Recognized as one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in the world, with a warm-temperate climate to the north and a subtropical climate to the south, the IRL is influenced by both which contributes to the spectacular biodiversity found within the Lagoon.
A number of distinct habitats serve as home to the plants and animals of the IRL. Seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, and saltmarshes are essential for a healthy Lagoon.
Sources: Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program; Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) watershed's land features date back to 420,000 years ago, shaped by the rise and fall of the sea.
The basin's major waterbodies are three elongated saline lagoons: Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River Lagoon, and the Banana River.
These lagoons separate mainland Florida from a strip of barrier islands that extends north and south of two unique land features, Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island.
QUICK FACTS about the IRL:
• North America's most diverse estuary
• 156 miles long; width from .5 to 5 miles
• Averages 3-4' depth
• Brackish water, fresh and salt water mix
• 2000+ Plant species
• 700+ Fish species
• 300+ Bird species
• 50+ threatened or endangered species
Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Indian River Lagoon watershed.