By: Ali Schmitz, Treasure Coast Newspapers
Cities and counties throughout the Treasure Coast want additional state funding and support for projects to improve water quality and, hopefully, reduce algae blooms.
In delegation meetings with state legislators this week, local officials asked the Treasure Coast's lawmakers to support bills to reduce stormwater runoff and treat dirty water. They include septic-to-sewer conversions, treatment areas and cleanup projects.
The Treasure Coast's state legislators are expected to file funding bills for the projects, but communities will have to compete with areas across the state, just months after dueling blue-green algae and red tide crises affected the Treasure Coast,Southwest Florida and portions of the Panhandle.
Port St. Lucie Mayor Greg Oravec said water has become the greatest priority for the city because of the state's water woes. He said despite cities' and counties' best efforts, the state's water quality continues to deteriorate.
"I don't know if we've seen anything like we did this last year in our lifetime, not just here on the Treasure Coast but stretching around the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico," Oravec told state legislators at the St. Lucie delegation meeting Thursday. "It's truly something that impacts our potential, and could forever change our way of life."
Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, filed a bill Thursday that could fund some of the projects.SB 368 would create grants for projects for the Indian River Lagoon. ..