Indian River Lagoon report: Water quality steady or improving while seagrass continues to decline

Marine Resources Council presents its third annual lagoon report card

PALM BAY, Fla. – Seagrass is disappearing from the Indian River Lagoon causing hungry manatees to have to migrate to find their food. It’s one of the concerning conclusions from Tuesday’s virtual presentation of the third annual lagoon report card.

The Marine Resources Council did report some positive news, too.

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Scoring the latest data available from 2019, the Indian River from north Brevard County to Melbourne got a decent score for its water quality - a 75 out of 100.

That score was before the river suffering new fish kills like Thanksgiving at State Road 520 in Merritt Island.

After the 2016 fish kills, Brevard County voters approved paying hundreds of millions of dollars over 10 years for cleanup efforts.

Supporters said that after decades of decline, it would be a long recovery for the lagoon.

And despite some of her reporting Tuesday, Dr. Leesa Souto still spoke positively about restoring one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere.

“I think that we have not reached a point of no return,” Dr. Souto said. “We just need to not keep doing what we’ve always done and expect a different result. We can’t keep developing, can’t keep using the same stormwater management.”

Dr. Souto said doing your part includes disconnecting your lawn from chemicals and volunteering to clean up.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.