A PRICELESS NATURAL RESOURCE
The Indian River Lagoon occupies 40% of Florida’s east coast, is comprised of 6 counties and 39 cities, generates $7.6 Billion annually to Florida’s economy, is home to 1.6 million residents and is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in the continental United States with 4,300 species documented. Each relies on the lagoon for food and shelter. The IRL is a key driver to the wealth and health of Florida’s economy by providing jobs, housing, tourism, industry, and recreation.
THE VALUE OF THE IRL
DEFENSE AND AEROSPACE
TOURISM AND RECREATION
US COASTS ARE ECONOMIC ENGINES
America’s coasts are vital to our nation’s economy. They supply key habitat for over 75% of our nation’s commercial fish catch and 80-90% of the recreational fish catch. Restoring our coasts can create more than 30 jobs for each million dollars invested. That’s more than twice as many jobs as the oil and gas and road construction industries combined. Investing in restoration provides long-lasting benefits to local economies, such as higher property values, better water quality, sustainable fisheries, and more tourism dollars.
OUR ECONOMY DEPENDS ON THE LAGOON
By 2025, 75% of Americans will live within 50 miles of a coast. Within this narrow coastal band lie estuaries—vibrant areas where freshwater from the land mixes with saltwater from the ocean to create some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Estuaries provide food and refuge for diverse fish, birds, and mammals. They are environmental treasures and their productivity is vital to our nation’s economy, supplying important natural resources and millions of jobs.
The Indian River Lagoon is a diverse ecosystem that stretches approximately 156 miles along the east central Florida coast. The health of IRL habitats is vital to producing the abundant resources that help our economy.
Maintaining water quality is important not only to the lagoon’s ecosystem but also to protect public health. Poor water quality affects the diverse habitats in the lagoon, which in turn, affects the economy by degrading the commercial and recreational value of our water resources.
More than 4,000 species of plants and animals live in the lagoon watershed, making this region one of the most biodiverse places in the continental U.S. Maintaining that diversity is imperative to the health of the ecosystem and to the resources it provides.
One of the primary things that draws people to our region is the opportunity be outdoors year-round. Whether for work or for play, people value a clean, safe environment where health threats and environmental risks are reduced and where quality of life is high.
HOW ABOUT THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT?
A 2016 study found that investing $1 in IRL restoration returns $33 to the regional economy each year.
So how is something that is so valuable, in such trouble?