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.
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))