The IRL is plagued by water quality issues stemming from wastewater and stormwater pollution that is compounded by weather events. Non-source point pollution from community uses such as agriculture, urban and industrial use and recreation find its way into the Lagoon. Stormwater carries excess nutrients, sediments and other pollutants into storm drains and canals, which drain unfiltered into the Lagoon. As a result, numerous algal blooms and brown tides have caused the loss over 70% of the seagrass in the entire system and fisheries losses measuring in the millions. The multitude of algal blooms, grass and fish kills have cause numerous layers of muck deposits that need to be removed.
The return on investment is outstanding. A 2016 study found that investing $1 in IRL restoration returns $33 to the regional economy each year. A worthy investment for certain.