Big aquarium project shares more details
ORLANDO, Fla. — Editor’s note: This story is available as a result of a content partnership between WFTV and the Orlando Business Journal. The Brevard Zoo’s aquarium project at Port Canaveral is slated to open in 2027 — and the details for that opening have become clearer. Click here to read the full story on the Orlando Business Journal’s website. VIDEO: Fundraising for Brevard Zoo’s Aquarium and Conservation Campus project nearly half complete The fundraising campaign for the Brevard County Zoo’s Aquarium and Conservation Campus is nearing the halfway mark with more than $47 million raised. (Melonie Holt, WFTV.com/WFTV)©2022 Cox Media Groupwftv.com
Brevard County Zoo project adds new designs
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Brevard County Zoo will soon get some new additions based on a proposed project. The zoo released renderings of a new aquarium and conservation campus that will be built along the Indian River Lagoon. “A major addition that we’ve added is a design for a manatee critical care facility, which is badly needed on the east coast of Florida,” said Keith Winsten, executive director of Brevard Zoo. Winsten said he believes the project will be a major economic push for east Central Florida. Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 11 “Kids Name Kids”: Brevard Zoo letting children pick names of baby goats “Kids Name Kids”: Brevard Zoo letting children pick names of baby goats“The prediction is that it would end up leading to over 900 jobs, probably $80 [to] $90 million of economic impact,” he said.wftv.com
Florida, federal wildlife officials prepare to aid manatees ‘in the years to come’
After a record number of manatee deaths mostly linked to malnutrition, state and federal wildlife officials hope to double rescue and rehabilitation capacity before the sea cows again congregate in warm waters during the winter.
Florida manatee feeding plan ends, starvation still an issue
So far this year, Florida officials have confirmed 479 manatee deaths, compared with more than 600 last year at this same time. There are only an estimated 7,520 of the animals in the wild today, according to the state wildlife commission. Although the feeding program is seen as a success, many manatees are still debilitated from malnutrition and won't immediately recover, officials said. As of Thursday, there were more than 80 manatees in care at 14 facilities, almost all suffering from starvation. “What's going to solve the problem is restoring the Indian River Lagoon,” said Tom Reinert, FWC spokesman for the manatee program.wftv.com
‘Soil Guardian’ program looks to improve water quality of Indian River Lagoon and St. Johns River
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension is looking for homeowners to participate in a new program to promote healthy gardening and improve water quality along the St. Johns River and Indian River Lagoon. The Soil Guardian program is part of an effort by UF/IFAS Extension in Brevard County to educate homeowners on how to improve the overall health of the soil by creating organic matter that promotes healthy plants. Read: Researchers studying presence of potentially toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in the Indian River LagoonOrganizers said the objective of the program is to increase soil organic matter over the next four years. WATCH: Volusia County looking to use technology to help Indian River Lagoon surviveAs part of the program participants will receive a newsletter four times a year on how to improve soil health and agree to have their soil tested once a year at a cost of $10. ©2022 Cox Media Groupwftv.com
Researchers studying presence of potentially toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in the Indian River Lagoon
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The University of Florida is halfway through a 3-year study of “forever chemicals” in the Indian River Lagoon. Researchers provided an update Thursday evening on the project they hope will soon help area residents make more informed decisions about avoiding the contaminants. WATCH: Brevard County reports increased number of manatee deathsResearchers and “citizen scientists” have collected surface water and soil samples up and down the Indian River Lagoon. Photos: Researchers looking into cancer concerns from ‘forever chemicals’ in the Indian River LagoonExpand Autoplay Image 1 of 13 Researchers looking into cancer concerns from ‘forever chemicals’ in the Indian River LagoonPFAS are a group of human-made chemicals found in a variety of consumer and industrial products. UF researchers are using an $800,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to study perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the Indian River Lagoon with good reason.wftv.com
Officials: Florida manatees eating lettuce in pilot program
Manatees at risk of starvation because native seagrass is dying due to water pollution have for the first time started eating lettuce under an experimental feeding program, Florida wildlife officials said Friday. The test facility on the east coast's Indian River Lagoon had its first takers of romaine lettuce Thursday, leading more manatees to join in, said Ron Mezich, chief of the effort’s provisioning branch at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.news.yahoo.com
Titusville eyes paying for sewage infrastructure projects with federal relief funds
Under increasing firefrom environmentalists for recent sewage spills impacting the beleaguered Indian River Lagoon, the city of Titusville is eyeing funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover the costs of a pending list of infrastructure plans.
