Florida DEP awards more than $24M to improve Indian River Lagoon water quality

fl-dep-logo-pngTALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has awarded more than $24 million in funding for 12 recent projects to continue efforts to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. These projects will help communities reduce stormwater nutrient loads, continue stormwater treatment improvements, reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution, and eliminate muck sediments. The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of three lagoons – Mosquito Lagoon, the Banana River and the Indian River – on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. The lagoon contains five state parks, four federal wildlife refuges and a national seashore.

“We are committed to partnering with local communities to expedite and implement projects that improve water quality and contribute to the ongoing restoration of the Indian River Lagoon, which is vital to Florida’s environment, economy and quality of life,” said DEP Interim Secretary Ryan Matthews.

Project funding is provided by the state’s Total Maximum Daily Load Water Quality Restoration Grant, legislative appropriation grants and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant.

The Florida DEP is working aggressively to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon by identifying and funding additional wastewater and stormwater projects to reduce the amount of nutrients going into the lagoon, as well as dredging projects to remove muck from the bottom of the lagoon.

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Families” budget proposes funding for a 50/50 state matching grant program with local communities, including those along Indian River Lagoon, to provide funding to encourage residents to move from septic tanks to sewer systems in order to curb pollution that is currently entering impacted water bodies. Additionally, this proposal will support local communities to help build wastewater systems to meet the increased demand for wastewater services.

Read about projects benefiting the Indian River Lagoon.