May's meetup will be on Peanut Island in Riviera Beach!
Peanut Island was originally created in 1918 as a result of material excavated when the Lake Worth Inlet was created. Originally called Inlet Island, Peanut Island amounted to only ten (10) acres. By 1923 the Port was using the island as a spoil site for the maintenance of the inlet and the Port shipping channel. The Port sold the northern half of the island in 1991 to the Florida Inland Navigation District as a spoil site for the Intracoastal Waterway maintenance dredging.
Today, as a result of continued maintenance dredging of the inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway, Peanut Island comprises approximately eighty (80) acres. The primary use of the island will continue as a spoil site but the Port Authority and FIND have generously made the perimeter of the island available to the public as a park through a long-term arrangement with Palm Beach County.
The name Peanut was given to the island when the State gave permission for use of the island as a terminal for shipping peanut oil. Plans for this enterprise were abandoned in 1946, but the name was retained.
We will meet at Tiki Waterfront Sea Grille at 200 E 13th St, Riviera Beach at 8:30 and the Peanut Island Water Taxi will leave to take us over at 9:00 (we may end up needing more than one trip). NOTE THAT YOU MUST BRING $10 CASH FOR THE TAXI RIDE OVER TO THE ISLAND. If you arrive late you can always take another trip over. He said he does at least one trip back & forth every 1/2 hour.
Once we get over there everyone will have lots of photo opportunities to choose from including:
• The reef boardwalk extends 280 feet over water and is a perfect place to view the reef habitat without getting wet. You might even see a manatee lounging in the area. These gentle “sea cows” frequent Peanut Island, grazing on abundant seagrasses. Beyond the reef you will see boats of all sizes and shapes, from small open-water fishing boats to large cruise ships that pass through the Lake Worth Inlet.
• Maritime hammock is one of the most rapidly-disappearing habitats in Florida. During the Peanut Island environmental enhancement project, 60 acres of invasive exotic vegetation were removed and replanted with maritime hammock species, including gumbo limbo, seagrape, cabbage palm, fiddlewood, firebush, sea-lavender, railroad vine, and East Coast dune sunflower. This hammock area is an important habitat for birds and wildlife and increases the diversity of species in Lake Worth Lagoon.
• As you move along the 230-foot boardwalk past the mangroves to the beach, you’ll see a series of flushing channels extending north and south from the boardwalk. These channels were cut to improve tidal flow to 3 acres of restored mangroves. Mangroves help stabilize the shoreline and provide nursery habitat for juvenile fish and invertebrates. Their decaying leaves provide the base for the estuarine food chain.
• Kennedy Bunker and Coast Guard Station tour (this is a separate activity; price of the tour is not included in the $10 meetup cost). For information click HERE (although I'm not sure how updated this website is!). I will get more info about this and post it prior to the meetup. If you haven't seen this before I definitely think it's worthwhile.
After the meetup, we will have lunch at Tiki Waterfront Sea Grille.
For more information about Peanut Island click HERE (be sure to click "walking tour" on the left side of the page).