We saw this update on work in Florida and continue to be impressed how Florida is capitalizing on Federal Funds to improve its environment with oyster restoration. They are also creating jobs. The original article can be found here.
An advisory board that suggests ways to improve the Indian River Lagoon signed off on $1.2 million in projects Wednesday.
|Map of Indian River Lagoon Florida|
The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Advisory Board recommends how the program spends federal money from the Clean Water Act and money from the state lagoon specialty license plate sales.
|Mangroves, like oysters provide shelter for other species enhancing the biodiversity and biomass within the Indian River Lagoon|
The 12 projects they signed off on Wednesday include a $141,000 oyster reef restoration by Brevard Zoo and Brevard County. That project ranked the highest among the 12. "We're seeing 40 to 50 percent survival on the pilot reefs," Virginia Barker, interim director of Brevard's Natural Resources Management Department.The zoo and the county have been testing various methods of creating new oyster reefs.
Ranking second on the list is an $85,558 project by the University of Central Florida and Titusville to create a "living shoreline" restoration project in the city.
The project includes using oyster shell bags, smooth cordgrass and mangroves to create a living shoreline at a city park on Main Street.
The most expensive item on the list is a $283,961 project to provide stormwater treatment for an 18-acre drainage basin that now discharges runoff into the Halifax River in Volusia County.
The lagoon program's draft work plan still awaits approval from the St. Johns River Water Management District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Those approvals are expected by June or July. The plan covers the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The EPA will contribute half the $1.2 million. The other half comes from the Indian River Lagoon specialty license plate, the water management district or other funding partners.
Local officials also want the Florida Legislature to spend $46 million this year on the Indian River Lagoon for projects within Brevard County, double what state lawmakers provided last year.
About $25 million would go toward dredging muck. Other projects would reduce runoff and groundwater pollution, and help to restore oysters and clams.