"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

MDC Cleans Up the Lagoon

Aug 18th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, Indian River Lagoon News, Shoreline Restoration News

IMG_20140817_104224322_HDRAlmost 20 dedicated volunteers gathered on Sunday, August 17th to help clean up our Indian River Lagoon. Every quarter, we scour the shorelines of the lagoon while volunteers through our local Volusia-Flagler Chapter of Surfrider simultaneously clean up area beaches.

Summertime storms have sent boat parts, carpets, and other miscellaneous trash up into the mangrove forests that line the waterways. These mangrove forests serve as important habitat for many species, providing refuge from predators and extreme weather. Additionally, recreational visitors to the local spoil islands leave behind hundreds of pounds of garbage, usually in the form of bottles and cans, food wrappers, and camping equipment. Trash poses a serious threat to organisms in the estuary as it can damage habitat, and cause choking, entanglement, and even death. Toxic chemicals also leach from these materials into the soil and water, where they can remain for years.

IMG_20140817_103017563_HDRThe team of volunteers stretched, climbed, hauled, and picked their way through several sites along New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater, traveling aboard the Discovery. In just 2 hours, the group collected 352 lbs of trash, which included 83 lbs of recyclable materials. What an incredible haul! Given more time, we could have brought back even more debris from Firecracker Island and nearby spoil islands.

Want to help? The next lagoon cleanup is November 16th from 10am – 12pm. Get your family, friends, and neighbors involved, too! It takes us all to keep the lagoon beautiful. Contact Becky Berman at bberman50@gmail.com for more details.

Can’t wait until November? Head out any time with garbage bags and gloves to clean up your favorite spot. Some of the oddest items found on Sunday included a section of metal roof, pieces of insulation, a large carpet, and a tennis ball. Let us know what you find!