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  • Fun Place to Visit - Peanut Island's Snorkel Lagoon

  • Success Story! American Oystercatchers Have Successfully Nested on Restored Islands In Lake Worth Lagoon for Over Decade

  • Restoration @ Ibis Isles Enhanced Habitats- Mudflats - Wetland Mangrove Trees & Salt Marsh Grasses - Upland Hardwood Tree Hammocks

  • Green Sea Turtles (pictured) Visit Our Beaches to Nest And Call Lake Worth Lagoon Home

  • Jewel Cove's Shoreline Protects And Provides Habitat Making It A LIVING SHORELINE

  • Manatees Enjoy Our Waterways All Year But During Winter Months Their Numbers Increase

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OUR Local Treasure

Palm Beach County's largest estuary spans 20 miles from North Palm Beach to Ocean Ridge. Salty oceanic water enters the lagoon via two permanent man-made inlets, the Lake Worth Inlet and the South Lake Worth Inlet, mixing with freshwater entering the lagoon from canals.

 

​Restoring the Lagoon

ERM has overseen large and small scale restoration projects in the estuary adding over "X" acres of habitat for plants and animals and increasing water quality.

 John's Island

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Originally this low lying tidal area was impacted by soil being placed on it from dredging the Intracoastal Waterway for many years.  ERM restored the island by removing the soil which created optimal conditions for salt marsh, mangrove, seagrass, oysters and tropical maritime habitats.  One of the highlights of this island is a 14 acre oyster bar that filters the water column as freshwater flows into the estuary from inland through the C-51 Canal.  The island is managed by Audubon.

 Living Shorelines

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Where seawalls line the lagoon, ERM's restoration efforts focus on installing elevated planters that flood at high tide.  Mud flats, nooks and crannies in the limestone rock, and the salt marsh grasses all provide habitat for fiddler crabs, birds, and oysters. These projects can be found along publically owned lands within the  City of West Palm Beach at Currie Park (featured) and Osprey Park; City of Lake Worth at Bryant Park, Jewell Cove, and Old Bridge Park; and Town of Lantana at Bicentennial Park, Lyman Park, and Lantana Nature Preserve.

​Exploring the Lagoon

There is much to see and do in the lagoon when you visit one of these ERM restoration areas that have public use amenities offering a range of activities for everyone. 

 Munyon Island

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Once considered the largest wading bird rookery in South Florida in the 1800s, this island became a destination in the 1900s for wealthy Northerners to recuperate from their ailments at Dr. Munyon's Hotel Hygeia where they would drink his "Paw-Paw Elixir" to heal their aches and pains. In the 1930s and 1960s, the island was impacted when large amounts of soil were placed on it as the Intracoastal Waterway channel was dug out.  In the 1990s, ERM removed the soil, created tidal channels and ponds to increase water flushing, and restored 20 acres of mangrove trees and salt marsh grasses, 23 acres of maritime hammock forest, and 9 acres of underwater seagrass beds.

The island is part of the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park managed by the Florida Park Service.  The best way to visit this historical island once called "Nuctsachoo" or Pelican Island by the Seminole Indians is by kayak which you can rent at the gift shop.

 

Click here to learn more.

 Peanut Island

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Since the early 1900s, this site has been the location to store soil removed to create the Lake Worth Inlet and to maintain the Intracoastal Waterway.  As the island grew, exotic trees such as Australian pines infested the property resulting in poor habitat. In 2005, ERM removed soil to create reefs, beaches, dunes, and maritime hammock and mangrove forests on this 79-acre island that gets bathed in the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean waters.

 

Palm Beach County's Parks and Recreation manages the site which hosts activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and camping.

Click here to learn more.

 Snook Islands

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ERM repurposed 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from Peanut Island and moved it south to fill a large degraded area in the lagoon by the Lake Worth Bridge that had become void of oxygen from years of dredging.  Over 11 acres of mangroves, 2 acres of oysters, 3 acres of salt marsh grass, and 60 acres of seagrass habitat were created north and south of the bridge.

Click here for more information.

 South Cove

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For years dredging activities just north of the Royal Park Bridge along the Downtown West Palm Beach Waterfront left a 7 acre hole in the lagoon floor that filled in with muck sediment providing little habitat value and an anoxic (lacking oxygen)  environment.  ERM used clean sand to cap (cover and contain) the muck, formed 3 intertidal mangrove and salt marsh islands totaling 2 acres, created 3.5 acres of seagrass habitat and 1 acre of oyster reef habitat. 


Click here for more information.

 Ocean Ridge Natural Area

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ERM restored this 9.5 acre island south of the Ocean Avenue Bridge in 2006.  The maritime hammock habitat had become degraded over the years due to surrounding development that caused a loss of mangroves and increased exotic invasive vegetation growth.  The natural area is accessible by foot or water traffic (motorized watercraft under 30 feet or kayak/canoe/paddleboard)  making it a very quiet place to visit and observe wildlife.


Click here for more information.

Life in the Lagoon

The scenic waters may provide an economic and recreational value to our area, but it's the life within the estuary that makes it so special.  You are likely to see many of these critters in the lagoon.

 Fish

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Over 250 species of fish like common snook (pictured), puffer fish, and bonefish use the lagoon.  Some live out their entire lives in the waterway, others use the protection it offers for breeding, nursery grounds to mature, and to recharge from life the Atlantic Ocean.

 Sea Turtles

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It's not just our beaches that sea turtles visit.  Juvenile green sea turtles love the northern section of the lagoon and are found in large numbers there making the waterway a crucial component in their development and continued survival.

 Oysters

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Just one of these soft-bodied invertebrates can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day removing sediments, pollutants, and microorganisms.

 Mangroves

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These tropical salt tolerant trees use to line the waterway providing safe refuge for wildlife - birds, juvenile fish, crustaceans.

 Birds

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Over 100 species of birds including raptors, migratory songbirds, wading birds and shorebirds use the lagoon for food and refuge. The American Oystercatcher (pictured) is a species of special concern that has bred at restored areas within the lagoon for more than 10 years.

 Manatees

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These large mammals swim in the lagoon all year long searching for food, mates, and rest areas.  But when the temperature drops, their numbers spike as travelers migrating up the coast find respite in the warmer waters of the lagoon.

 Reefs

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Rocks and three dimensional oyster structures provide nooks and crannies for juvenile fish to hide and adult fish to spawn.

 Seagrass

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Food for green sea turtles and manatees, these underwater flowering plants break down into  matter that forms the base of the food chain.