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Marine Maven

Through her Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Dr. Edie Widder is working to save the Indian River Lagoon, And that’s only the beginning

In her office, Widder points out a historical picture that shows the abundant fish hauls that used to be routinely pulled from the lagoon.

In her office, Widder points out a historical picture that shows the abundant fish hauls that used to be routinely pulled from the lagoon.

Dr. Edie Widder has spent more than 30 years exploring the ocean, hovering in submersibles at depths of 1,500 to 3,000 feet and discovering what life is like in the largest habitat on Earth and how it can sustain us in the future.

Now this renowned scientist is putting her knowledge and experience, along with her own money, into exploring the best ways to preserve the ocean — one estuary at a time, beginning with the Indian River Lagoon.

Through ORCA, the nonprofit Ocean Research and Conservation Association that she established more than a decade ago, she is pointing the way to a cleaner Indian River. She is also warning that we must act now because this once-pristine lagoon is on the brink of collapsing into an unhealthy algae-dominated and pollution-laden aquatic ecosystem.

Widder’s motivation for ORCA came from the juxtaposition of an important discovery she made while a senior scientist at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, and two authoritative reports that detailed the oceanin crisis.