Indian River Lagoon Workshop Set Tonight In Palm Bay
By Space Coast Daily // October 17, 2013
6-9 p.m. at Ted Moorhead Lagoon House
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County Commissioners will sponsor a workshop on the state of the Indian River Lagoon from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight at the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House, 3275 Dixie Highway NE in Palm Bay. (Map above)
This is an important opportunity for Brevard residents to engage local, state and federal elected officials in a workshop focusing on the state of the Indian River Lagoon.
According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Indian River Lagoon is an important commercial and recreational fishery and economic resource to the state and region, and in Brevard County, the lagoon’s health has been gaining a lot of attention because it has been deteriorating for years.
Joel Steward, a technical program manager with the St. Johns River Water Management District said earlier this year that there are concerns about shifts in the ecological functioning of the lagoon due to excessive nutrients.
The total estimated annual economic value of the lagoon is $3.7 billion, supporting 15,000 full and part-time jobs and providing recreational opportunities for 11 million people per year.
Joel Steward, a technical program manager with the St. Johns River Water Management District said earlier this year that there are concerns about shifts in the ecological functioning of the lagoon due to excessive nutrients. He also linked recent meteorological conditions, including drought and cold winters, to long-term anthropogenic stress on the lagoon’s ecology.
PANEL MEMBERS INCLUDE POLITICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS
Tonight’s workshop, hosted by the Marine Resources Council, will feature a panel of local, state and federal officials as well as area environmentalists.
Panel members include Brevard County commissioners; U.S. Congressman Bill Posey; members of the state Legislature; Space Coast League of Cities leadership; Troy Rice of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program; Dr. Leesa Souto of the Marine Resources Council; Dr. Grant Gilmore of Estuarine, Coastal and Ocean Sciences Inc.; and Keith Winston, Brevard Zoo.
The event, which is open to the public, can also be viewed live on the Brevard County web site.
Limited parking is available on-site, and those attending are encouraged to use the off-site parking along Dixie Highway (U.S. 1.) Deputies from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to direct traffic. Shuttle service provided by Space Coast Area Transit will also be available from Intersil, 1650 Robert J. Conlan Boulevard NE, Palm Bay.
NORTH AMERICA’S MOST DIVERSE ESTUARY
The Indian River Lagoon includes a grouping of three lagoons including Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. It was originally named Rio de Ais after the Ais Indian tribe, who lived along the east coast of Florida.
According to Wikipedia, the Indian River Lagoon is North America’s most diverse estuary with more than 4,300 species of plants (2,100) and animals (2,200), including 35 that are listed as threatened or endangered — more than any other estuary in North America.
The Lagoon varies in width from .5 to 5 miles and averages 4 feet in depth and serves as a spawning and nursery ground for many different species of oceanic and lagoon fish and shellfish.
The lagoon also has one of the most diverse bird populations anywhere in America. Nearly 1/3 of the nation’s manatee population lives here or migrates through the Lagoon seasonally. In addition, its ocean beaches provide one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas found in the Western Hemisphere.