2014 Action Assembly Presentations

Indian River Lagoon Action Assembly
May 15–17, 2014
Ted Moorhead Lagoon House & Florida Institute of Technology

click here for additional resources from the event

Thursday Night – Ted Moorhead Lagoon House

No monopoly on the problem, but there is reason for hope
Wayne Mills
Previous Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Inaugural Introductions
Leesa Souto, Ph.D.
Marine Resources Council

Friday morning – FIT

Mr. Frank Kinney, Vice President for Research at Florida Technology

Developing a Restoration Strategy for the Lagoon
Virginia Barker
Brevard County Natural Resources Management Office

Circulation, Climate Change and Resilience
Robert Weaver, Ph.D.
Florida Institute of Technology Indian River Lagoon Research Institute

Muck and Metals in the Indian River Lagoon
John Trefry, Ph.D.
Florida Institute of Technology Indian River Lagoon Research Institute

Charles Jacoby, Ph.D.
Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program

Marine Mammals as Sentinels for the IRL Estuary
Adam Schaefer, M.P.H.
FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Fisheries Impacts
Grant Gilmore, Ph.D.

Issues, Pollutants and Sources
Leesa Souto, Ph.D.
Marine Resources Council

LAA Overview Presentation: Lagoon Update at Front Street Park, May 29, 2014

2014 Indian River Lagoon Action Assembly

Presentations and photos are available from the 2014 Lagoon Action Assembly that involved over one hundred community leaders in facilitated discourse about the crisis we are facing with the collapse of the Indian River Lagoon. Click Here for Details.

Read more: 2014 Indian River Lagoon Action Assembly

Thank you for your RSVP!

Thank you for taking the time to RSVP to our fundraising event. We hope to see you there!

Midsummer's Night Gala a Huge Success!

The Marine Resources Council 2nd Annual Midsummer’s Night Gala was an enormous success. Contributions in excess of $40,000 were received to:

•    Support MRC’s policy advisory initiatives locally and in Tallahassee
•    Grow our youth education programs 
•    Collect important water quality indicators by expanding the Lagoonwatch Program
•    And launch the new Lagoon Lifesaver Business program.

Read more: Midsummer's Night Gala a Huge Success!

Indian River Lagoon Scenic Byway

Indian River Lagoon Scenic Byway

Click here for map of the scenic highway.

What is the Florida Department of Transportation Scenic Highways Program?
The mission of the FDOT Scenic Highways program is to "preserve, maintain, protect and enhance the intrinsic resources of scenic corridors through a sustainable balance of conservation and land use. Through community-based consensus and partnerships, the program will promote economic prosperity and broaden the traveler's overall recreational and educational experience." (Florida Scenic Highways Program Manual 1-3).

What corridors have been designated in Florida so far?
Currently, eight Corridors have been designated as Florida Scenic Highways. They are the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway, located in the state's panhandle; the Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway, which passes through the Everglades region; Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway, on Florida's Space Coast; Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway, on Anna Maria Island; Old Florida Heritage Highway in Central Florida; and A1A Ocean Shore Scenic Highway and A1A River to Sea Trail Scenic Highway, both in Flagler County on Florida's east coast; and the Florida Keys Scenic Highway.

Where is the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway?
The focus is on the principal natural features of east central Florida, the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic beaches. The corridor begins at Ais Lookout Point, just north of the intersection of Robert Conlan Boulevard and US1 in Palm Bay. Lagoon House, a gateway visitors information center, will be built at this location. The corridor proceeds south on US1 to the Wabasso Causeway (CR510), east across the causeway to SRA1A, north on A1A to Port Canaveral, west on SR 528 (the Bennett Causeway) to SR3, north to SR405 (the NASA Causeway), west to US1, north to SR 402/406, northeast to the Canaveral National Seashore, then south on the mainland to Ais Lookout Point to complete the circuit. The SR 520, SR404, SR 518, and US192 causeways are also included in the corridor as intermediate connectors. NASA KSC is planning an alternate to SR3, SPACE COMMERCE WAY, which will follow existing road beds and provide a scenic route through old-growth orange groves, wetlands and pristine forests left undeveloped because of acquisition by NASA. Cocoa and Rockledge have an alternate scenic route branching off of US1 on Forrest Avenue and Florida Avenue, which will display the historic sections of the cities. This is about 160 miles of roadways.

How and why did the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway program get started?
Ted Moorhead, a founding member of the Marine Resources Council, Florida Inland Navigation District Chairman and Manager of Public Relations for AJT & Associates, initiated the program. He recognized the potential of the FDOT Scenic Highways Program as a vehicle to increase and coordinate conservation efforts while promoting low-impact economic development built on ecotourism, heritage tourism and appropriate promotion of the excellent recreational resources of the area, to "sell the Indian River Lagoon not as a commodity to be consumed, but as a treasure to be preserved."

