New State Budget Includes Funding for Florida Tech Lagoon Project

Gov. Ron DeSantis Approved Key Measure

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech will continue with critical efforts to further strengthen one of the hallmarks of the Sunshine State – its amazing waterways – while providing powerful, hands-on educational opportunities to its students thanks to funding pursued by Brevard legislators in the 2020-21 budget and approved Monday by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“We believe this work is important to the future success and long-term health of Florida’s environment and educational capabilities, and Florida Tech is honored to have the support of Gov. DeSantis and our legislators in moving forward,” said Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay.

The university will receive $800,000 for Phase II of its Restore Lagoon Inflow Research Project, a multiyear effort to study the efficacy of introducing measured, periodic inflows of seawater to enhance the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Phase II will continue biological monitoring, engineering feasibility analysis and information gathering for permitting, and will allow Florida Tech project leaders to make recommendations to policymakers.

Phase I of the RLI pilot study, expected to conclude in September, is supporting the gathering of baseline data and modeling on existing water quality, engineering feasibility, biological parameters, and hydrologic conditions at three potential lagoon inflow locations in Brevard and Indian River counties.

The funding measure was filed in the Florida House by Rep. Thad Altman, in the Florida Senate by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, and championed by Rep. Randy Fine.

“The Indian River Lagoon is one of Brevard’s highest priorities, and as chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee in the Florida House, I fought to ensure it was funded,” Fine said. “Prioritizing spending projects in the face of the coronavirus pandemic is difficult, and I thank Gov. DeSantis for making the hard choices.”

Thad Altman said, “I couldn’t be more pleased Florida Tech is able to continue working on the lagoon problems that affect all of uson the Space Coast. Despite the distressingCOVID-19 health and economic fallout, Florida cannot forget the persistent, longer term problems this measure addresses.”


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