THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON NEP
The Indian River Lagoon was nominated as an Estuary of National Significance and joined the NEP in 1990 under the sponsorship of the St. Johns and South Florida Water Management Districts and was formally established in 1991. The IRLNEP is part of a national network of twenty-eight estuary programs established under the Federal Clean Water Act and administered nationally by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) was published in 1997 and updated in 2008.
THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON COUNCIL
Today, the IRLNEP is sponsored by the IRL Council, which was established in February 2015 as a special district of Florida. The IRL Council includes representatives of five counties bordering the lagoon (Volusia, Brevard, the Indian River County Lagoon Coalition, St. Lucie and Martin counties), the St. Johns River and South Florida Water Management Districts, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The U.S. EPA provides guidance to the Council.
GOALS OF THE IRLNEP
HEALTHY LAGOON. HEALTHY COMMUNITY. HEALTHY ECONOMY.
To attain and maintain water and sediment of sufficient quality to support a healthy estuarine lagoon system
To achieve heightened public awareness and coordinated interagency management of the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem
To attain and maintain a functioning, healthy ecosystem which supports endangered and threatened species, fisheries, commerce and recreation
To identify and develop long-term funding sources for prioritized projects and programs to preserve, protect, restore and enhance the Indian River Lagoon
THE IRLNEP MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
NEPs function under a unique governance structure called a Management Conference that gives local partners a voice in the decision-making process. NEPs involve and coordinate among stakeholders at all levels: federal, state, county, city, and citizen to ensure that local issues are managed by bringing all stakeholders to the table to work out solutions that are consensus-driven and based on sound science. The structure of the IRLNEP Management Conference is such that it ensures the community is truly working together and that all voices are heard.