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.
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