top of page
  • Writer's pictureIRNA

Water Conservation Month, IRNA's New News Magazine, and more!


County Commissioners Promotes Water Conservation


Water is at the heart of Florida's thriving communities, and the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners understands its vital importance. That's why they've officially proclaimed April 2024 as Water Conservation Month. This proclamation underscores the need to use water responsibly and protect this precious resource for the health and prosperity of our county.


The resolution stresses that every single resident of Indian River County depends on clean, accessible water. It also highlights the ongoing partnership between the state of Florida, water management districts, and local governments to educate the public about water conservation. April, a typically dry month with high water demand, is a crucial time to bring these efforts to the forefront and encourage water-saving practices.


The proclamation makes a compelling point: every citizen and business in Indian River County can make a positive impact. By adopting simple water conservation habits, we collectively have the power to safeguard our water supply, ensure a healthy environment, and support a strong local economy.


Tips for Saving Water


The proclamation encourages simple changes for substantial water savings:

  • Smart Landscaping: Replace thirsty lawns with xeriscaping, which uses drought-tolerant plants, groundcovers and succulents. Native plants are a winner too!

  • Harvest rainwater: Set up rain barrels to collect water from your roof. You can use this for watering plants or washing outdoor items.

  • Don't use the garbage disposal excessively: Compost food scraps whenever possible. This saves water and creates valuable fertilizer for your garden.

  • Responsible Car Washing: Choose car washes that recycle their water.

  • Choose a broom over a hose: Sweep driveways, patios, and walkways instead of using a hose to blast away debris.

  • There's so much more you can do! Take a look here.


Did You Know?


The St. Johns River Water Management District has mandatory watering restrictions to promote smart water usage. Here's the schedule:


Daylight Saving Time (now)

  • Odd-Numbered Addresses: Wednesday/Saturday

  • Even-Numbered Addresses: Thursday/Sunday

  • Nonresidential properties: Tuesday/Friday

Eastern Standard Time (after the time change)

  • Odd-Numbered Addresses: Saturday

  • Even-Numbered Addresses: Sunday

  • Nonresidential properties: Tuesday


Remember: Water only between dawn and 10 a.m. or between 4 p.m. and dusk. Each irrigation zone is limited to one hour per watering day.


Let's all do our part to conserve this invaluable resource! 💧



 

Get ready for a fun, green day at the Earth Day & Arbor Day Celebration! We'll be excited to see you on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, from 9 AM to 4 PM at Riverview Park in Sebastian, FL. Come celebrate our amazing planet and learn how we can all make a difference.


The Indian River Neighborhood Association will be there, sharing updates on our work to protect the environment, with some family fun! You'll also find booths from awesome organizations like Pelican Island Audubon, Friends of St. Sebastian River, and the Indian River National Estuary Program, and more. There will be tons of cool activities and ways you can get involved.


Mark your calendar for a day of connecting with nature and your community! Whether you're an experienced environmentalist or just love being outdoors, this event is for you. We can't wait to see you there!


Email info@indianriverna.com if you'd like to help us out and man the table for a few hours! We'd love to have you!



 

Are you new? Would you like to receive it in your email every week? If so click here to sign up! We're happy to have you!


Together, we're weaving a tapestry of positive change, stitching a brighter future for Indian River County. Your support is the thread that binds us, making our vision a reality. Every contribution, big or small, is an investment in our collective well-being. Thank you for being a vital part of the movement.


 

Get the Scoop with IRNA's Spring 2024 News Magazine!


We're excited to bring you the latest edition of IRNA News Magazine, a source for news and insights about Indian River County that aren't always covered in the media. This Spring 2024 issue is full of interesting stories about the environmental and development topics that shape our community.


Here's what you'll find inside:


  • Tackling Stormwater in Vero Beach: Learn how Vero Beach is improving stormwater management with their Stormwater Utility and what that means for the future of our city.

  • Debating Growth: Where could Indian River County expand next? We explore the discussion around the Urban Service Boundary.

  • Restoring a Vital Habitat: Get the inside story on Sea & Shoreline's mission to revive seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon.

  • Honoring Heroes on Veteran's Island: Discover the significance of Veteran's Island and the new memorials honoring our veterans.

