St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District
St. Johns River Water Management District - floridaswater.com
Water bodies, watersheds and storm water

Fast facts about the Indian River Lagoon

Watershed
Mangrove
  • The lagoon watershed covers 2,284 square miles and the lagoon’s waters span 353 square miles.
  • Five counties border the lagoon; however, portions of seven counties are within the watershed.
  • Five inlets connect the lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. However, the inlet at Port Canaveral has locks that separate the port basin from the lagoon, limiting the exchange of waters.
Not a river

The lagoon is 156-mile-long estuary where salt water from the Atlantic Ocean mixes with freshwater from the land and tributaries. The resulting brackish (slightly salty) water is moved more by the wind than by the tide and does not flow from headwaters to a mouth like a river. The width of the lagoon varies from one-half mile to five miles, with an average depth of four feet.

Three sections

The Indian River Lagoon is comprised of three lagoons:

  • Mosquito Lagoon (from Ponce de Leon Inlet to the north end of Merritt Island)
  • Banana River (an offshoot of the Indian River on Merritt Island’s eastern shore)
  • Indian River (the main body of water, extending from northern Brevard County to the southern boundary of Martin County)
Supporting the economy

The lagoon is responsible for one-seventh of the region’s economy. The overall, annual economic value of the lagoon was estimated at $3.7 billion in 2007.

Fisheries

The lagoon is the cradle of the ocean, serving as a spawning and nursery ground for many fish. Lagoon fisheries generate an estimated $30 million in revenues annually and the lagoon provides approximately 50 percent of annual fish harvest along the east coast of Florida.

Highway of the East Coast

The lagoon is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a key biological highway for many migrating birds.

Pair of birds
Wildlife
  • The lagoon basin contains a large number of species relative to other estuaries in North America, with:
    • 685 fish species
    • 370 bird species
    • 2,100 plant species
    • 2,200 animal species
  • Ocean beaches in the lagoon region attract some of the highest numbers of nesting sea turtles in the western hemisphere.
  • The lagoon is the only location in the world where the Atlantic salt marsh snake is found.
Plant life
  • The northern limit of mangroves is within the lagoon boundaries.
  • Maritime hammocks, which include a number of tropical and subtropical trees and other plants, are found in the region, but not further north.
  • The lagoon contains 27 percent of eastern Florida’s coastal salt marshes.
Management

The St. Johns River and South Florida water management districts, the five counties that border the lagoon — Brevard, Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Volusia — and representatives of state, federal and regional governments and agencies make up the Indian River Lagoon Advisory Board, charged with guiding and overseeing the lagoon’s protection and restoration. The St. Johns River Water Management District sponsors the lagoon program, which is housed at the District’s Palm Bay Service Center.

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922