Tag Archives: IRL savannas

A Different View, St Lucie River~Indian River Lagoon

-Indian River Lagoon & St Luice River meet to flow into the Atlantic Ocean as seen over the savannas. Nettles Island , a landmark, juts into the IRL (upper left.) Note peninsula of Sewall’s Point and St Lucie Inlet. Aerial photograph by Ed Lippisch, 9/11/22, 6:15pm.Recently, I have been asking Ed to get a “different view” while flying-something other than the location between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island near the St Lucie Inlet. That area is the heart of the matter when documenting seagrass recovery or destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee. However, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon includes much more than that. The undeveloped savannas region seen above is quite striking.

Here Ed looks south over the savannas, now Savannas Preserve State Park, an area west of the railroad tracks stretching ten miles between Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce.

As my mother, author Sandra Thurlow writes  in her book, Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River, …”ours is not a savanna at all. A true savanna is grassland with scattered, small drought resistant trees. Many eons ago the Jensen Savannas was a lagoon like the Indian River. Now the ancient lagoon is a region of lakes, marsh and pine flatwoods. When polar icecaps formed, bringing Florida out of the sea, tides and winds shaped a primary dune along the east coast of the peninsula. The shallow waters in the wetlands behind the dune were brackish. The ocean levels continued to drop and sand bars just off the coast were exposed, forming Hutchinson Island. What had been the primary dune became the Atlantic Coastal Ridge.” 

She goes on to explain that prior to modern times the savannas’ ecosystem was almost 200 miles long, but due to development along the Indian River Lagoon the region has been reduced to just ten ecologically intact miles.

Areas such as these “savannas” are critical to the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and an inspiration for more comprehensive protection in the future.

Hope you enjoyed today’s different view.