Save The IRL

Written by John Durkee, President FSFA. If we do nothing our Lagoon is doomed. I may not agree, but this is a start towards restoration.
50 years ago the eyes of this nation and the brains of Brevard County were laser focused on safely landing & returning a man on the moon. People came in droves here, they needed houses and roads and stores and schools...and while our eyes looked to space, like all the history of Florida, their were some who developed with their eyes on greed...but a few paid any attention to the national treasure right here on earth, in our backyard, the IRL.

50 years of extraordinary population growth...Most in this county now understand the cumulative damage to our unique marine environment. The proposed restoration plan focuses on reduction of Nitrogen & Phosphorus flowing into the lagoon and on removing the legacy pollution. As I read the plan initially I was skeptical, yet over and over the plan prioritizes specific projects based on their economic costs, on Return of Investment and "return" means reduction of n & p. The plan correctly recognizes we do not have an endless supply of money, so the money we can raise should go where it gets the most impact at the lowest cost, read the section on wastewater treatment or septic tanks as examples. The plan identifies specific projects, specific costs, timetables to accomplish and target pollution reductions by project. These efforts will not "fully restore" the Lagoon, they may accomplish BMAP goals. They will begin, only begin, reversing the years of cumulative damage.

Now nobody says "let's have more algae blooms! Let's have more fish kills!" I have good friends, smart people I respect who are voting No on the IRL Trust Fund / restoration plan. It seems their reasons to vote against this fall into 2 major objections.
The first and most common is a general distrust of any government program, put simply the monies will be misallocated and/ or wasted. This is an obvious problem at the Federal level, the "theft" of Amendment 1 funds at the State level another recent example and even locally there are examples. I'm not sure of any way to counter this concern. I know if I want an item or service, I have to pay for it. Especially with government "there is no free lunch" (contrary to what some politicians promise). That the Lagoon's problems have finally gained enough attention, and if we the public can have an attention span longer than a TV sound bite, I believe we can keep the focus & attention on the implementation & success of each project..on budget, on time.
The 2nd objection I hear is that the plans do not address everything needed. It doesn't replant grass, if the grass grows back in cleaner water what is to stop the grazing by so many manatees?...it doesn't address raw sewage spills (it does address reclaimed water from defective plants)..it doesn't address water & fertilizer use by agriculture (true, blame the State!)..it doesn't stop the filling of wetlands, the removal of causeways & replacement with bridges..it doesn't ban the use of any chemicals by a homeowner...All this is true. Yet just because the plan does not go "far enough" does that mean we should not take a first step?

To me a plan for restoration of our treasured Lagoon can be stated simply: Stop the flow of waste into the waters - give the waters a break and nature will find its balance. Next, remove the legacy pollution. The proposed plan, in my view, follows those simple concepts.
I doubt in my lifetime to wade the lush grass flats again, I hope my boys can like they did as kids and if my grandchildren can wade the grasses, scoop up crabs, catch a seahorse or shrimp, watch the Eagles & Osprey & porpoise, my vote will have accomplished something. On November 8, I will vote Yes.

Replies

  • CFLBobCFLBob Posts: 40 Deckhand
    I agonize over this. I read the big "Save Our Lagoon Project Plan" power point from the county, and while it mostly makes sense, it leaves me with a ton of questions. I can't help but wonder if it's not "too little, too late".

    I'm not 100% sure it's worth voting for, but if your boat is taking on water, the first thing to do is to start bailing. This is like bailing. It might not save the lagoon, but it's probably better than doing nothing.

    You just know that when there's a big pile of money allocated for something, it'll be like chumming. You can just see the slime balls lining up to get some money. I don't think there's a way around that. And you know some percentage of voters will vote against this just because it's a half cent tax.
    Grew up fishing south Florida... Moved to Brevard 1982... Took a break after '90 while the kids grew up and got married... Now trying to learn it all over again. Prefer light tackle and lures.
    Key West 1720, Yamaha 115 TR 2-stroke
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,264 AG
    I still work on issues when I can...but deep down inside...I am afraid we already went over the cliff.

    The money collected will be " A Good start"...but some think it will " Be the fix"...they are so wrong...it's not funny...really not funny! :nono
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,582 Captain
    I had saved a special section from Florida Today that had several pages addressing the problem with the lagoon and the septic tanks, runoffs etc. along with the crap the port dredges and dumps off Coca beach. It was from 22 years ago! WHAT GOT DONE? SQUAT!!!

    I'll be real surprised if anything gets done now. It all has to with a bunch of self serving lying politicians. South Florida get ready for Big O sugar runoffs next year cuz they ain't goona do anything down there either.

    I'm just glad I'm getting old and got to see Florida when it was pristine before Disney started the ball rolling down hill in the 60's.
  • Lunch Money SurfLunch Money Surf Posts: 1,033 Officer
    FWIW I will be voting YES.

