Duane E. DeFreese speaks to Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County

Duane E. DeFreese, Ph. D. delivers his comments on the One Lagoon plan to the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The newly formed Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County met at the Community Church of Vero Beach on March 28 to update the public on plans and progress.

About 150 people were in attendance, including four of five Vero Beach City Council members, the Vero Beach city manager, several past council members, Indian River County Utilities Director Vincent Burke, and County Attorney Dylan Reingold.

CWC President Paul Fafeita provided an update on the coalition’s progress in reigning in land application of biosolids.

“The CWC has worked successfully through our legislative representatives, Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Rep. Erin Grall, to restore some measure of local control over biosolids, and to provide for limitations and groundwater monitoring and reporting,” Mr. Fafeita said. He also discussed CWC efforts to assist Indian River County in accelerating its Septic-to-Sewer program by developing additional means of finance.

Dr. Duane DeFreese, Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon Council National Estuary Program, gave a presentation outlining measures required to restore the Indian River Lagoon to its condition when he first came to the Treasure Coast in the 1970s. Dr. DeFreese prescribed a “nutrient diet” to reduce chemicals from runoff, septic tanks, fertilizer, and agriculture that have fueled algae blooms, and led to a die-off in seagrass and marine diversity.

Rather than a “one-size-fits-all, top-down approach, the IRLNEP One Lagoon strategy envisions each community deciding for itself amongst the menu of options to make the needed nutrient reductions,” Dr.DeFreese said. “This approach recognizes that, although there is one lagoon, the problems in the southern, central and northern lagoon are distinctly different, and it is critical that the public be engaged in problem-solving with local government for the effort to succeed.”

Meeting participants also discussed illegal vessel discharges in the lagoon.

The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Florida not-for-profit corporation. For more information, visit http://ourwaters.org or email captpaulfafeita@aol.com, or call (772) 473-8475.

Find the coalition on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/demandcleanwaters.

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