District partners with U.S. Geological Survey on Indian River Lagoon research

PALM BAY, Fla., April 12, 2016 — Surveys of groundwater, water quality and fish will help St. Johns River Water Management District scientists better understand the pollution sources delivered to the Indian River Lagoon through groundwater and tributaries. The surveys will also show how these nutrients are cycled into algal blooms.

The district’s Governing Board today approved a two-year joint funding agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to study:

  • Fresh, potentially nutrient-enriched groundwater seepage near the Eau Gallie River, a lagoon tributary, to improve estimates of nutrient pollution associated with different land uses;
  • Data collected by an autonomous underwater vehicle to help explain water quality variation between existing monitoring locations; and
  • Potential role of activities by fish to increase nutrient movement from sediments to open water and the potential of fish affecting bloom formation.”The Indian River Lagoon is considered one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This investigation will provide critical information to prioritize projects to improve water quality.”

    Over the two years of the applied research, the USGS will provide about 40 percent of the cost and the district will fund the remaining 60 percent. The goal of the work is to better understand how algal blooms develop and persist and what management actions may be possible to reduce bloom severity and encourage a healthy lagoon dominated by seagrass.