    But I have also said multiple times, I won't be surprised at all if it doesn't pass. As Brevard County becomes more and more of a South Florida-esque cluster****.
  • gatorhookgatorhook Posts: 655 Officer
    Vote NO. This county is corrupt. This half cent crap is a pure scam. Where does the other half of the cent collected go? If I spend a $1, how do I pay a half cent? Do we cut the penny in half? Where has all my(and yours) other halves gone to? Brevard schools are wasting the half cent tax on BS projects/studies because we already allowed. We need new schools, but only new developments get that. Instead they will spend it on IT upgrades while our children go to school in Asbestos contaminated classrooms.
  • ChadChad Satellite Beach, FLPosts: 132 Deckhand
    Save the IRL has become a theme for most of these clowns campaigning whose time spent "on the river" might involve a ride over the bridge. Our taxes that we all imposed on ourselves years back to buy "Environmentally Endangered Lands" built a nice ocean front turtle building on the old Chuck's Steakhouse. Its antics like this that invoke mistrust. The Lagoon's state saddens me and I would love to see it thriving again. I am willing to pay my fair share, but I think they threw this thing together so quick, most of the money will get spent trying to actually come up with a plan. With all the various stakeholders, I think it would be tough to devise a plan everyone could agree on, and that would be effective long term. Do you think Lesco/Scotts et all are going to stand for full out fertilizer bands? Are we going to rip up everyone's old septic and all the counties old infastructure? Or will it really just be a dredge project (ie putting more money in the same companies that bring us 'beach re nourishment")? Call my cynical....I voted no for these and other reasons....
  • gatorhookgatorhook Posts: 655 Officer
    BOTTOM LINE. THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THE LAGOON IS TO LESSEN THE POPULATION. THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. IN FACT, THIS FUNDING WILL DRIVE IN MORE ILLEGAL AND TRANSPLANT LABORORS WHICH WILL SOIL THE LAGOON FURTHER. YOU BELIEVERS OF THIS BS ARE THE PROBLEM. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
  • irlyriserirlyriser Posts: 95 Greenhorn
    I'm pretty sure they'll just take a penny for every $2, it'll save money on hacksaw blades gatorhook.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,264 AG
    I hate to step on anyones rant....but if you actually did the research and /or attended any of the I.R.Lagoon council meetings you would know that the 33 million anticipated per year ( over 10 years since it sunsets) already is planned in projects.

    I do not live there...but would vote for it.

    Even rudimentary math would show the impact to an individual is small..... Take the amount you spend that * is taxable * and lets use a large number...say $20,000 ...a half cent will be $100 per year....or a little over $8 a month....

    Will this fix everything...No...Certainly not in my lifetime ( I'm old :grin ).... But maybe in my sons lifetime...or my grandchildrens lifetime.
    One thing is sure...It will *NEVER* get better if we don't start somewhere...
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Lunch Money SurfLunch Money Surf Posts: 1,033 Officer
    Well one thing is for sure, if it doesn't pass then that guarantees that NOTHING will happen, and our river will continue to be used as an open sewer.

    "Lessening the population" is an absolute pipe dream and does not belong in a discussion based in reality.
  • Lunch Money SurfLunch Money Surf Posts: 1,033 Officer
    There is a giant, decades-old pile of s*** that needs shoveling, and we're all standing around arguing about it instead of digging out.
  • irlyriserirlyriser Posts: 95 Greenhorn
    Absolutely true.
  • NoleLifeNoleLife Posts: 51 Greenhorn
    gatorhook wrote: »
    IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    well, since it was your idea, I nominate you to lead the charge! :willynilly
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,264 AG
    There is a giant, decades-old pile of s*** that needs shoveling, and we're all standing around arguing about it instead of digging out.

    Tom....proof that people do *NO RESEARCH*....but just vote on "what they think"...or "what so-and-so told me" ....regardless of candidate or issue
    ( amendment)...

    There should be more and better requirements to vote....
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • CFLBobCFLBob Posts: 40 Deckhand
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    I hate to step on anyones rant....but if you actually did the research and /or attended any of the I.R.Lagoon council meetings you would know that the 33 million anticipated per year ( over 10 years since it sunsets) already is planned in projects.

    I do not live there...but would vote for it.

    Even rudimentary math would show the impact to an individual is small..... Take the amount you spend that * is taxable * and lets use a large number...say $20,000 ...a half cent will be $100 per year....or a little over $8 a month....

    Will this fix everything...No...Certainly not in my lifetime ( I'm old :grin ).... But maybe in my sons lifetime...or my grandchildrens lifetime.
    One thing is sure...It will *NEVER* get better if we don't start somewhere...

    This is where I ended up, Joe. I'm 62, and if we're talking about the river being any better in 10 years, I can't tell you if I'll be able to keep fishing. Should be, but we all know there are no guarantees in life.

    But the fact is, like my pastor likes to say, "if nothing changes, nothing changes". This may not be all we need and we don't even know if it will work, but it's better than looking at the river and not doing anything.

    It's all but guaranteed to be better than nothing.
    Grew up fishing south Florida... Moved to Brevard 1982... Took a break after '90 while the kids grew up and got married... Now trying to learn it all over again. Prefer light tackle and lures.
    Key West 1720, Yamaha 115 TR 2-stroke
  • acme54321acme54321 Posts: 351 Deckhand
    Looks like it passed. About time some real effort is put into cleanup.
  • irlyriserirlyriser Posts: 95 Greenhorn
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