Mosquito Lagoon
Mosquito Lagoon is located in the northern part of the Indian River Lagoon
Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of three lagoons: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. It was originally named Rio de Ais after the Ais Indian tribe, who lived along the east coast of Florida....

 system and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It extends from Ponce de León Inlet
Ponce de León Inlet
The Ponce de León Inlet is a natural opening in the barrier islands in northern Florida that connects the north end of the Mosquito Lagoon and the south end of the Halifax River to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the site of the town of Ponce Inlet, Florida and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light...

 in Volusia County, Florida
Volusia County, Florida
Volusia County is a county located in the state of Florida. The U.S. Census Bureau 2010 official county's population was 494,593 . Its county seat is DeLand, and its most populous city is currently Deltona....

, to the north end of Merritt Island. It connects to the Indian River
Indian River (Florida)
The Indian River is a waterway in Florida, a part of the Indian River Lagoon system which forms the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It extends southward from the Ponce de Leon inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida [Volusia County] southward and across the "Haulover Canal" and along the western shore...

 via the Haulover Canal. The Lagoon divides the city of New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, United States. The population was 20,048 according to the 2000 census. As of 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 23,161.-History:...

. It also runs next to the Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore
The Canaveral National Seashore is a National Seashore located between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida, in Volusia County and Brevard County, United States. The park, located on a barrier island, is home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species. CANA occupies 58,000 acres ...

 on Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

 and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is an important U.S. National Wildlife Refuge on the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is also a 'gateway site' for the Great Florida Birding Trail.-Location and extent:...

. The Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

 is located on the lagoon as well.

The Indian River Lagoon has more species than any other estuary in North America and the most diverse bird population in North America. An estuary is formed when saltwater from the sea mixes with freshwater from the land. Mosquito Lagoon is located in the northernmost part of the Indian River Lagoon and has a width that varies from one half mile to five miles. The waters of Mosquito Lagoon are influenced more by the wind than tidal forces and do not flow like a river.

The majority of the islands were created when mangroves seeded oyster beds. Birds visit the islands and drop seeds distributing the diverse species collection around the lagoon.

The islands of Mosquito Lagoon range from less than one acre to several hundred acres in size. Smaller islands fall victim to freezing temperatures which kill its’ plant life. Without the plants, the islands wash away over time. Larger islands are home to old oak trees, many varieties of palms and red cedar trees.

All the islands of Mosquito Lagoon are important nesting areas for birds. The lagoon is spawning and nursery ground for both ocean living and lagoon fishes.

Mosquito Lagoon is home to at least 36 rare and endangered species and four species of fish that breed only in the Indian River Lagoon System. Birds include many species of Ducks, Geese, Hawks, Falcons, Osprey, Vultures, Woodpeckers, Owls, Mockingbirds, Seabirds, Sandpipers, Gulls, Terns, Herons, Egrets, Ibis, Spoonbills, Doves, Kingfishers, Cuckoos, Quail, Turkey, Loons, Sparrows, Pelicans, Cormorants, Warblers and Hummingbirds.

Fish species in Mosquito Lagoon include Red Drum or Redfish, Spotted or Speckled Seatrout, Snook, Ladyfish, Flounder, Flounder, Tripletail, Mullet, Rays, Eels, Needlefish, Seahorses, Pipefish, Pufferfishes, Tarpon and Black Drum. Mammal species include Weasels, Panthers, Bottlenose Dolphin, Mice, Muskrats, Manatees and Raccoons. Alligators, Turtles, Tortoises, Fiddler, Horseshoe and Blue Crabs also inhabit Mosquito Lagoon. Shrimp, Clams and Oysters are an important element of the food chain in Mosquito Lagoon.

Mosquito Lagoon was home to Timucuan and Ais Indians dating back to 10,000 B.C. The rising sea level has covered many of their settlements.
Mosquito Lagoon has attracted recreational activities since the late 1800s when it became busy with steamboats. Railroad lines led to motels in New Smyrna Beach.

With names like Shotgun Island, Orange Island and Whiskey Point it is not hard to imagine the locals being mostly fishermen, orange growers, bootleggers, pig farmers and American Indians.

Mosquito Lagoon is known as the most notorious point of entry for bootleggers on the entire East Coast of Florida. Boats from Scotland, England, the Bimini Islands and Cuba were pulled across a narrow strip of beach land just across from Oak Hill, Florida. Bootleggers would stash their bottles of liquor on the islands until it was safe to transport their wares. Islands were known to have moonshine stills and some were quite famous for their size.

During and after prohibition, bottles were found on Bottle Island, located in northern Mosquito Lagoon. It is claimed that a group of fishermen fought on Bottle Island leading some to refer to it as Battle Island.

Shipyard Island is the largest island in Mosquito Lagoon. The north tip came to be called Last Chance, which provided the last opportunity to scrape barnacles or make repairs before reaching Hallover Canal. It is said that American Indians stored their canoes there. Confederates used the island to build ships during the Civil War. Island residents planted orange groves there in the early 1900s.

Orange Island was named for the largest orange grove in the area at that time. Locals claim it once boasted a large plantation described as elegant.

A group of islands was named for the sound made by dredged corals and sand moving through the dredging pipes. Still referred to as The Clinkers, the younger islands have less vegetation than the older islands and are an important habitat.

North of The Clinkers is Shotgun, a group of flat islands whose shape resembles a shotgun barrel.

Mosquito Lagoon is an acclaimed world famous Red Drum fishing habitat and a well-known destination for birdwatchers and nature tours.

The Nature Conservancy is coordinating an oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

 restoration project, developed by the University of Central Florida
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan public research university located in Orlando, Florida, United States...

. The goal is to restore about 40 acres (161,874.4 m²) of oyster reef habitat within the Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore
The Canaveral National Seashore is a National Seashore located between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida, in Volusia County and Brevard County, United States. The park, located on a barrier island, is home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species. CANA occupies 58,000 acres ...

.the Nature Conservancy - Indian River Lagoon

Winter (dolphin)
Winter is a bottlenose dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida, widely known for having a prosthetic tail. She is the subject of the film Dolphin Tale, a dramatization of her story. Winter was found off the coast of Florida in December 2005, caught in a crab trap, which...

, the bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin , instead of one...

 notable for her prosthetic tail (who's story was featured in the film Dolphin Tale), was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon in December 2005.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.