Indian Riverkeeper statement to Brevard BOCC: You can make a difference
( At BOCC Mtg Northern Indian River Lagoon Fish Kill (3/29/16))
Statement as follows:
Good morning, Marty Baum, Jensen Beach, Indian Riverkeeper.
I support the declaration of an emergency, and setting the lagoon as the top priority
The Banana River lagoon is a special place, with special problems. The fact that the turnover of the water column is terribly slow is our major problem given our nutrient load, taking two years for 50% flush. That issue is a common denominator in the northern lagoons. Essentially, everything that goes in STAYS in until it becomes inculcated by the ecosystem. That means it ends up in the sediments that are now exposed for lack of seagrass. Every wind event brings the legend pollution back up into the water column adding nutrient loading above and beyond storm water runoff. Add to that legend loading a rainstorm sending a months’ worth of accumulated nutrients and toxins blasting in all at once and it was like feeding Red Bull to the brown algae. There are no major canals dumping agricultural wastes to blame, the Banana River lagoon collapsed because of the nutrient loading from those who live around it.
We witnessed this loading.. the very thing that killed EVERY living thing that breaths dissolved oxygen. While we were documenting the kill, we saw fertilizer being improperly applied. The operator was unconcerned when I asked why he wasn’t respecting the setback. He admitted he knew, shrugged his shoulders and moved a couple feet further away, he had no deflector shield.. Next door, a freshly cut lawn had deposited cuttings in our lagoon.
This is an education issue.. the ordinances have been in place for better than two years, yet two glaring examples were demonstrated in front of us, even with death in the air. Somehow, we must reach all three guilty parties here, and make an educational difference. The lawn services, both of them, fertilizing and cutting failed to properly train their employees, and the homeowners are not policing their maintenance. While the homeowners were working their lawn guys were helping to kill the lagoon behind their house. Along with the sewer plant, that has been violating their NPDES permit for years, the septic tanks, and the green lawns, our nearly landlocked lagoon did not have a chance.
Today, YOU have a chance to make a difference.. you will need to LEAD, not waffle, not be bent by pressure from lawn services, or the State of Florida. We already know that the State of Florida will lie through their teeth to protect fertilizer sales, I was here for their biostitute spewing skewed, and cherry picked science.
We MUST have education.. we must stop the nutrient loading, we MUST come together as a Community and take PERSONAL responsibility for what is happening. You will have to make some tough decisions, and if you fail, your entire Community will suffer. This crowd behind me WILL support you as you make these decisions IF you stand up to the inevitable cries of dissent from those who stand to lose money.
Some recommendations for you:
Get serious about education.. even if we have to go door to door. Folks must decide which is more important. The greenest grass on the street, or a healthy living lagoon.
Place a temporary moratorium on ALL fertilizer, insecticide, and herbicide applications until October, the historic ending of the blackout dates. That also means application of herbicides by Cities and the County. Re-evaluate it then.
MORE monitoring. We have for the first time EVER recorded in the water column the events that led to a large fish kill. We need MORE KILROY Suites installed in the upper lagoons. They also have the FAST program that could give us point source and locate the places that are impacting us the most.. help us set priorities.
You CAN make a difference.
Treasuecoast.com would like to personally thank our Indian Riverkeeper, Marty Baum for his incredible work with this issue and all the other issues that come before him. Please make sure you support!