letter to the Editor: On the dying mangroves Eagle i article

On the dying mangroves Eagle i article

Eileen Ward: Your article on dying mangroves in the Feb. 27 Marco Eagle was of special interest to me because the accompanying photograph looked just like the view from my home in Vintage Bay. I certainly don’t know what killed those mangroves, but here’s what I do know.

Old maps of Marco Island show the dead mangrove area east of Vintage Bay as Portland Lake, apparently a fresh water lake. At some time in the past an extra high tide breached the neck of land between the south end of the lake and Barfield Bay. There may also have been another breach on the northwest side of the lake, which is now covered by the access road to Vintage Bay.

Since mangroves like salt water, I assume that they grew while the lake was a tidal body of water. I have lived at Vintage Bay for 11 years and the mangroves were dead or dying when I moved here. By the height of the dead trees, I would estimate that they were at least 20 years old when they died. That places tidal flooding of the lake at least 30 years ago.

Under current conditions, the “lake” is a strange body of water. In the summer rainy season it again becomes a fresh water lake. But the lake dries up by January. It remains dry, except for about once every month or two, when an extra high tide floods the lake with salt water (from the south end). The last such high tide was on March 28.

The lake is currently filled with salt water which will disappear in a week or two. We will then have a dry lake again, but now it will be a dry salt pond. Apparently no flora can deal with abundant fresh water, followed by total dry, followed by salt water flooding, followed by dry again until June. In June we’ll have a lake again until about November when the water slowly recedes. There may be tidal flooding in the wet season too, but I cannot observe it because the lake is always full. Just thought you’d like to know.

If the plugged pipe under San Marco road feeds into the “lake”, it may have been the major supplier of salt water when the mangroves grew.

Wilfred O. Uhl

Marco Island

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Comments » 1

woods311 writes:

I can remember as a kid in the fifty's going to the beach on Marco. The dead mangroves and pink mud was there then. Back then you could drive on the beach from caxambass to Marco pass. Most of Marco was mangroves, which were bulldozed to create all those lovely home sites. Let's not get too excited about a few acres of natural death.

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