By Isadora Rangel
March 22, 2017
TALLAHASSEE — The Indian River Lagoon might get a $30 million annual boost this year through a bill a Senate committee approved Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield, who represents the bulk of the 156-mile estuary in Brevard and Indian River counties, filed legislation to clean the estuary troubled in recent years by brown tides, fish kills and manatee and dolphin deaths. The bill would set aside money to buy conservation land, increase recreational opportunities, remove muck, convert septic tanks to central sewer and address stormwater runoff, Mayfield said.
The $30 million would be split evenly between the St. Johns River and South Florida water management districts and would be used to address pollution in the entire Indian River Lagoon system, which stretches from Volusia County to the Jupiter Inlet in Martin County. The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee approved Senate Bill 982 unanimously and two other committees have to approve it before it’s ready for a floor vote by the full Senate. The House version, HB 1033, hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing.
The bill is one of four that address estuary pollution making their way in the Legislature.