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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 restoration projects in the lagoon since the early 1990s.  Both large scale island restorations and small scale shoreline enhancements have added acres of habitat for the plants and animals as well as increasing water quality within the estuary.

 Large-scale Habitats

John's Island

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Originally a small, low lying tidal area, the island grew to 6.5 acres from years of dredged fill from the Intracoastal Waterway being placed on it.  ERM restored the island by lowering the elevation to create optimal conditions for salt marsh, mangrove, seagrass, oysters and tropical maritime habitats.   Due to it's location at the mouth of the C-51 Canal,  John's Island was a prime location for a 14 acre oyster bar to filter the water column as inland freshwater flows into the estuary. The island is managed by Audubon.

 Living Shorelines

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In areas where seawalls line the lagoon, ERM's restoration efforts focus on large limestone elevated  salt marsh grass planters that flood at high tide.  Mud flats, nooks and crannies in the rock, and the grasses all provide habitat for fiddler crabs, birds, and oysters. ERM's living shorelines are installed along publically owned lands along the lagoon:  City of West Palm Beach: Currie Park (featured above), Osprey Park; City of Lake Worth: Bryant Park, Jewell Cove, Old Bridge Park; and Town of Lantana: Bicentennial Park, Lyman Park, 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. In addition to restoring habitat for plants and animals,  these places are accessible and have public use amenities offering a range of activities for everyone. 

 Munyon Island

 History and Nature Side by Side

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Once considered the largest wading bird rookery in South Florida in the 1800s, this former 15 acre island in the lagoon was a destination in the early 1900s for wealthy Northerners to visit the Hotel Hygeia where they would drink "Dr. Munyon's Paw-Paw Elixir" and recuperate from their ailments. In the 1930s and 1960s, the island grew 45 acres from stockpiled dredge materials from the Intracoastal Waterway.  In the 1990s, ERM lowered the island's elevation in the lagoon, created tidal channels and ponds, and restored habitats to  20 acres of mangrove and salt marsh grasses, 23 acres of maritime hammock, and 9 acres of seagrass.

Part of the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, the island is managed by the Florida Park Service.  Bring your kayak or rent one at the gift shop to paddle the lagoon and visit this historical island once called "Nuctsachoo" or Pelican Island by the Seminole Indians.

Take a step back in time!
Click here for details.

  

 Peanut Island

 This is Paradise Island!

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Since 1918, Peanut Island has been a county staple in the northern part of the lagoon.  Sitting at the mouth of the Lake Worth Inlet, the island formed over the years as dredge material was stockpiled on it.  ERM removed the excess fill to restore habitats including reef, beach, dune, coastal strand, maritime hammock, and mangrove 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.

Plan your get-away!
Click here for details.

 Snook Islands

Restoration a la Recycling 

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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.

Visit Snook Islands!
Click here for details.

 South Cove

    Wildlife Viewing in the City

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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. 

If you go Downtown, check out South Cove!
Click here for details.

 Ocean Ridge Natural Area

    A Quiet Oasis at the South End

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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.

Find peace and quiet!
Click here for details.

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.