Pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and surrounding waterways.

This has led to fish kills, toxic algae blooms, sickness and death of marine mammals, red tides, reduction of life-sustaining sea grass beds, and many more problems of which we are only just beginning to fully understand the consequences.

Pollution Sources

Excessive nutrients coming from humans on shore are fertilizing algae and causing it to bloom at unprecedented levels – blocking out the sunlight sea grasses need for photosynthesis. Runoff of soil and debris from land is causing a buildup of sediment and muck, which is drowning out and contaminating filter feeders like oysters and clams that are vital to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Contaminants and bacteria from septic systems and other sources are infecting marine mammals like dolphins and manatees impairing their reproduction and causing their death.

Moving Forward

If pollution could be made visible, we could see where it is entering our waterways and how it is accumulating in our ecosystems. To address this challenge ORCA has developed technology designed to identify pollution sources and sinks (areas of concentrated pollution in sediment) and then provide this information as easily interpretable pollution gradient maps. The end result is the information needed to enforce the Clean Water Act and provide feedback to policy makers and the public on whether goals are being met and tax dollars effectively spent.

Human Health & The Indian River Lagoon