VERO BEACH — Great Blue Herons, Cormorants and Anhingas were just some of the species bird watchers observed on a recent tour of Spoonbill Marsh, a 45-acre man-made marsh, constructed by the County’s Utilities Department, on the edge of the Indian River Lagoon. The tour was hosted by the Indian River Land Trust and began with staff and volunteers explaining the County’s new approach for the disposal of wastewater brine through reverse osmosis.
The process involves well water brine being pumped from a water treatment plant to the marsh where it is mixed with water from the Indian River Lagoon. The marsh vegetation is expected to remove the damaging pollutants from the wastewater as it travels nearly ½ a mile east to the Lagoon.
Guests enjoyed a mile long walk on an elevated boardwalk through the marsh and over the Indian River Lagoon, catching site of more than two dozen bird species.
Spoonbill Marsh was so named because it was designed to attract wading birds such as the threatened Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork. With more than 125 bird species depending on the entire Indian River Lagoon for breeding, the protection of lands along the Lagoon is essential to these species’ survival. The Land Trust recently purchased property north of Spoonbill Marsh, more than doubling the protected conservation area along the Lagoon directly across from John’s Island and north of Grand Harbor.
The Spoonbill Marsh tour is part of a series of conservation tours offered by the Indian River Land Trust, a non-profit organization celebrating 20 years of promoting the preservation, conservation and improvement of Indian River County’s natural resources and special places for the benefit of the general public and future generations.
Residents and guests are invited to join the Land Trust for future tours including Padgett Creek Ranches, Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail, the Lagoon Greenway and another tour of Spoonbill Marsh in 2011.
For more information visit www.irlt.org; to sign-up for a tour call 772-794-0701.