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Clear Water For Florida's Troubled Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon. Photo courtesy Brevard County
The Indian River Lagoon. Photo courtesy Brevard County

The Indian River Lagoon is looking crystal clear a year after a fish kill and toxic algae bloom swept the lagoon.

For the first time in years the lagoon's harmful algae blooms have dissipated, leaving its water clear and full of life.

But Kevin Johnson of the Florida Institute of Technology says that doesn't mean the nutrient pollution responsible for the blooms is gone or that the lagoon has recovered.

"It could be that they've used up their particular combination of nutrients, or nutrients no longer are in that combination. Not just nutrients but nutrients and environmental conditions, that that combination no longer is present. But that doesn't mean all of the nutrients are gone or that it's now at a stable, healthy state."

Rick Worman is a Merritt Island fishing guide.

"It's really pretty out there right now. There's life everywhere. The birds are working bait. There's a lot of bait in the river. The dolphins are out on a daily basis, and the fishing's been really good."

Brevard County voters approved a 10-year, half-cent sales tax last fall aimed at raising money for Indian River Lagoon restoration. The lagoon is one of North America’s most biologically diverse estuaries.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.