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Built and Natural Environment

Environmental Health

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Priority 3 of Indian River County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) addresses the built and natural environment with a particular interest in the Indian River Lagoon. The wide-reaching influences of the environment and community infrastructure as they related to personal and community health were recognized by community stakeholders. Since the development of the CHIP, a Built and Natural Environment Workgroup of community stakeholders has met on a quarterly basis to develop strategies and actions to support the goals within the priority including:

  1. Continue to assist St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) with monthly Indian River Lagoon water sampling to monitor Central Indian River Lagoon water quality.
  2. Continue partnership with National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) to collect atmospheric nitrogen data as an Ammonia Monitoring Network (AMoN) site (FL-19).
  3. Educate Indian River County residents about proper use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides by developing or adapting educational materials to be disseminated through multiple mechanisms, including presentations to stakeholders, website, print media, partnering with IFAS, etc.
  4. Educate the public about proper care and maintenance of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS); Educate public about OSTDS sites near environmentally sensitive areas. Through Public Service Announcements (PSAs), handouts and brochures distributed with each septic repair; and outreach to homeowner associations.
  5. Advocate for maintenance of “Clean Marina” Program certification for those with existing certification.
  6. Pelican Island Audubon Society (PIAS) will coordinate with partners and stakeholders to plant 2,000 native of Florida-friendly trees in Indian River County, concentrating on communities, schools and businesses with fewer trees (e.g., Gifford, Wabasso, Sebastian, Fellsmere).
  7. PIAS will develop a list of clear, understandable economic, social, and environmental Indian River Lagoon indicators, based on available databases.
  8. Continue to conduct surveillance for conditions of public health significance, including harmful algal blooms and other marine toxins harmful to both human and animal health.


BUILT ENVIRONMENT

The built environment was identified as root causes for other priority health issues as well. Recurring factors cited included poverty, lack of economic opportunities, education, access to health care, transportation, management and prevention of chronic disease conditions, and mental health, which included feelings of safety and crime in communities where disproportionate health statuses are evident.

The built environment refers to human-made (versus natural) resources and infrastructure designed to support human activity, such as buildings, roads, parks, restaurants, grocery stores and other amenities. Characteristics of the built environment can affect the health of residents in multiple ways. One example is the lack of walkability can contribute to overweight and obesity in the population. Many aspects of the built environment that can contribute to lack of walkability include: lack of sidewalks, urban sprawl, insufficient street light and safety concern. Public transportation infrastructure and accessibility, also a human-made resource, is also being addressed under this priority. Some of these objectives include:

  1. Decrease the prevalence of animal bites by 5%.
  2. Three Indian River County communities with highest chronic disease rates will be retrofitted with infrastructure improvements.
    • Continue to participate in PACE EH project community planning meetings.
    • Continue to assist communities in identification of resources, and act as liaison to NGOs and government organizations.
    • Expand and promote PIAS’ Square-Foot Gardening project
  3. Incorporate expanded GoLine hours of operation into the Transit Development Plan (TDP). (Complete)

Another Objective is that by 2016, 35% of new development applications will have a Healthy Communities Planning score of 85%.

Florida Department of Health in Indian River County (DOH-Indian Rive)r is implementing the use of the new Indian River County Healthy Communities logo as part of the recognition to those developments that have achieved a score of 85% or greater.

DOH-Indian River General Development Review Checklist

Indian River County Healthy Community Recognition logo image

For more information on the built environment, please visit the Florida Department of Health Built Environment webpage.

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