BLUE COMMUNITY CONSORTIUM - UNWTO
The New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau is a member of the Blue Community Consortium. The Blue Community Consortium seeks to protect oceans, coastal habitats and marine environments in Florida through implementing Blue Community and other sustainable tourism strategies. The Waves of Change Blue Community program is an opportunity for coastal communities to declare their own work to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability. The oceans are under increasing threats from pollution, overfishing, impacts of climate change including coral bleaching, acidification, and increased storm intensity. The Waves of Change campaign is responding to these issues with ocean clean-up programs, improving ocean literacy, supporting ocean champions, ecosystems restoration, and programs to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Unless policies for protection of the oceans and promotion of ocean sustainability are increased, coastal communities are likely to experience adverse impacts. The Blue Community program is a place for learning and sharing those best practices which mitigate those impacts. It currently has 12 strategies in place to protect coastal habitat and marine environments:
THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON
The Indian River Lagoon is comprised of three water bodies: the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River. The lagoon travels 156 miles along the east coast from the Ponce de Leon Inlet to the Jupiter Inlet. It is the most biologically diverse estuary in the Northern hemisphere and is home to more than 3,000 speies of plants and animals and serves as a spawning and nursery ground for many different species of oceanic and lagoon fish and shellfish. It also has one of the most diverse bird populations. Nearly 1/3 of the nation's manatee population lives here or migrates here seasonally, and over 1,000 Bottlenose dolphins live in the Indian River Lagoon. Its ocean beaches also provide one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas. The 2016 economic valuation can be seen as follows:
Declaration of support for the IRL National Estuary Program (IRL NEP):
Recognition of the importance of the IRL:
MARINE DISCOVERY CENTER
Project H2O (Healthy Habitat through Outreach) - Bringing together government agencies, environmental organizations, local universities, and non-profits to collaborate on research, education, restoration and funding opportunities to improve Volusia County waters and the Indian River Lagoon. Programs in place:
The Green Volusia Program was established to expand green practices within county government operations and to provide information and education about environmentally responsible practices that benefit the community. The Green Volusia program has many goals, which include encouraging stewardship and conservation of Volusia County's natural resources and promoting an understanding of the benefits provided by these natural resources. The Green Volusia program coordinates the Volusia County Sustainability Action Plan, which was adopted on February 20, 2014.
The plan identifies seven specific sustainability goals: