More nutrient monitoring stations coming to Indian River Lagoon

Brevard County commissioners approve installation

VIERA, Fla. – Brevard County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $120,000 for the next year to operate four new nutrient monitoring stations coming to the Indian River Lagoon.

Excess nutrients can come from septic systems and drain water that includes fertilizer runoff, and can cause algae blooms and fish kills.

The money for the project will come from the 10-year sales tax hike approved by voters in 2016.
Commissioners believe more stations are needed, particularly because the ones in place now are controlled by the state.

The county wants its own stations to better understand if ongoing cleanup projects are working.
The machines are constantly collecting data.

"We need to have a means of monitoring either progress or failure if there's a lack of progress or backward momentum," Commissioner Bryan Lober said.

And the good news, according to the county, is the lagoon, lately, is looking healthier.

Brevard County Natural Resources Management Director Virginia Barker said progress is being made.

"I keep hearing reports from fisherman of clear water in places, of seagrass in places, and quite a bit on fish returning," Barker said.

Leaders said more monitoring stations can help them decide to expand on current cleanup projects or to scale them back.

"We do definitely need to know how successful what we're doing is. And I don't think you could ever get too much information," Commissioner Curt Smith said.

The county's natural resources department will choose where the new monitoring stations are placed.

In October, the Brevard County commissioners voted to ban conventional septic tanks that cause nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen to seep into the lagoon from older-model septic tanks.

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