The Clean Water Coalition is proud to welcome Sandy and Stephanie Herzog, local owners of Sandy’s Furniture, as its 1000th partner in Clean Water Coalition’s mission to protect and restore our waters. Since their opening in 1969, Sandy’s Furniture has been proud to provide the community of Vero Beach with stylish home furnishings. They also strive to serve as an inspiration for simple and practical ways to create a happy, comfortable lifestyle. This dedication to well- being does not stop with the home. The health of our local ecology is key to sustaining our own economy. The waters of Indian River County are in crisis and in urgent need of both protection and restoration. Through strong local activism, and with the support of local retailers, Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County is working to implement these necessary investments in our community.
One of the Clean Water Coalition’s local initiatives has been monitoring three sites in the Indian River Lagoon for enteric bacteria. Enteric bacteria can indicate the presence of human or animal feces in the water. When present in high concentrations and if ingested or exposed through a cut or sore, enteric bacterium may cause human disease, infections, or rashes.
The Department of Health monitors the beaches and Wabasso Causeway with funding from Florida’s Clean Beaches Program. The CWC felt more sampling in the lagoon would fill an important data gap.
A high percentage of the samples to date has resulted in a “poor” rating based on EPA’s Recreational Water Quality Criteria. To view the data go to the CWC website: https://www.cwcirc.org/water-quality-monitoring
The CWC is also organizing for the coming 2021 legislative session. Our Indian River Lagoon has been declared impaired (polluted) by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, along with many other Florida waterways.
We know the sources of pollution, mainly leaking septic systems and stormwater run-off. We know what action is needed to prevent this pollution. But Florida is lacking adequate funding to address this economic and health crisis. Since 2010, administrative budget cuts have drastically reduced staff and funding for critical Florida agencies tasked with protecting our water quality and drinking water supply.
CWC is working to partially restore funding for the Water Management Districts. A state-wide survey was conducted by FAU that indicated most Floridians are concerned about water and are willing to pay higher fees to help clean up Florida’s waterways. This water quality crisis must be solved as it is a threat to the quality of life for all Floridians.
CWC will keep our partners informed about potential funding solutions offered during the legislative session. The support of our concerned partners, now numbering 1000, will be important to this effort.