Marine Resources Council Executive Addresses DWC

The Indian River Lagoon is our community’s centerpiece, Dr. Leesa Souto, executive director of the Marine Resources Council, said.

“Floridians love water…. We’re connected to it in a spiritual way,” she told members of the Democratic Women’s Club of Indian River County.

Founded in 1983, the Marine Resources Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the Indian River Lagoon. Its mission is to protect the lagoon through science, education and restoration.

Covering one-third of Florida’s east coast, the lagoon generates billions of dollars to the region’s economy through increased property values and tourism, Souto said. “People are starting to realize that when our environment goes, our economy goes.”

Speaking at the club’s November luncheon, she described some of the council’s activities, including mangrove restoration, marine debris removal, storm drain monitoring and lagoon literacy.

Souto, who has a doctorate in conservation biology, emphasized what the individual can do to help protect and restore the lagoon. Those actions include:

  • Follow local fertilizer ordinances;
  • Wean lawns off all chemicals;
  • Landscape with native plants;
  • Keep grass clippings out of the street;
  • Use rain barrels;
  • Pick up after dogs;
  • Avoid flushing unused medicines down the toilet;
  • Take cars to the carwash; and
  • Get political by voicing concerns to legislators.

“We all have a role to play” in bringing the lagoon back to health, Souto stressed.

The next meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club will be Dec. 14.