  • ORCA in Action: Find out about the Ocean Research & Conservation Association's latest projects, including the One Health Fish Monitoring Citizen Science initiative.

  • How Did Our Priorities Fare? See our 2024 Legislative Scorecard to find out how our environmental and growth management goals did in the recent session.


Spread the Word!


We hope you enjoy reading the latest issue of IRNA News Magazine. Share it with your friends and neighbors so they can stay informed about the important issues impacting Indian River County.


Want a hard copy?


If you'd prefer to have a physical copy of the magazine mailed to you, reach out to us at info@indianriverna.com and we'll be happy to send one your way. (If you normally get one by mail, there's a good chance it will be in your mailbox soon!)


Use this magazine as a starting point – dive deeper into the issues that interest you most!


 

Solar eclipse as seen from the Treasure Coast (TCPalm) - On Monday, April 8, 2024, a solar eclipse was visible from the area, offering a captivating sight to those on the Treasure Coast.


ORCA's Living Shoreline Program Expands with New Installation at Riverside Park (Vero News) - ORCA is partnering with the City of Vero Beach to build a new living shoreline project in the Indian River Lagoon, utilizing innovative oyster reef ball modules and community volunteers for construction and monitoring.


Construction for Oslo Road interchange underway in Indian River County (TCPalm) - Construction is underway on a $95.8 million project to build a new Oslo Road interchange with I-95 in Indian River County, including widening Oslo Road and replacing the existing bridge.


Celebrate Earth Month with the ELC (Indian River Guardian) - The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) is hosting a variety of events throughout April to celebrate Earth Month and Earth Day, including nature walks, forest therapy sessions, an Earth Day celebration, and a walking meditation.


Breeze Airways wants to bring more flights to Vero Beach Airport (TCPalm) - Breeze Airways achieved its first monthly profit, and the airline's CEO credits its success partly to the Vero Beach service, hinting at potential expansion from the Vero Beach Regional Airport.


County eager to buy and preserve choice properties (Vero News) - Indian River County is actively seeking to purchase environmentally valuable land parcels for preservation, following the overwhelming passage of a $50 million environmental lands bond issue by voters in November 2022.


Vero Beach voters OK'd Three Corners in 2022. Now, devil's in details (TCPalm) - Following the public release of four development proposals for Vero Beach's Three Corners, residents who like and dislike the plans are encouraged to voice their opinions constructively at upcoming public meetings rather than simply opposing the entire project.


 

Lake Okeechobee Discharges to the East Halted

Providing Relief for St. Lucie River and the Lagoon...

But the Threat Remains


The Army Corps of Engineers has taken a positive step, halting water releases from Lake Okeechobee into the estuary. This decision follows favorable weather conditions and comes after a two-week pause in discharges that began on March 30th.


While the halt in discharges is welcome news, it's important to remember that the environmental threat remains. Historically, releases from Lake Okeechobee have been linked to damaging algae blooms, low salinity levels that harm oysters and seagrass, and declines in manatee populations. The discharges often contain blue-green algae blooms that can pose serious health hazards.


U.S. Rep. Brian Mast has long been a vocal critic of the Army Corps of Engineers' practice of discharging Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie River. He has advocated for a permanent solution to protect the Treasure Coast's ecosystems.


The Army Corps acknowledges that discharges to the east may need to resume depending on rainfall and the upcoming hurricane season. Forecasters are predicting a potentially active season that could require the Corps to manage Lake Okeechobee's water level. Right now, the lake is still too high at just over 15ft, and a single major storm could force the resumption of harmful discharges.


We urge both the USACE and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to utilize all available resources to lower Lake Okeechobee water levels.  This will minimize the risk of harmful discharges to the East and West coasts and safeguard the ecological balance of the lake.  It is crucial they increase the flow of water southward through the Everglades to Florida Bay without compromising the diverse ecosystems of South Florida. Looking ahead, initiatives like the EAA Reservoir will play an important role in storing, purifying, and redirecting lake water southward. Until that time, the agencies that control the flow of Lake Okeechobee water must operate with the best interests of our environment in mind.


