Beautiful Island

Lng: -81.81381 Lat: 26.69549Back to site data


At Beautiful Island, the Caloosahatchee upper estuary widens and has many shallow areas which are suitable for submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) such as tape grass (Vallisneria americana) and widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima). These plants are food for manatees and are an important habitat for juvenile estuarine species of fish, juvenile blue crabs, and estuarine clams Rangia cuneata and Polymesoda caroliniana. This area is also where the dry season estuarine turbidity maximum (ETM) exists. The turbidity maximum areas are important for development of larval fish and zooplankton. Because of frequent droughts and the removal of springs and other sources of freshwater flows, salinities in this area exceed the maximum tolerable tapegrass and other species that inhabit the area. Supplemental flows from Lake Okeechobee are presently necessary to preserve this important habitat. Hypoxia can occur in this area because of stratification and high oxygen demand that usually occur at the beginning of the wet season (May-July) but can occur anytime.

David Lucas generously supported the initial RECON equipment at Beautiful Island.

Its replacement following a 2015 catastrophic lightning strike was made possible by 86 generous donors.