Sunday, November 2, 2014

LagoonFest celebrates ‘living, breathing’ estuary of Lake... |

This was a good idea to have the first LagoonFest, taking place in downtown West Palm Beach yesterday. I've been to most of the Lake Worth Lagoon symposiums and have always found them interesting. Many people think about what we also refer to as the Intracoastal Waterway as a place where boats go, as the article says. Click title for link. But it is much more than that. It is essentially an urban estuary whose water quality is affected by what goes on around it. It was also known for its abundant fishing and recreation opportunities. Unfortunately, through the later half of the 20th century, it has been something that we have turned our backs to. Hopefully, we can have LagoonFest in Bryant Park next year and have Lake Worth play a bigger role in the event. It doesn't seem like we had much presence at this years inaugural one.
Before Saturday, Boynton Beach resident Darren Cook had never heard of the Lake Worth Lagoon. To him, the body of water that runs parallel to the coast and separates Palm Beach Island from West Palm Beach was nothing more than a runway for boats.
But the dredged waterway known as the Intracoastal is only a slice of a 20-mile long lagoon that’s home to a variety of wildlife including fish, birds, manatees and sea turtles. At about a half-mile wide, the lagoon is the largest estuary in Palm Beach County, stretching from North Palm Beach to Ocean Ridge.
“The lagoon has been around since before people even settled here,” said Robert Robbins, director of environmental resources management for Palm Beach County. “It is much more than just a highway for boats.”
Robbins is a part of the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative, which is a collaborative effort by governmental agencies, community organizations and individuals to improve the lagoon after years of pollution.