Despite the necessary releases to the west into the Caloosahatchee River, the pause in eastern discharges allows the St. Lucie River time to recover. Residents and environmental groups are hoping for a long-term solution that minimizes the impact of Lake Okeechobee releases on fragile Florida ecosystems.


 

Florida Legislature lets fertilizer ordinances moratorium expire (TCPalm) - Florida lawmakers chose not to extend a one-year moratorium on local fertilizer ordinances, allowing cities and counties to once again enact and strengthen their own rules, including summer bans.


Earth has its warmest March on record, beating 2023's milestone (Axios) - Earth experienced its warmest March ever recorded, marking the tenth consecutive month with record-breaking temperatures and further highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change.


How abandoned strip malls could help solve the housing crisis (Vox) - The growing issue of vacant strip malls across America presents an opportunity to address the nationwide affordable housing shortage by converting them into residential properties.


Where the Wild Bees are—and Aren’t — Impacts Food Supply (Environmental News Network) - New research underscores the critical link between declining wild pollinator populations and reduced farm productivity, highlighting the need for conservation efforts and an open-access data platform to facilitate further research.


A Nuclear Power Revival Is Sparking a Surge in Uranium Mining (Environmental News Network) - The expanding interest in nuclear power as a climate change solution is driving a resurgence in uranium mining, with new and long-shuttered mines opening across the United States and internationally.


Water Facilities Compromised By Iranian Threat Actors (KnowBe4) - Iranian cyber actors linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have compromised water facilities in the US, demonstrating their ability to target critical infrastructure and highlighting the need for robust cybersecurity measures and improved security culture within organizations.


 

Rainfall in the St. Johns River Water Management District was slightly below average in March. Overall water levels across the District remain in good condition.


The March hydrologic conditions report presented to the District's Governing Board offered the following insights:


Rainfall

  • Districtwide, March rainfall averaged 2.70 inches, slightly under the monthly average.

  • The rainfall total for Indian River County was  0.96" which is well under the  3.17" March average.

  • However, Indian River County is still doing well over the 12-month period, with a total of  61.84" in the last 12 months. The average 12-month rainfall in Indian River County is  53.63, so we are over 8" above where we are on average.


Groundwater

  • Upper Floridan aquifer levels were mixed but generally remained within normal or high ranges. Districtwide groundwater levels are high for this time of year.


Looking Ahead

Water resources are in good condition across the District, despite the drier March. Residents of Indian River County are encouraged to stay informed. As always, continued water conservation is important.


 

Corporate climate plans are improving, but still 'critically insufficient' (Grist) - Despite some progress, major companies' climate plans remain inadequate to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, relying too heavily on carbon offsets and overlooking critical supply chain emissions.


Scientists Are Studying the Funky Environmental Impacts of Eclipses—From Grid Disruptions to Unusual Animal Behavior (Inside Climate News) - During this week's solar eclipse, scientists and citizen scientists alike studied the event's impacts, ranging from disruptions to the power grid to unusual animal behaviors, with the findings potentially aiding in the understanding of other extreme weather events.


Humans converted at least 250,000 acres of estuaries to cities, farms in last 35 years (ScienceDaily) - Over the past 35 years, dams and land reclamation converted 250,000 acres of estuaries worldwide to urban or agricultural land, with most of the conversion occurring in rapidly developing countries.


Deep parts of Great Barrier Reef 'insulated' from global warming -- for now (ScienceDaily) - Some deeper areas of the Great Barrier Reef are currently insulated from harmful heatwaves, but this protection will be lost if global warming continues, highlighting the need for urgent climate action.


EPA announces first-ever national regulations for "forever chemicals" in drinking water (CBS News) - The EPA announced the first-ever national limits on "forever chemicals" (PFAS) in drinking water, requiring utilities to reduce them to the lowest reliably measurable level and providing funding for testing and treatment.


 

Want your voice to be heard? Use this link to easily contact elected officials—from your city council to the President. Your voice can make a real impact. While the IRNA may occasionally prompt you to contact specific officials about urgent issues, we keep this list handy for your convenience. Can't find who you're looking for? Just let us know; we're here to help connect you with the right people.



 



 

Upcoming Events and Announcements








39 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page