We are fortunate to have such a variety of habitats within the Lake Worth Lagoon. Today, we will learn more about a few of these habitats and where they can be found within the Lagoon
Tidal Flats – According to the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, “Tidal Flats are intertidal, non-vegetated, soft sediment habitats, found between mean high-water and mean low-water spring tide datums and are generally located in estuaries and other low energy marine environments. They are distributed widely along coastlines world-wide, accumulating fine-grain sediments on gently sloping beds, forming the basic structure upon which coastal wetlands build.”
Tidal Flats support a variety of life forms such as sea grass, mangroves, invertebrates, crustaceans, bivalves and crabs and many others. You can see examples of Tidal Flats at John’s Island at the mouth of the C-51 Canal.
Wetlands – A naturally occurring habitat in Florida’s Estuaries, Wetlands provide valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. Mangroves found in wetlands also help to filter the water and provide a favorable environment for fish nurseries.
The Snook Islands Restoration Project restored 100 acres of wetland habitat in the Lake Worth Lagoon. Where dead zones once existed, sea grasses now grow. Hundreds of bird species use the Snook Islands for food and shelter, the American Oystercatcher has even returned to the area and is one of the Snook Islands most vocal residents!
Maritime Hammock – Maritime Hammocks are some of the most rapidly disappearing habits around. They are a non-coniferous forest comprised of native tree species like Gumbo-Limbo, Sea Grape and Saw Palmetto. These coastal wooded habitats are at a higher elevation than Tidal Flats and provide food and protection for migrating birds.
The John’s Island Restoration Project created 1.4 acres of Maritime Hammock that also includes mangrove Tidal Flats, Oyster Reefs and a Tidal Inlet.
These are just a few of the more common ecosystem found right here in the Lake Worth Lagoon. These incredible restoration projects are made possible by the efforts of Palm Beach County and the Department of Environmental Resources Management.
Visit www.KayakLakeWorth.com learn about Kayak rentals and tours in the Lake Worth Lagoon
With two days remaining, the supplies are picked up, the volunteer list is full and we are ready for The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up 2012!
We would like to thank Keep Palm Beach Beautiful, the group responsible for organizing the global event in Palm Beach County, for making this important clean-up event possible.
From the Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful website:
The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the world’s largest, one-day volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. Every September, volunteers from over 100 countries descend on local beaches, rivers, lakes and canals to show their commitment to cleaner waterways. The Ocean Conservancy, the world’s largest organization focusing exclusively on the health of the marine environment, has sponsored this annual event for the past 27 years.
In our state, the ICC is much more than just removing trash. By using detailed, standardized data cards, volunteers gather valuable information about the types and sources of debris found. Analyzed and tracked year by year, this information serves as a powerful tool for educating the public, influencing public policy, and effecting positive behavioral change on the part of individuals, organizations, and communities.
The collection of this data by cleanup volunteers of all ages and the resulting report prepared by The Ocean Conservancy is used in the following ways:
- To raise awareness of the quantities and types of marine debris;
- To determine the various sources of marine debris;
- To evaluate the impact of marine debris on wildlife and habitat;
- To assist in the enforcement of regulations against illegal dumping;
- To influence industries that manufacture products that cause harm to the marine environment.
Kayak Lake Worth is happy to be part of this worldwide effort. We will be working in the Snook Islands and the surrounding area. We would also like to send out a HUGE thank-you to the South Shores Tavern who will be proving lunch for the volunteers – WE LOVE YOU SOUTH SHORES!!!
Even though we cannot accept anymore volunteers for this event, contact us to be placed on the contact list for our next clean-up.
The Snook Islands are one of the must-paddle areas of the Lake Worth Lagoon. Located just north of the Lake Worth Bridge, the Snook Islands exist in a former dead zone. This portion of the Lagoon had been dredged to such a depth that there was no oxygen and it could not support animal or plant habitats. Now the area stretches for 1.5 miles along the Lake Worth Golf Course and features Oyster Reefs and 4 Mangrove Islands.
The Palm Beach County Snook Islands Restoration Project included:
>Restoration of 100 acres of wetland habitat.
>Created a natural and sustainable shoreline over 1 mile long.
>Eliminated exotic and evasive plant species such as Australian Pine from 5 acres of shoreline and restored almost 2 acres of existing mangrove fringe.
>Planted 11 acres of Mangroves.
>Planted almost 4 acres of Spartina (Cordgrass).
>Created over 2 acres of Oyster Reefs.
>Restored 40 acres of sup-tidal habitat to encourage sea grasses.
The Snook Islands N.A. also features a handy kayak launch, a 600 foot boardwalk, fishing piers and boat docks. Phase II/Bryant Park Wetlands should be getting underway soon and will add more Mangrove Islands and Oyster Reefs on the South side of the Lake Worth Bridge, just off shore from Bryant Park.
The Snook Islands can be paddled at any tide, although at and around low tide gives the most complete view of the islands. A drop off area is available at the Snook Islands Kayak Launch with free parking located a short walk away.