Thematic Categories & Associated Metrics to Develop an Indian River Lagoon Report Card
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The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a 156 mile estuary system that extends from Ponce De Leon Inlet to Jupiter Inlet (Busby, 1993). The IRL is home to over 3,500 species and promotes an industry of over 3.7 billion dollars a year (Garland, 2013). The lagoon provides more than 15,000 full or part time jobs, and 11 million people use the lagoon for recreational purposes annually (Garland, 2013). The Marine Resource Council (MRC) is a charitable organization whose mission to protect and restore the IRL is accomplished through collaborative problem solving. In May 2014, the MRC organized the Lagoon Action Assembly (LAA) involving 100 diverse delegates from the community to reach consensus on priority actions to restore the IRL. One of the top priorities from this process was the initiation of an IRL report card. Other watersheds use report cards to assess multiple indicators of system health to inform optimized management responses, yet a report card has not been developed for the IRL. Our internship will advance report card planning by conducting a literature review of estuarine health indicators, investigating report cards implemented in other watersheds, and collecting information from the 2014 LAA delegates on data availability and commitment to a report card process. To address these needs, we are working on the following objectives: 1. Generate a literature review to assess: a) What metrics and methods have been used in other watershed report cards to assess estuary health; b) Which metrics from IRL studies are applicable and what is the availability of other data for the report card. 2. Develop two online surveys of the 2014 LAA delegates to assess thematic options for the 2015 LAA.