MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. — The legislative session in Tallahassee has ended and among the final votes is the only bill that is constitutionally mandated to pass is the budget, currently totaling $113.7 billion.

What You Need To Know

  • Roughly $104.9 million has been earmarked for projects connected to the Indian River Lagoon

  • More than $30 million of the IRL-related funds are set to head to Brevard County

  • The Marine Resources Council anticipates that these projects will be effective in helping to restore the health of the lagoon

Among the funding projects itemized across the State of Florida, a significant chunk is being set aside for projects connected to the Indian River Lagoon. As the bill is being considered, $104.9 million is being set aside for the estuary running along the eastern coast of the state.

Nearly $5 million of that is being set aside “for the Restore Indian River Lagoon Inflow Project,” according to the bill.

Ken Parks, the development director for the Marine Resources Council, said the bill is a promising sign for the lagoon. He said awareness of the IRL’s ailing health reached a high point.

“We just completed a region-wide study that tells us that people are 97% aware of the problem, but they’re not aware of what’s being done,” Parks said. “So, we’re feeling that, that’s not right, that it would be right if they actually knew that their tax money, like here in Brevard County, that the work with the Army Corps of Engineers in Martin County and so many examples, are really producing incredible results.”

Instead of its annual report card, the MRC is now publishing a progress report. It developed a new, three phrase mantra that they believe will better connect with stakeholders:

  • Way to go!
  • Slow the flow.
  • Get in the know.

Parks said it’s not only important to help reinforce the measures that are having a positive impact on the lagoon, but also to encourage more people to learn about what’s being effective.

“If you live here and you love your paradise, you need to get in the know. And by doing that, you’re going to explore a little bit and you’re going to find the part of you that means something to this place,” Parks said. “It’s encouraging, as you say. It’s encouraging. It’s wonderful.”

Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest projects being funded in Brevard County:

  • Grand Canal Phase 5 Environmental Dredging and Interstitial Water Treatment - $9,000,000
  • Eau Gallie NE Construction Environmental Dredging and Inerstitial Water Treatment - $5,010,244
  • Indian River Lagoon, Micco/Little Hollywood Septic to Sewer - $4,500,000
  • Sykes Creek Phase 2 Environmental Dredging and Interstitial Water Treatment - $4,324,002
  • Palm Bay Septic to Sewer Conversions - $2,100,000
  • South Beaches 2nd Deep Injection Well - $2,000,000
  • North Brevard Water Treatment Plant Expansion and Potable Water Wells - $1,500,000
  • South Brevard Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant - $1,500,000
  • Cocoa Beach Gravity Sewer Rehabilitation - $1,000,000

“People think we’re a divided state. We are a united state when it comes to this lagoon and to our environment. There is agreement,” Parks said. “Are there differences? Absolutely. Do people love their paradise? Absolutely.”