As you travel through the lagoon consider that your are taking a quiet ride through an area that is considered to be the Cradle to the Ocean. Treat it gently!
The Lagoon - What is it?
The Lagoon is a body of water separated from the ocean by a barrier island. It is where fresh water meets and mixes with salty ocean water. This mixture is called brackish water. The fresh water comes from rain as it pours down on the surrounding area and enters the lagoon through storm water runoffs. No large, fresh water river empties into the lagoon. Ocean water enters at inlets such as Ponce Inlet, Cape Canaveral Inlet, Sebastian Inlet and Jupiter Inlet.
You may not see it, but this lagoon is full of life. Many of the fish, shrimp, clams and oysters spend part or all of their lives in this lagoon. The shallow waters, salt marshes, sea grasses and mangrove roots provide excellent hiding places from larger predators.
Larger animals depend on the waters for various reasons. Sea turtles spend their adolescent years growing up in the lagoon. Manatee come to eat the tender grasses that grow on the lagoon's floor. Birds nest in the mangroves trees and feed on the fish. Dolphin feed on the schools of fish that are here. Some dolphin spend their entire lives in the lagoon. Many marine and land animals depend on the lagoon for food, shelter, breeding and nesting.
Red, Black and White mangroves thrive in the salty environment because they obtain fresh water from the salt water. Many animals find shelter either in the root or branches of the mangroves.
The Red Mangrove grows at the water's edge. Because of it's root system it appears to be standing or walking on the surface of the water. The Black Mangrove occupies slightly higher elevations from the red mangrove. It has numerous finger-like projections that protrude from the soil around the trees trunk. The white mangrove occupies the highest elevations. It has no visible aerial root system. The easiest way to identify the white mangrove is by its leaves. The are elliptical, light yellow-green and have two distinguishing glands at the base of the leaf blade where the stem starts. The roots of the mangroves and marsh grasses hold the soil in place and keep the shoreline of Mosquito Lagoon from eroding.
Mosquito Lagoon is a special place. Help protect it by learning how the lagoon plants and animals depend on each other, disposing of your litter properly, and abiding by the fishing limits.