WATCH: 600,000 clams planted in Indian River Lagoon to help improve water quality
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Hundreds of thousands of clams were planted in the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County Thursday. https://youtu.be/sEbhDkpJqX8 For donations and more info, check out https://www.whitney.ufl.edu/conservation--sea-turtle-hospital/clams/ Posted by IRL Clam Restoration Project on Saturday, September 11, 2021Osborne says the lagoon’s seagrass is fundamental to the entire system. All those things that disappear, it’s all because our water quality has degraded.”Launched in 2018, the Indian River Lagoon Clam Restoration Project began planting clams in the lagoon in 2019. For more information on how to contribute to the clam restoration initiative, click here. Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 13 Indian River Lagoon clam restoration project 600,000 clams were planted in the Indian River Lagoon on Thursday.wftv.com
Manatee feeding program ready as winter tests survival
Dying Manatees Florida FILE - Manatees crowd together near the warm-water outflows from Florida Power & Light's plant in Riviera Beach, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. On Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, state wildlife officials say a test feeding plan will save many threatened manatees from starvation, as winter approaches Florida. But they say the manatees will still face the threat of manmade water pollution stifling their food supply. There are between 7,000 and 8,000 manatees — also known as sea cows — in Florida, according to state estimates. “We all know the underlying problem is water quality,” said Larry Williams, Florida state supervisor with the U.S.wftv.com
Lawmakers tour Indian River Lagoon surveying issues contributing to increased manatee deaths
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — On Thursday, two local lawmakers, representatives Rene Plasencia and Thad Altman, took a tour of the Indian River Lagoon to get an up-close look at issues contributing to increased manatee deaths. “It’s the diminishing quality of the water that we have here, the loss of our sea grass, the loss of visibility which is one of the reasons we’re losing that sea grass and marine life, specifically the manatees,” Plasencia said. READ: Manatee, calf released near Blue Spring State Park after months of rehabilitationAs of last week, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission had documented 905 manatee deaths this year. More than a third of those happened in Brevard County, primarily from starvation during the colder months when manatees migrated through areas of the Indian River Lagoon where the majority of sea grass has died off. “They’re dying because of the loss of sea grass, but so many things in the lagoon depend on seagrass juvenile invertebrates, juvenile fishes.wftv.com
Florida breaks annual manatee death record in first 6 months
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that 841 manatee deaths were recorded between Jan. 1 and July 2, breaking the previous record of 830 that died in 2013 because of an outbreak of toxic red tide. The TCPalm website reports that more than half the deaths have died in the Indian River Lagoon and its surrounding areas in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. “Unprecedented manatee mortality due to starvation was documented on the Atlantic coast this past winter and spring,” Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute wrote as it announced the record Friday. The manatee was once classified as endangered by the federal government, but it was reclassified as threatened in 2017. The federal government says approximately 6,300 manatees live in Florida waters, up from about 1,300 in the early 1990s.wftv.com
Disappearing seagrass hurting beloved manatees in Florida
The situation is threatening a number of species, including manatees, who depend on seagrass for food. An expert who has spent 40 years studying manatees in Central Florida said dead manatees are being found with nearly nothing in their stomachs. Essentially, it’s an emergency.”Rose and others blame the seagrass loss for a spike in manatee deaths this winter. In all of 2020, there were 637 manatee deaths across Florida. AdThe Indian River Lagoon system stretches 165 miles from Volusia County south to Port St. Lucie.
Indian River Lagoon report: Water quality steady or improving while seagrass continues to decline
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. 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. “I think that we have not reached a point of no return,” Dr. Souto said.
Indian River Lagoon fish kill reports continue to rise, worrying officials
Barbara Williams noticed an odor emanating from the ailing Indian River Lagoon on Saturday in Cocoa. And when she walked toward her dock at her Indian River Drive home, she spotted washed-up casualties from an ongoing algal bloom. The St. Johns River Water Management District and partner organizations continue receiving reports of fish kills in the Indian River Lagoon from the past few days, News 6 partner Florida Today reported. Low dissolved-oxygen concentrations have also been recorded in lagoon water in Titusville, SJRWMD officials reported Saturday. To report an Indian River Lagoon fish kill, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline at 800-636-0511 or visit the agency’s online fish kill report page.
New Indian River Lagoon report card expected to show more pollution concerns
PALM BAY, Fla. – A scientist will present the Marine Resources Council’s third annual report card scoring the health of the Indian River Lagoon and it’s once again expected to show continuing challenges. Since 2018, the Marine Resources Council has presented an annual lagoon report card. The report card scores each region of the lagoon on algae, seagrass, phosphorus, nitrogen and turbidity. The third annual report card will be presented on Dec. 8. Those interested in donating to the research can also contact the Marine Resources Council.
