U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy introduces legislation to restore Indian River Lagoon

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U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy introduced federal legislation on Wednesday to help restore and protect the Indian River Lagoon on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

The Indian River Lagoon Nutrient Removal Assistance Act seeks to create a grant program for projects providing a number of environmental benefits for the Indian River Lagoon region, such as reducing the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients entering into watersheds.

The Jupiter Democrat’s proposal would also provide grants for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuaries Program, which protects the 156-mile-long waterway that stretches from Ponce de Leon Inlet in Volusia County, south to the southern edge of Martin County. 

Funding for the Act would come from increased fees for violators of the federal Water Pollution Control Act.

“The crisis facing our local waterways has gone on for far too long, adversely impacting the Treasure Coast community and economy,” Murphy said in a statement. “The best part is taxpayers won’t be asked to foot the bill. Polluters will.”

Protecting Florida waterways has been a top priority for Murphy. Among his efforts are securing $38 million in House funding for Phase 2 of the Indian River Lagoon South Project, which improve surface-water management. Murphy also worked to advance dredging projects for the Kissimmee River and C-111 canal, which redirects water flows to the east, thereby reducing flow through Taylor Slough, located in the southeastern corner of the Florida Everglades, into the northern Florida Bay.

Murphy also played a key role in the authorization by Congress of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, the first such bill in 7 years, which contained four new Everglades restoration projects.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.