Indian River Lagoon, Florida
Ocean Research & Conservation Association
Living Shorelines & Citizen Science
The Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida is 156-miles long and one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. However, increased algal blooms, continued seagrass decline, erosion, and an influx of pollutants from the watershed, threaten this economically and ecologically valuable waterway.
Living Shorelines are nature-based alternatives to traditional hard infrastructure such as seawalls and revetments. They protect the shoreline by restoring coastal habitats that provide protection from storm damage, erosion, improve water quality and nutrient recycling, sequester carbon, and increase biodiversity. Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) has designed and established nine natural breakwaters to help protect the shoreline along the lagoon and continues to work with local landowners to advance this practice in more locations. Long-term data on the success and effectiveness of these nine sites is essential to drive further living shoreline installations.
ORCA’s program engages community members and dedicated volunteers in local restoration and monitoring programs through its Center for Citizen Science Laboratory and the Living Shoreline Monitoring Citizen Science Project. Volunteers are trained to help monitor the benefits of these sites and help support wider adoption of nature-based solutions. ORCA is continuing its collaboration with 11th Hour Racing Grantee, Youth Sailing Foundation, to promote citizen science and living shorelines restoration activities in Florida.
The Ocean Research & Conservation Association endeavors to protect and restore aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies, science-based conservation action, and community education and outreach.