What was required to get designation as a scenic highway?
A Corridor Advocacy Group (CAG) was formed to prepare the application. The CAG followed the instructions in the FDOT Scenic Highways Manual, which includes identification of intrinsic resources, development of a plan to protect, preserve, maintain and enhance these resources, gain public participation and support for the project, and implementation of the plan for the corridor. Public workshops for disseminating information and receiving input were held. A Corridor Management Plan was developed and submitted to FDOT for approval, and a Corridor Management Entity (CME) was set up to implement the Corridor Management Plan. This process began at a meeting in Melbourne on April 14, 1999 and was rewarded by the designation on June 13, 2000 - 14 months. This was all done by volunteers, except for compilation and publication of the Corridor Management Plan by the staff of Brevard County Department of Parks and Recreation. The CME (now names The Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway Coalition) operates under the auspices of the Marine Resources Council, a not-for-profit community advocacy organization for the Indian River Lagoon.

How is the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway Program Funded?
So far, mostly out of the pockets of those willing to do the work, plus in kind contributions of labor from various local government offices of those communities which have passed resolutions supporting the program. The only government money received was from FDOT for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Brevard County Parks and Recreation in compiling and publishing the CMP.

The Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byway Grant Program provides approximately $21 million a year for scenic byway programs nation wide. The City of Palm Bay submitted an application under this program to help fund the Lagoon House visitors center at Ais Lookout Point. There are many other grant programs for which project eligibility will be enhanced by being located on a designated scenic highway corridor. We have just completed a draft of a nomination for designation as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration. Deadline for final submittal is January 22, 2002. National designation would provide $25,000 per year for five years as seed money (with a 20% match required) to operate the program and accomplish the goals of the CMP.

What membership and authority will the CME have?
Each local general purpose government within the corridor is entitled to appoint two representatives to the CME. Each other government entity and community organization within the corridor willing to participate in the CME is entitled to appoint one representative. These appointed representatives comprise the voting body of the CME. The CME has now named itself The Indian River Lagoon Coalition. Any interested members of the public are invited to participate as non-voting members.

The CME has no authority to take land, impose regulations or taxes, or undertake construction projects. The CME is legally an ad hoc committee of the Marine Resources Council, a not-for-profit corporation. Most projects undertaken in the Scenic Highway Program would likely be undertaken by the city or county within which that project occurs, except that some projects, such as "Adopt a Highway" cleanup programs, would be done by community organizations. Community not-for-profit organizations may apply for some project grants for which they are eligible. There are some grant programs, such as the Florida Inland Navigation District Waterways Assistance Program, that not-for-profits may participate in so long as they have a local general purpose government sponsor.

What are the benefits of designation?

  • Resource Protection - The program recognizes six intrinsic resources: historical, cultural, archaeological, natural, scenic and recreational. The CAG developed a CMP to preserve, protect, maintain and enhance these resources, and the CME coordinates implementation of the CMP. Promotional materials for the Scenic Highway can also help educate visitors on how to experience the resources while having minimal impact, on avoiding safety hazards such as pulling off where there is no designated area to do so, on travel routes that have least impact on traffic, and on using non-motorized transportation where appropriate.
  • Funding Eligibility - The entities within the corridor are eligible for state and federal grants to help achieve the goals identified in the Corridor Management Plan.
  • Community Recognition - Scenic highways are noted on statewide and national maps and promotional materials such as brochures, travel guides and internet sites. The posting of official Florida Scenic Highway logo signage will identify the corridor as a special place.
  • Economic Development/Tourism - Millions of tourists vacation in Florida each year. Many are looking for "the real Florida". A designated scenic highway has that connotation. This will increase utilization of lodging, restaurants, and other tourism related businesses.
  • Community Vision - The designation process provides an opportunity and challenge to a community to achieve a new vision of what can be done to preserve and enhance the features that create the quality of life enjoyed by citizens. There can be an increase of community pride and a new sense of unity.
  • Partnering - The designation process requires the collaboration of citizens, community organizations, and municipal, county, state and federal governments. The synergy of the cooperative relationships built in this effort can be of continuing benefit to all.

What are the impacts of a Scenic Highway designation?
Nation-wide, "Tourism-related business owners along a scenic highway estimated a ten percent increase in sales due to designation." (Florida Scenic Highways Program Economic Benefits Status Report, April 23, 1997). As to potential negative impacts, such as increased traffic or unwanted tourism-related development, there are no known authorized studies. The federal government does prohibit new outdoor advertising billboards (off business site) on primary-aid scenic highways. The challenge of the CME is to manage promotion of the corridor, traffic control and projects so as to maximize economic benefits and minimize negative impacts.

How can I get more information and participate?
To volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Contact Form or contact the Marine Resources Council at (321) 725-7775, e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Send tax deductible contributions to MRC.


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  • MRC’s Brown Bag Lunch Series


    Pack up your lunch and join MRC on the first Tuesday of every month for our Brown Bag Lunch presentation program at 12:00 pm at the Ted Moorhead Lagoon House in Palm Bay.

    Area experts present on natural history topics such as archaeology, electric cars, Florida bats, native plants, and things you can do to protect the Indian River Lagoon. Check back for upcoming presentations!

    Upcoming Brown Bag Presentations and MRC Events

    If you are interested in presenting at MRC’s Brown Bag lunch series on a relevant lagoon or natural history topic, please contact Shannon Egger, MRC Education Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to inquire about available openings.

    Looking for past Brown Bag Lunch Events? Click Here to see what we've offered recently.

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