FAU Harbor Branch Institute

A group of Florida lawmakers is deciding how much money to spend cleaning Florida waterways polluted by Lake Okeechobee runoff. A Wednesday committee hearing focused largely on helping the Indian River Lagoon, but some presenters differed over funding requests.

Before listening to presenters stating why the funds were needed, Umatilla Republican Senator Alan Hays set the tone of the meeting by describing how his Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on General Government could be swayed.

Florida Channel

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.