Two Projects Move Forward To Help Improve Water Quality in Region
The core mission work of the St. Johns River Water Management District took another step forward earlier this month with two projects to help improve water quality. A project to benefit the Indian River Lagoon — the Crane Creek / M-1 Canal flow restoration project — is moving forward with award of a contract for construction. This project will provide substantial water quality benefits to the lagoon while restoring flow and providing additional, clean water supply to the St. Johns River. The canal currently diverts stormwater flow from 5,300 acres of the historic St. Johns River basin through Crane Creek to the lagoon. This program funds innovative technology projects to test new processes for dealing with water quality challenges.flaglerlive.com
Algae blooms turn Indian River Lagoon green and stinky, again
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Algae blooms are turning parts of the Indian River Lagoon green again in Brevard County. Brevard County Public Information Officer Don Walker said for the last couple weeks the weather conditions have helped and the county has not received reports of any major fish kills. On Sept. 11, county officials warned of a possible fish kill like the ones seen in 2016 and 2018 due to the wet weather in recent weeks. Brevard County voters approved a half-cent sales tax in 2011 to generate more than $400 million for restoration of the lagoon. Ron DeSantis signed bills designed to address environmental issues ranging from sea level rise to blue-green algae blooms.
Launch gives spectators pride, reprieve from troubled times
We’re back in the race,” as the SpaceX rocket lifted through clouds above Kennedy Space Center. Saturday's launch was the first of NASA astronauts from Florida since 2011, when the space shuttle program ended, and the first by a private company. Many spectators had been there just days earlier on Wednesday for the first launch attempt, which was scrubbed due to the weather. At Space View Park in Titusville, few spectators wore masks and there wasn't much social distancing. “Now look at all the people who are here seeing astronauts leave from U.S. soil.”___Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter: @MikeSchneiderAP
Southeast Volusia Audubon Society breaks ground on Plants for Birds Garden
Southeast Volusia Audubon Society broke ground Thursday, Feb. 13, on its Plants for Birds Garden that overlooks an estuary in the Indian River Lagoon at the Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd. Plants for Birds Garden is a demonstration garden of native plants and trees that will provide habitat for insects, birds and other wildlife. The project is designed to educate and inspire the community to create these safe, attractive, native habits in their own yards and patios. SEVAS, and other chapters in the United States, have been encouraged by National Audubon to launch programs and projects in their communities. For information about the project or SEVAS, call Riddel at 386-314-6543 or visit SEVolusiaAudubon.org.news-journalonline.com
House looks at lagoon cleanup funds
TALLAHASSEE A request for $50 million in tax dollars to help stop raw sewage from flowing into the Indian River Lagoon along Floridas East Coast started moving forward last week in the state House. Fine said he would support proposals to pay for lagoon projects by dedicating money that voters approved in a 2014 constitutional amendment aimed at boosting land and water conservation. What we have in the Indian River Lagoon is something that is even more insidious, and thats the brown algae, Altman said. Along with the Indian River Lagoon proposal, the House panel Wednesday also signed off on a series of other proposed projects as the 2020 session gets ready to start in January. During the 2019 session, House members pitched more than 1,600 projects that combined would have required $3.7 billion.news-journalonline.com
Florida House looks at cleanup money for Indian River Lagoon
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A request for $50 million in tax dollars to help stop raw sewage from flowing into the Indian River Lagoon along Florida's East Coast started moving forward Wednesday in the state House. Fine said he would support proposals to pay for lagoon projects by dedicating money that voters approved in a 2014 constitutional amendment aimed at boosting land and water conservation. "What we have in the Indian River Lagoon is something that is even more insidious, and that's the brown algae," Altman said. Along with the Indian River Lagoon proposal, the House panel Wednesday also signed off on a series of other proposed projects as the 2020 session gets ready to start in January. During the 2019 session, House members pitched more than 1,600 projects that combined would have required $3.7 billion.
Like humans, Indian River Lagoon Dolphins develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria, study shows
A new study confirmed bottlenose dolphins in Florida's Indian River Lagoon are susceptible to antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can also be harmful to humans. The researchers studied a total of 171 bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon. Studying these particular dolphins is important because humans share the water with these creatures, making people susceptible to the same bacteria. What's causing antibacterial resistance and how to helpAccording to Schaefer, there are two different factors causing the resistant bacteria. What else dolphins can tell us about human health problemsAntibiotic-resistant bacteria isn't the only common health problem humans share with dolphins.
Congressman Michael Waltz pushes to add protections for Indian River Lagoon
Florida's Indian River Lagoon will be added to a list of waterways where algae blooms will be assessed under a measure approved in Washington last weekCongressman Michael Waltz won a vote in a committee hearing in Washington, D.C., last week that could be good news for the Indian River Lagoon. The adoption of the amendment is "a great thing" for the lagoon, said Duane DeFreese, executive director of the five-county Indian River Lagoon Council, which includes Volusia County. A massive algae superbloom swept the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon in 2011, and blooms have plagued the lagoon ever since. The initial two years of algae blooms killed more than 40,000 acres of sea grass and hundreds of dolphins, manatees and pelicans. The amendment assures our Indian River Lagoon is included in federal assessments and evaluations for the first ever federal action plan, she said.news-journalonline.com