What Are the Issues?

There are many issues affecting the Indian River Lagoon.

The Homeowners Guide to the Indian River Lagoon by the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program provides a good overview of the most pressing issues impacting the Indian River Lagoon. But the most damaging pollutant that is impacting the Indian River Lagoon and all of the estuaries of the world is excess nitrogen.

Issue #1: Nitrogen

How nitrogen harms the estuaryHow nitrogen harms the estuary

Nitrogen accumulates in our water bodies causing excessive algal growth of both normally occurring and unusual algae. The buffering capacity of the system depends on normal bacteria and algal activity. When the system is stressed, its buffering ability fails and excessive numbers of algal species occur with catastrophic results. The cloudier the water gets, with excess algae, the more harmful it is to the ecology of the system, which is dependent on sea grass as its primary production mechanism.

Read more about how the lawn can harm the lagoon.

Issue #2: Exotic Invasive Species

The Indian River Lagoon is home to more species than any other estuary in North America. Unfortunately, the conditions that make it suitable for so many species also make it vulnerable to invasion by unwanted species that harm the ecosystem.

Read more about how exotic invasive species harm the estuary.

Issue #3: Muck

The Indian River Lagoon was once a sandy bottom estuary, with a modest accumulation of organic detritus from shoreline and aquatic vegetation loss.The bottom of the lagoon is now covered in a layer of fine silt and sediment called “muck” that has accumulated over years of excess sedimentation.

Read more about how muck harms the estuary.