In 1983, the Marine Resources Council of East Florida (MRC) emerged from the initial core of Future of the Indian River System (FIRST) scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology.

MRC pledged to maintain and enhance the quality of marine systems for economic, recreational, aesthetic, and environmental use.

The new organization included leaders in business, industry, government, development, environmental groups, and fishermen -- 700 individuals and groups in all -- joined by the idea that everyone depends on natural resources for jobs, recreation, and lifestyle.

As a result, MRC members, as well as private and public citizens meet every two years in an "American Assembly" to build consensus for action to wisely manage barrier islands, beaches, and estuarine watersheds.

For the past eight years, MRC has focused on major problems including: freshwater flow from land drainage and its negative impact on estuarine productivity; loss of seagrasses and mangroves; the absence of coordinated local, state, or federal programs for the lagoon; and the need for public education as a means to incorporate science into the decision making process.

Today, due to action taken by MRC, future plans for use of the Indian River Lagoon resources are incorporated into the six counties' and 33 cities' comprehensive plans, in addition to state management policy. The state legislature now regularly addresses lagoon issues and has dedicated funding, totaling more than $8 million to The Lagoon. Also, through the direct efforts of the MRC, the Indian River Lagoon received national recognition in 1990 as a National Estuary of Significance by the EPA.

The MRC has been a model for international, national and state consensus and research based estuarine planning. In l991 President Bush awarded MRC one of the first nine Presidential Environmental Challenge and Conservation Awards for fostering partnership between the environment and business and government.

Benefits from the MRC's work include improvements in communication and trust between members. It's ECO-NeighborhoodsTM Program has been instrumental in bringing together experts on resource management to improve the environment and save energy, neighborhood by neighborhood, and to monitor water quality. In addition, MRC's efforts resulted in recent legislation which mandates that by 1995 sewer plants will no longer discharge into the Indian River Lagoon region.

Contact Diane D. Barile, Executive Director by e-mail through the Webmaster of this page; or at Box 22892 Melbourne, (407)952-0102 vox; (407)952-0103 FAX

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