Seagrass loss and the Indian River Lagoon

Seagrasses' poor quality is apparent at shoreline near Jensen Beach.
Seagrasses’ poor quality is apparent at shoreline near Jensen Beach. (Photo JTL)

Seagrass is really the lifeblood of the Indian River Lagoon. For the most part it no longer exist in the St Lucie River. Seagrass is the where fish are born, hide and eat before they get big enough to move into the oceans or open waters of the lagoon.

Holistically the lagoon is in big trouble. In 2010 and 2011 a super bloom of algae never seen in the lagoon before started in the northern area in Volusia County and Brevard counties. By the time it ran its course 87% of the sea grasses in the Banana River had disappeared.

In 2012 further south into Indian River County and parts of northern St Lucie, a secondary bloom, a brown tide, had moved south killing approximately 44% of the sea grasses in these areas.

St John’s Water Management District: (http://www.sjrwmd.com/itsyourlagoon/)

Closer to home, the sea grasses in the southern lagoon have been repeatedly ruined by the fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee and C-23 and C-24 during high rains.

Ft Pierce remains the healthiest area, however;  the recent marina improvements and consistent talk of a port threaten that area.

Hundreds of manatees, dolphins and pelicans have died recently from what the agencies call a “mystery.” There is no mystery, we are killing the lifeblood of our fisheries and corresponding food chain.

It’s up to us to reverse this trend, and we finally seem to getting it. Fertilizer, septic tanks, agricultural and residential runoff must be improved and shoreline destruction corrected.

There is a better future if we make it happen.

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To learn more about seagrasses, Harbor Branch’s symposiums have documented IRL Seagrass loss for the past three  years. See topics here. (www.indianriverlagoon.org))

4 thoughts on “Seagrass loss and the Indian River Lagoon

  1. Angel Jacqui, If the IRL Will Get On- Board, I Have Instant Habitat for the Fry and Juvenile Sport , Game and other Fishies Survival From Larger Apex`s– my Patented and Now Permitted Mangrove system !! I would love it If You Could connect me With Agencies, Companies etc. That Are Propagating different species of sea grasses, so I can plant grasses with my Eco – system installations !! Jacqui could You send me Your Fax #, so I can send You something. ThanX Lee@intracoastalecosystems.com ph# 561-342-1ECO (326)

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  2. in answer to a question regarding whats going on in the upper lagoon -dumping waste water is quite different that blaming septic tanks.” Cyndi, to the best of my knowledge, the pollution from Lake O does not affect the northern Lagoon- it has its own run-off and septic leakage problems. Cocoa Beach still discharges it’s “treated” wastewater to the Lagoon as I believe does Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral (though Gov. Scott recently pledged them money for improvements). Who knows what Cape Canaveral or Port Canaveral discharges into the Lagoon there otherwise. (What I suspect contributed significantly to the deaths of all those dolphins, manatees, and pelicans).From Melbourne down to the St. Sebastian River, there are several large storm water canals that still empty into it. (The muck is very thick through that section- but there may be money to dredge it.) Here in the Sebastian area there are a couple projects being worked on. One is another 10,000 acres in Fellsmere to clean and store water (dirty water that also comes down from the north like Lake O’s does), in southern Brevard County there’s another wetlands project to clean the water before it goes into the north prong of the St. Sebastian, and Fellsmere is also working to lessen what they dump in the C54 canal.”

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