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The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a shallow estuary that allows the salty water from the Atlantic to mix with freshwater from other sources, including canals, tributaries, and nearby lands. The estuary extends for more than 156 miles along the east coast of Florida, within the province’s mainland and other barrier islands. Bradshaw (2016) asserts that the existence of IRL has fundamental impacts on the economy of the Treasure Coast. Similarly, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) (2016) report that the impact of IRL goes beyond recreational uses, including boating, fishing, and windsurfing. It also acts as a living resource, tourist attraction site, apart from serving marine industries and management, defense, and aerospace. According to Bradshaw (2016), Florida has seen the largest economic impact on aerospace and defense, earning $5.1 billion. The IRL influences industries that provide close to 72,000 jobs. The employment opportunities earn more than $1.2 billion in wages, as well as $2.6 billion for the IRL-related firms (ECFRPC & TCRPC, 2016). Therefore, understanding how the pollution of IRL hurts the local economy is monumental in planning for sustainable economies.

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As mentioned, the IRL suffices five key economic engines, including marine industries, recreational activities, tourism, defense, aerospace, and resource management. Close to 72,000 citizens have secured employment opportunities from the IRL-related firms, and their overall income is more than billion dollars. Similarly, the IRL is a significant tourist attraction site in Florida. Tourism contributes close to $1.5 billion of annual income within the lagoon region. The ECFRPC & TCRPC (2016) reports that every 85 tourists in the IRL region create one job for the residents. Therefore, pollution of the lagoon will undermine the quality of the scenery, which eventually reduces the attractiveness of the estuary. The unattractive IRL will discourage visitors; hence, the state will lose revenue from tourism and employment opportunities for its millennials.

Further, the IRL plays fundamental roles in serving the marine sector. This industry has earned close to $767.4 billion in economic value (ECFRPC & TCRPC, 2016). Moreover, the lagoon has had profound economic impacts on resource management, adding up to $101.4 million (Bradshaw, 2016). Management operations include a wide range of disciplines helping to manage services in the IRL region and improve its state for future generations. Perhaps, pollution manifests itself through reduced boater registrations, especially in St. Lucie and Brevard regions (Bradshaw, 2016). Thus, the IRL will impact the marine industry by reducing sales taxes on boats and fuel that the boats consume, fishing licenses retails, and restaurants. Therefore, contamination of the IRL jeopardizes local economic development.


Conclusively, the IRL is the primary factor in the economic development of Florida and its environment. Moreover, it supports recreational activities, such as fishing, windsurfing, and boating. In defense and aerospace, the IRL has earned Florida more than $5.1 billion apart from promoting job creation, which has earned $1.2 billion. Contamination will affect the quality and effectiveness of IRL, posing negative implications on the industries mentioned above. For instance, there has been a reduction in boater registrations and visits over the years. Everyone is responsible for nurturing, caring, and managing the lagoon for long-lasting sustainability. In this sense, Florida has established the Basin Management Water Plan to restore and protect water quality in the state’s IRL region.


Bradshaw, K. (2016). New study shows how valuable Indian River Lagoon is to Treasure Coast [PDF document]. Web.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, & Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. (2016). Indian river lagoon economic value update [PDF document].

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