What is the 2022 SOIRL Plan? An important choice made to Save Our Indian River Lagoon (SOIRL).

In 2016, voters overwhelmingly approved a 10-year, ½-cent sales tax to fund the restoration of the Indian River Lagoon.

The initial plan is updated every year to make sure that it is based on the latest science and does the best job possible by requiring projects be selected based on cost per pound of pollution removed.

The plan has identified 330 projects (more than 50 completed) that will reduce pollution (nitrogen and phosphate) in the lagoon by more than 1 million pounds a year. And this year, it adds new types based on recent evidence. 

The plan has always targeted leaking septic systems, stormwater runoff and removal of muck coating the lagoon bottom, as well as upgrading sewage treatment facilities. But, recent studies have shown that pollution also is coming from package plants (mini-sewage plants at some trailer parks) and leaky lateral sewer pipes. So, this year’s revision adds projects to test the effectiveness of controlling these sources. It also adds mechanical harvesting of aquatic vegetation in place of spraying with glyphosate, which causes the dead vegetation to rot and pollute.

Last year, it added projects to begin restoring clams and that seems to be going well.

Despite the impacts of COVID, the SOIRL fund increased by nearly 11 percent last year from $489 million through 10 years to $542 million. Some of this will be used to offset the effects of inflation in scheduled projects, but some is being used for new projects.

A core reason that the plan improves from year to year is that each plan and each project is reviewed by the external Citizens Oversight Committee. As many as 14 volunteers ask probing questions to ensure that each project will make a difference.

For information, check out brevardfl.gov/SaveOurLagoon/Home  and HelpTheLagoon.org.