This post is meant to document the life seen July 2022 On Saturday, 7-9-22, Ed made me promise I would be ready on time. He wanted to take me out in the Maverick to show me the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon’s seagrass/macro-algae flats at low tide. Very low tide. “Exactly 12.37pm.”
I was ready on time, but I don’t think I was ready for what I witnessed. With the seagrass and macro-algae totally exposed, one could see the extent of the recovery; wading birds feasted everywhere -over one-hundred of various species.
Ed and I did not walk out into the delicate grass flats, but anchored and explored along the edge. From where we were, in the distance, we could see many boats at the Sandbar, Sailfish Point, and the St Lucie Inlet. Carefully, we photographed and returned the creatures living on the edge of the seagrass/macro-algae flats. It definitely does not look entirely healthy, like it did when I was a kid, but nonetheless life reigns. The extreme low tide lasted about an hour. Then the ocean tide came rushing in…
Of the critters I knew were fighting conchs, living sand-dollars, hermit crabs, inky sea slugs, olive snail mollusks, clams, shrimp, and pen shell mollusks bivalves. Many others were present that I could not identify. There were at least two kinds of seagrasses.
Historically, this is a small amount of seagrass life for the Indian River Lagoon. These flats were completely decimated by long-duration Lake Okeechobee discharges, some toxic, in 2013, 2016, and 2018. Three years without major Lake Okeechobee discharges has allowed some life to return.A reader of my blog recently asked if I thought our water improvements were policy driven or luck. My answer? “Both.”
-Video of low tide exposure
-Ed is happy I was on time! -Various photographs 7-9-22 around 1pm. Looking east towards Sandbar (L) and Hutchinson Island’s Sailfish Point (R) visible behind a stunning mangrove island and ibis rookery. Note all the specks, they’re birds! -Ibis-Ed and I did not walk out on the delicate beds but could see many birds feasting in the distance. -Little blue herons happily eating-Living sand-dollar -Fighting conch covered in sandy mud-A clam excretion? Very strange- and a sea-slug.-A hollow tube formation.-Here one can see two kinds of seagrasses, maybe manatee and johnson. -There were hundreds of these piles of sand. Not sure what they are. -When disturbed, a sea slug excretes beautiful purple ink- kind of like an octopus. I put him right back! -A convention of sea slugs!-Baby olive mollusk makes a path through the sand.-Small clams. There were blue crabs, and tiny crabs about but they were too fast to photograph! -Sand dollar. Amazing they are breeding here! -Ed and I though this might be a baby queen conch due to spikes but the more we looked we thought it was yet another fighting conch.-There were many hermit crabs in many different shells. At one point, after the long Lake O discharges, there were no hermit crabs to be seen. Terrible. Glad to see them back! -I think this fighting conch was eating this little shrimp.-Pen shell mollusk bivalve-A living olive mollusk! A rare sight! Beautiful! -Note macro algae on top of seagrass. This is getting to be more and more due to over nutrification (nitrogen and phosphorus) of our waters. -Hermit crab in macro algae and seagrass.-Ed and I at “high noon.”-Surrounding water looking clear!