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Indian River Lagoon

Florida Commits $53 million in Wastewater Funds to Boost Water Quality in the Indian River Lagoon

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Melbourne Beach Friday. Image: The Florida Channel
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Melbourne Beach Friday. Image: The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $53 million from Florida’s Wastewater Grant Program to help the Indian River Lagoon, where hundreds of manatees have died this year.

The announcement came at a press conference Friday in Melbourne Beach.

The governor and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton announced funds to reduce the nutrients — the nitrogen and phosphorous — that go into the Indian River Lagoon along Florida’s east coast.

They’ll remove or replace 3,000 septic systems and upgrade three water treatment plants. An excess of nutrients has caused increased algal blooms and the loss of seagrass, which is what the manatees eat.

So far this year, Florida reports a record 946 manatee deaths, including 320 in Brevard County alone.

Hamilton says the problem was a long time coming and will take continued efforts to resolve.

“It is vital to the environmental health and the economic health of this community to do everything we can to restore the health of this water body,” he said.

These projects are more 45 percent of the state’s wastewater grants this year.
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