For Hometown News
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The Merrill P. Barber Bridge is the latest venue to join Hands Across The Lagoon; a unique rally to be held 9-10 a.m., Sept. 28 at eight locations from Volusia County to Martin County.
The event is being held in conjunction with National Estuary Day and is hailed as an opportunity for residents to demonstrate their support of the estuary. The goal is to have participants link hands for 15 minutes across eight causeways that span the lagoon's 156 miles of shoreline.
Participants are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. and be in their places no later than 9:45 a.m. The City of Vero Beach has designated MacWilliam Park, off of Indian River Drive east, on the north side of the east end of the Merrill P. Barber Bridge as the preferred area for parking.
Hands Across The Lagoon is the brainchild of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program and its many partners in the region. The Merrill P. Barber Bridge effort in Vero Beach is being coordinated by a collaboration of organizations including the Indian River Community Foundation, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, Florida Institute of Technology and The Lagoon Coalition.
"This is a historic event and watershed moment for the Indian River Lagoon," said Kerry Bartlett, executive director of the Indian River Community Foundation. "When we learned there were no plans to have one of the Vero Beach causeways covered, we knew we couldn't let our community be left out."
Declining lagoon conditions over the last few years have prompted a growing concern among scientists, citizens and the business community. While many continue to study what is causing the problems and potential solutions, it is important to keep the health of the lagoon a top priority for our communities said Penny Chandler, Executive Director of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
"The Indian River Lagoon is a $4 billion economic driver, not to mention the most biologically diverse estuary in the United States," said Chandler. "The health of the Lagoon has a significant impact on the health of our economy. This event, and other similar events, during National Estuaries Week is a great way to help educate our communities about the importance of the lagoon."
In Indian River County, the events will take place at the Merrill P. Barber Bridge location at SR 60 and the Wabasso Causeway on CR510 which is hosted by the Environmental Learning Center. Other Hands Across The Lagoon events are being held at the New Smyrna South Causeway, Max Brewer Causeway in Titusville, Kiwanis Island Park in Merritt Island, Melbourne Causeway, South Bridge Causeway in Ft. Pierce and the Stuart Causeway. All events begin at 9 a.m. and participants are asked to be in their places no later than 9:45 a.m. so that organizers can capture the moment with video and photographs.
For more information contact the Indian River Community Foundation, (772) 492-1407 or the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, (321) 722-5363.