Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was at the Sebastian Inlet State Park Friday morning with Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton.
DeSantis announced $53 million in funding in what he said: “is just one more step” to improve the lagoon’s health. The monies will be used for water quality improvement projects that will eliminate more than 3,000 septic tanks and upgrade three wastewater treatment facilities.
“We took a strategic approach when reviewing these projects. These projects and the resulting nutrient reductions will have a really positive effect on all these areas but particularly the lagoon, and this is continuing with our commitment to protecting and improving Florida’s water resources,” DeSantis said.
The governor also said the lagoon covers 40 percent of Florida’s east coast and is an important resource for many plant and animal species.
Hamilton said there are “significant challenges due to excess nutrients” that’s been harming the lagoon. However, the projects will reduce the nutrients and improve the lagoon’s water quality.
“Specifically targeting things like nitrogen and phosphorus, all of which can increase the property, you know the intensity, and the duration of algae blooms, which leads to the degradation of seagrass,” Hamilton stated.
The City of Sebastian has been the leader in helping to improve the water quality for the Indian River Lagoon. But it’s more of a state problem than the local municipalities.
Sebastian Daily spoke with some of the local environmentalists on Friday. They are happy that something is finally being done but warned there’s a long road ahead before we begin to see improvement.
Earlier this month, the City Council passed its Integrated Pest Management plan for Sebastian, which will improve water quality and help lagoon health.