The Fascinating Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon was formed from flooded lowland between the barrier islands along the Atlantic and a line of mainland dunes, call the Silver Bluff, formed during an earlier period when the ocean was higher. The lagoon runs north and south for 156 miles. It is a unique blend of salt water from the Atlantic and fresh water from streams and rain. The lagoon supports 2,200 species of animals—more than any other lagoon or estuary in North America. These include 310 species of birds and 700 species of fish—four of which breed nowhere else. Over a third of the nation’s manatees live or find winter shelter in the lagoon. It is also home to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the very first in the nation’s wildlife refuge system.
For these reasons I wanted to explore not only the lagoon but one of the streams that empties into it from the Silver Bluff country.
On this trip I intended to explore the lee side of the barrier island as well as the lagoon and the Silver Bluff country beyond. So I started on the barrier island at the Sebastian Inlet State Park.
I began my exploration at Sebastian Inlet State Park’s marina. I reached the marina by driving north on SR A1A about a mile from the park’s main entrance, where I had ended my travels last chapter. Upon reaching the marina’s entry road, I turned left and soon came to the docking area.
I was now on the interior side of the barrier island. The sea oats and other plants of the frontal zone were gone. In their place was lush vegetation dominated by mangroves, where the land was wet and brackish, and by cabbage palms and live oaks, where the land was slightly higher and drier. Although the soil was still predominantly sand, it was darkened by the mulch of decayed leaves.
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