Female Speaker: The Indian River Lagoon, a 156-miles long on Floridas Atlantic Coast, is North America's most diverse estuary. The IRL as the locals call it, there are more than 4300 species of plants and animals.
The IRL is actually a grouping of three lagoons; the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River. It was originally named Rio de Ais after the Ais Indian tribe, who lived along the east coast of Florida. Today, the diversity of the lagoon draws millions of fishermen, boaters and bird watchers annually.
If you are paddling the IRL dont forget your fishing rod. With the most fertile seagrass beds in Florida, the lagoon is teeming with spotted sea trout, tarpon, redfish, snook and black drum. The five inlets that linked the lagoon with the sea also introduce a fair number of species normally associated with the Open Atlantic such as gag grouper, barracuda and bonefish. If fishing isnt your thing try kayaking. Paddle over grass flats located with fish and wading birds.
Manatee and dolphin sightings are common occurrence. There are also many islands to explore some of which serve as bird rookeries. The Florida scrub jay found only in the Sunshine state and the bald eagle called the IRL home along with 308 other species.
There are miles of opportunities here that are part of The Great Florida Birding Trail. So whether it's by land or water, dont miss a visit to the Indian River Lagoon.