It’s no secret the Indian River Lagoon is in a state of ecological collapse. The efforts of those involved in planning and executing IRL restoration deserve our gratitude. Nonetheless, we believe that some of the priorities of the Brevard County restoration plan funded by a half-cent sales tax are misaligned. This is the order of priorities as we see them.
Everyone agrees that the first step is to stabilize the IRL. This is why dredging muck — the legacy of decades of mismanagement — is important. However, muck dredging is receiving too much of the available funds. The muck removal process is not as effective as it first appeared in the Save the Lagoon Plan because leaching from the biosolids removed from dredging are quickly returning into the IRL. More important, less funding is available to address fixing the sources of the illness.
The top priority should be addressing the top inputs of nutrients into the IRL: septic and sewage. Failures of Brevard County’s outdated sewage treatment infrastructure have become regular news items. In addition, a significant portion of septic systems in Brevard County are introducing nutrients into the IRL. This will be expensive and time consuming, but it must be done for the long-term benefits. There are numerous examples from other locations of the benefits of this approach.