While I personally feel that TC Palm is far too sympathetic to the red tape politics behind finding a solution to our crisis and overplays what is actually being done to improve conditions, I’m very appreciative that they’re continuously running articles on the subject. Just read them with a grain of salt.
What’s being done to protect the Treasure Coast’s valuable natural resource?
By Tyler Treadway
Posted July 7, 2013 at 4 a.m.
PHOTO BY ALEX BOERNER, TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS
Indian River Lagoon, Fort Pierce.
Senator Joe Negron speaks to a crowd about a variety of issues concerning the Indian River Lagoon during a recent forum at the Press Journal.
PROTECTING THE LAGOON
Deaths of dolphins, manatees and pelicans in the north. Discharges of polluted Lake Okeechobee water in the south. Seagrass loss, fertilizer runoff and septic tank leaks throughout.
The problems facing the Indian River Lagoon are extensive and complex. So are the research, restoration efforts, construction projects and number of advocacy groups — all working to bring the dying lagoon back to life.
Stirring politics into the mix complicates matters further. The 156-mile lagoon touches six counties and multiple municipalities, whose boards have varying opinions on how to deal with the lagoon.
As the problems become more dire, the politicians, scientists and advocates seem to be focusing on the lagoon as never before.
As a result of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers’ two legislative forums in June, Sen. Joe Negron has ordered an official Florida Senate hearing on Lake Okeechobee discharges. He will convene federal, state and local government leaders, scientists and stakeholders to determine how state lawmakers can best play a role in slowing the dumping of polluted lake water into local estuaries.
“We need to have all the decision makers in the same room because otherwise it deteriorates into recitation of talking points and blame shifting,” Negron said June 13.
Sen. Bill Nelson announced June 28 filing a bipartisan bill to provide $20 million for additional research of toxic algae through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The legislation would require looking into farmland nutrients, stormwater runoff and all other possible culprits in creating the harmful blooms.
Freshman Indian River County Commissioner Tim Zorc sponsored a forum on the lagoon and is forming the Indian River Lagoon Stakeholders Working Group, with a first meeting scheduled in August.
“People now know the problems,” Zorc said, “and they want to get to the solutions.”
How to contact your Florida lawmakers
• BILL NELSON, D-FLA.
716 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
413 Clematis St., Suite 210, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Toll-free in Florida: 888-671-4091
• MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.
317 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
402 S. Monroe St., Suite 2105E, Tallahassee, FL 32399
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
• BILL POSEY, R-FLA.
Representing 8th Congressional District: Brevard, Indian River, Osceola, Polk counties
120 Cannon House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Building C, Melbourne, FL 32940
• PATRICK MURPHY, D-FLA.
Representing 18th Congressional District: Martin, St. Lucie, and northern Palm Beach counties
1517 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
171 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart, FL 34994
121 SW Port St. Lucie Blvd., Room 187, Port St. Lucie, FL 34984
Email: contact him via http://patrickmurphy.house.gov/