Lawmakers Consider Dredging To Deal With 'Black Mayonnaise' In Indian River Lagoon

Dec 11, 2013

Florida officials are considering dredging the floor of the Indian River Lagoon to remove the muck of the estuary that’s already been plagued by massive animal die-offs and the loss of thousands of acres of sea grass.

Dr. John Trefry is a Marine and Environmental Systems Professor at Florida Institute of Technology, who’s been studying muck in the Indian River Lagoon—which he describes as “black mayonnaise.”

“And, much like the algae bloom, it blocks sunlight and inhibits sea growth,” said Trefry.

Trefry says muck has been accumulating in the lagoon for decades, leading to a decrease in oxygen in the water. So, he says a multi-year effort is needed to help restore the system.

“We’re in a period of critical decline--and people are always saying it’s critical. This one is really bothering me, and I’m sort of someone who can tolerate a lot, but this is serious—and, muck has been accumulating for five or six decades. And, not it’s been spread over greater distances in the lagoon. So, let’s dredge. But, let’s make sure we get the upland areas from filling in again,” he added.

Viera Republican Senator Thad Altman invited Trefry to make a presentation before the Senate Environmental Preservation Committee Wednesday. It’s connected to a recommendation Altman made—that another committee approved last month—which suggests the Legislature appropriate 20 million dollars to clean up the waterway through dredging.

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