TOXIC WATER: No state of emergency yet for Indian River Lagoon

SLC Commissioners not expected to vote on measure

While St. Lucie County Commissioners are not expected to vote Tuesday night on a proposal to declare a state of emergency for the Indian River Lagoon, the county has moved forward with its proposal for an emergency cleanup of these waterways.

 

Visiting from Colorado, Melissa Maurer takes a spin in the Indian River. She and her dad made sure they steered clear of the more toxic waterways.

 

"Defintely notice the sulfur smell.  It doesn't look as clear," said Maurer.

 

The water is cleaner farther north in the St. Lucie Estuary. St. Lucie County Coastal Management Director Jim David wants to keep it that way.

 

"If we don't do this, we may lose the last living sections of the Indian River Lagoon," said David.

 

David's idea involves using booms along the Jensen Beach Causeway and elsewhere to block the polluted freshwater pushing north from Martin County, and then using pumps to bring in salt water from the ocean to help flush the lagoon out.

 

"There are no negative ramifications in terms off water quality.  What we're talking about is cleaning up Martin County in the Indian River Lagoon and protecting Martin County resources as well as St. Lucie County resources," said David.

 

Right now, the official position in Martin County is that the county has no position because commissioners haven't had a chance to look at the proposal in more detail. But we did find a local environmentalist who does have some issues with it.

 

Mark Perry with the Florida Oceanographic Society says he supports declaring a state of emergency but isn't on board with David's plan.

 

"It's still allowing all that polluted water and all the toxic algae blooms to happen within the St. Lucie Estuary and part of the lagoon around the St. Lucie Estuary which is a real critical seagrass habitat," said Perry.

 

He says the better idea is to stop the freshwater flow at the source. 

 

With no declaration of emergency Tuesday night,  the next time St. Lucie Commissioners meet will be in two weeks. 

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