Save the Reef (Satellite Beach)
The reef along central Florida’s coast is an exceptional ecosystem that many species depend on and hundreds of thousands of people enjoy each year. Growing up along this shoreline our lives have revolved around this unique ecosystem and the many activities it provides to us. Some of the best fishing and surfing in all of Florida coast is produced from the reef’s definitive structure and habitat it creates. This ecosystem is very unique and is named federally protected fish habitat under the Magnuson Stevens Act. It is a “full living reef” that is created by worm reef attaching and growing over the large coquina reef and provides a complete habitat for many species of turtles, fish, birds and other creatures that thrive off the food and shelter the reef provides. The reef attracts many visitors that are intrigued by its beauty and the abundance of life it provides. This creates a perfect environment for kids to experience a hand’s on learning adventure that is fun! Kids enjoy playing in the rocks and finding different crabs and other creatures that they have never seen before.
Just recently, the Army Corp of Engineers released a ‘’final plan’’ for the mid reach Segment of Brevard County, from south end of PAFB to north Indialantic). The ACE has formulated a plan ‘’they say’’ that will only bury a few acres of reef but we all know how accurate the ACE is at predicting the outcome of their projects. After the dumping that occurred last time, we saw an immediate effect of dirtier water. It had a silty-Mississippi-river-color to it that fogged the water as it settled over the live reef. We began to see the aftermath of the bad experiment from hundreds if not thousands of dead stone crab floating onto the shore. The live worm reef became bridal, weak and broke free from the coquina reef which we had never seen happen before.
This took a tremendous toll on the reef, which was crumpling into pieces and dying on the shoreline. As the dirt suffocated the reef the waves changed making it so shallow the whole wave would break at once, forming one big close-out. Surfing became more dangerous and unpredictable. It pushed us to surf other places further away from our local breaks thus depleting the surf community.
With the dirty water it made it hard to fish. Snook, flounder, and pompano love clear, clean water. For years after they dumped the dirt, the fishing in Satellite Beach was not worth the effort so we would fish other places like the inlet or in the lagoon. The effect from the last dirt dumping is still noticeable. After a few days of windy conditions, the Mississippi river mud returns.
As the dump trucks come back, our natural beach and live reef will go away. All the plants and animals that grow up in this precious ecosystem will leave or die. It’s time for us to start embracing what we are fortunate to still have; and save one of the most unique habitats and places along America’s coastline. Please help us stop using our taxpayer’s money to dump dirt on our special and irreplaceable reef. Write to the newspaper and also the elected officials who make the decisions on how our federal, state, and local taxes are spent. Please join the Sebastian inlet Surfrider chapter, get involved and make a difference. Please send your comments by April 14th to: Irene.firstname.lastname@example.org