Stretching across 156 miles of Florida’s east coast, the Indian River Lagoon system extends from Volusia County (Ponce de Leon Inlet) down to Palm Beach County (Jupiter Inlet).
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a large estuary system which means salt water from the Atlantic Ocean mixes with freshwater that drains from the land, local streams, canals, and storm water outfalls. The whole Indian River Lagoon system itself is made up of three, interconnected estuarine lagoons: Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River Lagoon. The 2,284 square mile watershed ranges from half a mile to five and half miles wide, with the average depth of the lagoon measuring about four feet.1,2 Considered the most diverse estuarine ecosystem in all of North America, this shallow-water estuary is home to over four thousand different species of plants and wildlife, serving as a nursery for many species of marine life as well as a biological highway for migrating birds.2,3
Part II of the History of the Indian River Lagoon will look at its resources and the effects from certain events throughout its history.
1. “Description of the Indian River Lagoon.” Southwest Florida Water Management District. n.d. Web. 19 Sep. 2013. <http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_watershed/portlet%20-%20coastal%20ecosystems/tab1806037/irlswim99/appendixb.pdf>.
2. “Fast facts about the Indian River Lagoon.” St. Johns River Water Management District. 5 Apr. 2013.
3. “Indian River Lagoon: background and history.” St. Johns River Water Management District. 5 Apr. 2013. < http://www.sjrwmd.com/itsyourlagoon/history.html#>.
4. “Coconut Point Sanctuary.” Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. n.d. Web. 20. Sep. 2013. <http://www.brevardcounty.us/EELProgram/Areas/CoconutPoint/Home>.
5. “The Ais.” Ancient Native: heritage of the ancient ones. n.d. Web. 19 Sep. 2013.
6. “Indian River Lagoon – An Introduction to a National Treasure” St. Johns River Water Management District 2007.