic systems in the last 5 years.


 

My Safe FL Home Program


Don’t miss out on this incredible program! Learn how you can protect your home & family this hurricane season. My Safe Florida Home Program, enacted by the Florida Legislature, is awarding grants to eligible homeowners up to $10,000 for the actual cost of qualifying home hurricane mitigation projects. This program will provide $2 in grant funds for every $1 the homeowner provides.


All Florida owners whose primary residence is site-built, single-family, residential homes or townhouses are eligible to make application for a wind mitigation home inspection. This inspection will identify those elements of your home’s construction which could be improved to mitigate your home against future wind damages. All inspections will be provided to eligible homeowners free of charge by the State. Applications will be reviewed and approved in the order in which they are received until current funding is exhausted.


Applications & new funding becomes available July 1, 2024. New this year, homeowners are able to choose any state-certified contractor and distribute the funding directly. There hasn’t been a better time to protect your home and potentially lower your home insurance premiums by participating in this program. To take advantage & learn more visit this site.


 


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