Rain doesn’t cleanse Indian River Lagoon as commonly thought


If the Indian River Lagoon looks clear, that’s good news, right?

 Not entirely — the water can be clear due to drought and rain can change the lagoon’s appearance quickly.

So, you mean rain can “dirty up our lagoon?”

Ironically, yes! The rain can start a process that results in cloudy lagoon water and rapid growth of algal scum.

The accumulation of fertilizer, grass clippings, leaves, silt, pet waste and motor oil can be washed downstream by the rainwater. Some of this dirtied water drains into neighborhood holding ponds, but much of it flows through a series of storm sewers and empties into the lagoon.

What happens then? 

Well, the silt and grass clippings cloud the water as it slowly settles to the bottom where it adds to the muck that is a constant contributor of pollution to the lagoon’s waters.

Most of the fertilizer and other chemicals dissolve in the rainwater and further increase the excess nutrients in the lagoon. This helps algae and other nuisance aquatic plants to grow. And, due to the summer heat, they grow quickly.

Yes, what starts as clean rain can become a tool for dirtying up the lagoon.

How can you help?

Don’t fertilize between June 1 and Sept 30, blow grass clipping onto the lawn, pick up pet waste, wash your car at a carwash and don’t over water your yard.

Share with your friends and neighbors how rain can temporarily dirty the lagoon and that we must continue to work to restore it. Understanding our lagoon better makes us better stewards.

To learn more about how to help the Indian River Lagoon, go to HelpTheLagoon.org.