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Waning Seagrass and Other Factors Point to Problems in Indian River Lagoon

Toxic algae can cause health problems to local marine, plant, and human life. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Environmental researchers are releasing a comprehensive study of the Indian River Lagoons’ health and researchers like the Marine Resources Council’s Leesa Souto say indicators in the south portion of the lagoon are concerning.

She says contaminated freshwater discharged from Lake Okeechobee is causing toxic algae blooms that threaten the local economy.

“As production go down and dolphins start starving it’s affected in our area’s quality of life. 15000 jobs that rely on the lagoon are going to start being lost.”

A 2016 Florida Taxwatch study found that more than 15 percent of all fish and shellfish harvested in the U.S. come from the Indian River Lagoon, accounting for roughly $140 million in the local economy.

The report analyzed 20 years of environmental data, including information from water quality stations throughout the area.

If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.